Terrel Hunt said numerous times on Tuesday that Saturday’s game is not Hunt vs. Tajh Boyd. He made a point to make it clear that it is Hunt vs. the Clemson defense.
But that doesn’t mean Boyd isn’t in his head.
“I want to outshine him,” Hunt said.
No. 3 Clemson is the first real test to see if the Syracuse offense, with Hunt as the quarterback, is for real. The blowout wins against Wagner and Tulane went to show that Hunt can score points for his team, even against, as he put it, “a lesser opponent.” Hunt went on to add that “it’s still a win at the end of the day.”
He’s right. But the sophomore faces the toughest task of his young career: a Tigers team that has a Heisman trophy hopeful and a potential national championship title.
Hunt watched the Penn State game from the sidelines. He watched almost the entire Northwestern game from the sidelines as well. This is his real test. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s on national television. Can he help lead Syracuse to be one of the top teams in the ACC, alongside Clemson and Florida State?
Ryan Nassib led Syracuse to two big, and perhaps unexpected, home wins in each of the last two seasons. In 2011, it was a 49-23 win over No. 11 West Virginia. Last season, a 45-26 win over No. 11 Louisville. Those two teams were good, but this Clemson game is a bigger test. A win is an indication that Hunt makes his team deserving of a bowl game while giving Syracuse the image of a legitimate program in the NCAA.
The Syracuse campus is hyped and ready for the game. After the two losses against Penn State and Northwestern, the atmosphere was dead and the panic button was a week from being pressed. Now, after two big wins and a different style of play with Hunt as the offensive leader, people are ready to see a big game. It’s Cuse’s first game in the ACC, against a big team that could very well win the national championship, and Syracuse has scored 50-plus points in two consecutive games.
Hunt expects the Dome to be loud. He said it’s a benefit for Syracuse to be playing at home because he can control the crowd. He said if he needs to quiet the crowd down in order for the offense to be more effective, that’s just what he will do.
Hunt is ready to go. “Your momentum is there and your confidence is boosted so we’re just going in there ready to play.”
Posted: Austin Pollack