Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Less Than Ordinary Post-Game

       By Mason Walling - Following a dominant Syracuse 52-17 home victory over Tulane, there was a press conference, just like after any old football game.  However, this particular press conference was anything but normal.

       On the surface, there were plenty of reasons to praise the team.  The Orange excelled on the football field in all three facets of the game.  The team scored touchdowns on its first three offensive possessions, jumping out to a commanding 21-3 lead.  The defense disrupted Tulane quarterback Nick Montana early and often, sacking him three times and intercepting him once.  On special teams, the Orange blocked two punts and a field goal.  It's safe to say that the game was a confidence builder all around.

       Another high point to mention was that Syracuse earned its 700th program win, a milestone that only about twenty other universities across the nation have achieved.  When asked about the accolade, Head Coach Scott Shafer joked that, "We've got a lot to do to catch Coach Boeheim."  The atmosphere of the room was very laid back, very at ease.  We all laughed together.

       But then, a question arose that changed the emotions of the entire press conference.

       Someone asked about the Edson family.  Sue Edson is the assistant athletics director of communications at Syracuse, a job which she has held since 1997.  A week before Saturday's game, Sue's husband Rob died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 45.  Rob Edson was serving as the athletic director at Onondaga Community College.  Before that, he'd been employed at Syracuse as the athletic department's chief financial officer and senior associate director of athletics.  They have two children, Thomas and Tracey.

       Unfortunately, I have not had the privilege of knowing Sue or her family intimately, and for that reason I do not feel qualified to speak on their lives.  What I do know is the feeling of somber respect that went through the room as Coach Shafer spoke about the family.  "We said we're getting number two for Sue," said Shafer.  For a group of young men to go out and perform the way they did, to play with such purpose and inspiration, proves that sports can have so much more meaning than competition or entertainment.  For a brief moment, it was about more than just football.

To listen to the full post-game interviews, click on the links below:
Coach Shafer
Terrel Hunt
Chris Clark
Prince-Tyson Gulley
Eric Crume

Full Game Highlights

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Night of Fun, Games, and Intense Races with SU Rowers

by Matt Dowell

The rain was pouring. The boats were gliding. Laughter filled the air.

Syracuse Rowers of the past and present came to the SU Boathouse on September 21st to celebrate the sport they all love so dearly. Alums in attendance at "An Evening at TenEyck" ranged from graduates of 2013 to as far back as 1950.

Everyone there was determined to not let the rain dampen the mood on an eventful night that included food, alumni races, and Syracuse Rowing Hall of Fame inductions.

The alumni races kicked off the event. A draw was created with one half being made of teams of 8 alumni rowers and a coxswain and the other half being made of teams of current rowers and their class (freshman, sophomore, etc.) who had faced off in preliminaries that morning. The winner of the alumni half of the draw would face the winner of the class half of the draw to determine the night's winner.

Beth Marks, class of '83 and the only woman on her alumni team, said she was just there to have a good time.

"It's fun!" she said. "I haven't been in a sweep (a boat in which each rower handles a single oar) though in a long time. Probably 25 years!"

Mike Gennaro, class of 2011, is a USA National Team member who won a Bronze medal at the World Championships this summer. He brought his game face to the event.

"It's super competitive," he said. "I'm not losing to any of these guys."

As it turned out, Gennaro's eight was edged by another alumni crew under the lights on the Onondaga Lake Inlet that night. The current senior class boat was the night's overall winner.

Nobody seemed particularly bothered by the rain. In fact, most said they enjoyed rowing in the rain as it makes the water very flat.

"Rain without wind is okay," Marks said. "It wasn't pouring. It just makes the oars a little slippery to hold onto, but other than that it really doesn't affect very much."

While there was much excitement around the alumni races, the biggest part of the night was the Syracuse Rowing Hall of Fame inductions. The new inductees are the SU 1904 Team (SU's first IRA National Champions), legendary coach James A. TenEyck, for whom the Syracuse boathouse (and thus the event) is named, Tom Darling (class of '81), and Bill Purdy (class of '79).

Drew Harrison, class of '68, came from his home in British Columbia to be at the event and said the 1904 team was groundbreaking and set certain standards for everyone attending.

"Anyone who has been a champion in any era has to do extraordinary things," he said.

Harrison coached three consecutive Syracuse freshman crews to national championships at the IRA in the 1970s.

For Darling and Purdy, there was the obvious feeling of honor for being chosen to be inducted, but also a definite amount of nerves.

"Syracuse (rowing) has got a long tradition behind it and I am incredibly honored to just be considered and then inducted," said Purdy, a member of SU's last IRA national championship eight in 1978.

"It feels good!" Darling, a 3-time Olympian (pictured right), said. "I feel very... grateful for being nominated! It's a good chance to thank the coaches and to thank the guys that I worked with."

It's a sport that doesn't have a true international celebrity. It's a sport that doesn't get a lot of media coverage. It's a sport that only people who actually participate can understand.

The unified love of rowing is what brought these people back to the SU Boathouse where so many of their memories lie.

You can watch the first alumni race of the event here.

Tulane vs. Syracuse: In Photos

Syracuse dominated Tulane at home on Sept. 21. Here are some photos of the Orange's 52-17 win over the Green Wave.

Syracuse cheerleaders warm up before kickoff. 

The Syracuse University Marching Band.

The game featured a moment of silence for the Edson family. Rob Edson passed away Sept. 14.

The Orange enter the Carrier Dome. 

Running back Prince-Tyson Gulley makes a play.

Jerome Smith had two touchdowns against Tulane.

Kicker Ryan Norton had an excellent game against Tulane.

Cameron Lynch's sack on Tulane QB Nick Montana temporarily removed the QB from the game.

The Orange in the red zone. 

Orange offense huddle up.

Jerome Smith (45) makes another touchdown.

Terrel Hunt (10) started as QB against Tulane. 

Terrel Hunt led the offense on eight scoring drives.

Head coach Scott Shafer's post-game press conference.

Quarterback Terrel Hunt at the post-game press conference.

Nose tackle Eric Crume talks about a blocked punt. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Syracuse routs Tulane 52-17

The Orange will enter ACC Conference play at .500

For the first time since 1997, the Syracuse Orange scored 50 points in back-to-back games, routing the Tulane Green Wave, 52-17 Saturday, following last week’s shutout against Wagner.

"Everyone that thought Wagner wasn't a good team, so we were supposed to beat them—we just took that to this game so we could dominate every chance we got," said receiver Christopher Clark, who had four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. 

The Orange will enjoy a bye week before squaring off against Clemson Oct. 5 to enter ACC Conference play, but head coach Scott Shafer wants to make one thing clear: “I just want these guys to enjoy the win for the next 24 hours.”

In a game marked by impressive special teams play, up-tempo offense and improved defense, the Orange started with a bang. Terrel Hunt, who is solidifying his starting role as quarterback, led a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Smith. The Orange maintained that pace in the blowout win with eight scoring drives, seven of which resulted in touchdowns.

The Green Wave answered the Orange’s opening touchdown with a 21-yard field goal but the Orange maintained its opening-drive energy, which the Green Wave struggled to stop.

The Orange specials teams were especially impressive against Tulane.  A blocked punt in the first quarter by Darius Kelly and another in the second quarter by Eric Crume marked the first time since 2004 that feat had been accomplished in the first half.

Between those blocks, Tulane's Kedrick Banks fumbled Riley Dixon’s 51-yard punt. The Orange recovered it at the Tulane 15-yard line; three plays later, Hunt scored a 16-yard rushing touchdown—the second of his career—to bring the Orange up 28-10 at the start of the second quarter.
But the biggest highlight of the first half was John Raymon’s block of Cairo Santos’—last year’s Lou Groza Award winner—32-yard field goal, which ended Santos’ streak of 26 consecutive field goals.

The Orange shut out the Tulane offense in the second half, aided in part by an intercepted ball from Tulane quarterback Nick Montana halfway through the third quarter. The ensuing drive saw Hunt connect with Clay Cleveland on a 4-yard touchdown pass. Syracuse controlled the time of possession in the fourth quarter and added a late field goal with three minutes left on the clock to cement the win.

Offense, defense and special teams showed marked improvement and synchronization in the win over Tulane. “[It was a] team win,” Coach Shafer said. “We challenged the kids to win all three phases—and they did. I’m very proud of them.”

Hunt’s first career start was impressive. He was 16-of-21 for 175 yards, four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Smith and Cleveland each had a pair of touchdowns, while Ryan Norton was perfect on PAT kicks and the Orange’s lone field-goal attempt on the night.

"It feels great," Hunt said at the post-game press conference. "I love the team. Defense was there. And our offense just moved, you know? It felt really amazing."

The victory over Tulane marked the 700th win for the Syracuse Orange. Coach Shafer, who said he was unaware of the milestone. "It means we're about 100 behind Boeheim, right? I didn't even realize that, but it means a lot." 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Clemson Starts ACC Weekend with Thursday Road Win

  Most other ACC teams in action Saturday

            By Mason Walling - Dabo Swinney and the third ranked Clemson Tigers came into Carter-Finley Stadium on Thursday night and knocked off N.C. State 26-14.  Before the game, Coach Swinney stressed the necessity of establishing the run game early, especially with the Tigers second-leading receiver, Charone Peake, sidelined with a torn ACL.  Junior wide out Adam Humphries moved into Peake’s position across from star receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught 10 passes for 96 yards in the contest.  N.C. State Coach Dave Doeren tried to motivate his team by challenging them to seize the opportunity of a Thursday night game.  “How many times do you get to play where you're one of the only games on TV in front of a sold-out crowd against a top ten team?” Coach Doeren asked.  The most controversial moment of the game occurred just before halftime when N.C. State receiver Bryan Underwood broke off an 83-yard touchdown run that would have tied the game at 13, but the play was reversed when officials ruled that Underwood stepped out of bounds.  The Tigers improve to 3-0 overall while the Wolfpack falls to 2-1.

             Here's what else is coming up this weekend for ACC teams:
            Saturday night pits two undefeated teams against each other as Bethune-Cookman travels to Doak Campbell Stadium to meet Florida State.  The Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman currently stand atop the MEAC with a 3-0 record, coming off a 34-13 road win over Florida International.  The Seminoles are ranked eighth in this weeks’ national poll and will be heavily favored at home.  One of the biggest stories for FSU is the emergence of freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo, who is a perfect 17 for 17 on extra points and field goals through two games but has yet to be tested from long distance.  Coach Jimbo Fisher expressed the utmost confidence in Aguayo.  Kickoff is set for 6 PM Saturday night.
            The 3-0 Maryland Terrapins will host Big 12 rival West Virginia on Saturday afternoon.  Terrapin Head Coach Randy Edsall emphasized the importance of players stepping up into leadership roles, such as linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil.  “He came in here as a walk-on and when he got here, you just see a guy that worked extremely hard in everything that he did, weight room, practice field, classroom,” Edsall said.  Cudjoe-Virgil is a transfer from Seton Hill University, giving away his scholarship to come play at Maryland.  The game will be televised on ESPNU Saturday at 3:30 PM.
            Coming off of a 54-0 blowout victory over Wagner at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse prepares to host the Green Wave of Tulane this Saturday.  This game marks the beginning of the Terrel Hunt era, as the sophomore quarterback will get his first career start for the Orange.  Coach Scott Shafer made the decision to award Hunt the starting job over Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen after he threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday.  Both teams enter the matchup with 1-2 records.  Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM Saturday.
            Wake Forest takes a 1-2 record to West Point this Saturday to battle Army.  After winning their home opener comfortably against Presbyterian, the Demon Deacons lost to Boston College on the road and then suffered a heart breaking two-point home loss against Louisiana-Monroe.  Head Coach Jim Grobe looks for his hard-nosed defense, ranked 28th in the national in points allowed, to hold strong against the Black Knights offensive attack.  The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network beginning at 12 PM Saturday.
            Another all ACC matchup this weekend sees North Carolina coming into Bobby Dodd Stadium to take on Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have been electric in their first two games this season, scoring a total of 108 points and rushing for an average of 356 yards a game.  Coach Paul Johnson has implemented a variation of the shotgun that he calls the diamond formation to confuse defenses as to if they will pass or run.  The Tar Heels come into this game well rested off of a bye week.  Head Coach Larry Fedora feels that the extra week has helped prepare his defense for the Jackets infamous option reed style offense.  The Heels are currently 1-1, and the Jackets boast a 2-0 record.  The game will air at 12 PM Saturday on ESPN.
            The final head-to-head ACC contest of week four is Pittsburgh at Duke.  The Panthers take a 1-1 record into Saturday’s game, and the Blue Devils sit at 2-1.  Pittsburgh’s defense is anchored by senior defensive lineman Aaron Donald, a local product whose pass rushing abilities have been drawing frequent double-teams this season.  “I love talking about Aaron,” said Coach Paul Chryst, “Physically he's not the tallest guy, but he's got very good strength, explosion and quickness.”  On the flip side, the Blue Devils and Head Coach David Cutcliffe bring a run centered offense to the table, with four different backs getting more than 10 carries through their first three games.  Quarterbacks Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone have split the workload thus far, both of which can hurt the opponent through the air or on the ground.  The game kicks off at 12:30 PM Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.
            Frank Beamer’s Hokies host the Thundering Herd of Marshall this weekend.  Both teams enter the game with 2-1 records, Virginia Tech’s only loss coming in the season opener against number one Alabama.  Coach Beamer had nothing but good things to say about freshman corner Brandon Facyson, who is shining early with three interceptions in just three games.  The Hokie defense will be tested against the Thundering Herd offense that has put up at least 30 points in each of its first three games (12th overall in points scored).  The battle is set to begin at 12 PM Saturday on ESPNU.
            The 1-1 Virginia Cavaliers host in-state Big South opponent VMI in week four.  UVA won a tight week one game over BYU before being routed week two by Oregon.  With several injuries at the running back position, Coach Mike London looks to amp up the passing attack until his backs are healthy again.  “We talked about how we can utilize David [Watford] in some aspects,” London said, “About throwing the ball more downfield vertically to allow our receivers to go make plays.”  VMI brings a 1-2 record into Scott Stadium.  Kickoff is at 3:30 PM on Saturday.
             Miami has jumped up to number 16 in the AP polls this week coming off a bye week after an impressive win over Florida on September 7.  The Hurricanes are 2-0 and a 60 point favorite over visiting Savannah State this weekend.  “I like where we're at right now, and hopefully we have a whole organization right now that’s not worrying about spreads,” said Head Coach Al Goldeng.  Saturday at 7:00 PM is kickoff time at Sun Life Stadium. 
            Steve Addazio and Boston College have a bye week this week and will face ACC opponent Florida State on Saturday, September 28.  Both Syracuse and Virginia Tech are vying for their 700th program win this weekend.

To listen to the full ACC mid-week teleconference on 9/18/13 featuring all of the head coaches, click here

Saturday, September 14, 2013

SU Defeats Wagner in Home Opener

(c) Jennifer Ready 2013
SYRACUSE, NY- Coach Scott Shafer earned his first win as head coach of the Syracuse Football team in its 54-0 win over the Wagner Seahawks on Saturday afternoon.

The Orange were first led on offense by quarterback Drew Allen. However, halfway through the first quarter the switch was made to sophomore quarterback Terrel Hunt. The presence of Hunt on the field ignited a spark that had been absent in the starting offensive drives. Syracuse developed a smooth offensive rhythm that led the team to its first win of the season.  

“Go in there and play,” is the message Hunt said he delivered to his teammates once he took the field. “I just went in there in the huddle and started joking around. Let them know I’m comfortable about doing this,” Hunt said. “Just go in there and have fun.”

The sophomore quarterback had a completion percentage of .833 against the Seahawks leading the offense to score six touchdowns in the first three quarters of the game.

 “It felt great," Hunt said. "That’s what you wanna do, you don’t wanna go out there and get a three and out. It felt like I was in the flow of the game, everything was connected.”

Ryan Norton’s field goal early in the first quarter gave the Orange its first lead 3-0, after Junior Linebacker, Dyshawn Davis recovered a Wagner fumble on the 18-yard line.

The Syracuse defense continued to apply pressure to the Wagner offense early in the first quarter when Jay Bromley sacked Wagner quarterback, Matt Misley, causing him to fumble the ball on the Seahawks 10-yard line that resulted in a 13-yard loss and forcing the Seahawks to punt.

The energy in the dome rose as Terrel Hunt took the field as quarterback in place of Drew Allen who was 3 of 6 passing in Syracuse’s first 3 drives.

In Hunt’s first drive he moved the offense 68-yards down the field where Jerome Smith rushed into the end-zone from the Wagner 2-yard line with 2:23 left in the 1st quarter, giving the Orange a 9-0 lead. Norton missed the extra point.

At the start of the second quarter the atmosphere in the Carrier Dome transitioned from low-energy to electric when Hunt completed a 42-yard pass to Jarrod West that placed the Orange on the Seahawks 22-yard line. Hunt then completed a sideline pass to Prince-Tyson Gulley for a 13-yard touchdown giving Gulley his second touchdown of the season.

With 9:14 left in the 2nd quarter, the offensive momentum did not wear down. Hunt using his feet to keep the play alive led the offense on a 59-yard move down the field that resulted in a nearly untouched, 8-yard rushing touchdown by Jerome Smith.

The energy in the Carrier Dome exploded in the middle of the second quarter when running back, Devante McFarlane, scored from 3 yards out to bring the Orange up 30-0 against the Seahawks.  

The Syracuse defense meanwhile shut down the Wagner offense throughout the entire first half. For six consecutive possessions, Wagner was unable to move the ball and forced to punt each time giving the Syracuse offense more opportunities to make plays happen.

Late in the first half there was a breakdown in the Seahawk coverage. Chris Clark got behind the secondary andHunt launched a deep pass to him for a 41-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 37-0. The Syracuse offense entered the locker room at the end of the first half with a total of 338 offensive yards compared the Seahawks' 30.

The Syracuse defense ended up with the ball one last time to end the first half. Wagner committed its second turnover of the game when linebacker Cameron Lynch picked off a Matt Misley pas and returned it 47 yards. 

Taking the field of the Carrier Dome after half time, the Orange defense returned in full force allowing the Wagner offense to gain only seven yards in its first possession of the half.

The Seahawks managed to hold the Orange to a field goal after a 28-yard drive on the first possession of the second half. Ryan Norton hit from 32 yards to put Syracuse up 40-0.

The Carrier Dome erupted during the offense's next possession as Hunt sent a deep pass down the center of the field, 65-yards, to Jarrod West who carried it into the end zone, widening the Orange’s lead 47-0.

The Seahawk offense continued to battle the Orange defense, but fell short when Syracuse strong safety, Durell Eskridge, intercepted a pass thrown by Misley returning the ball 11 yards to the Wagner 34-yard line.

Drew Allen then returned to field to lead the Syracuse offense on another scoring drive which was capped off with a 4-yard pass to Chris Clark in the end zone.

The score remained for the entirety of the fourth quarter 54-0 with neither team reaching the end zone giving the Orange its first win of the season. 

"It felt good," Shafer said of the win. "It feels great, let's get number two as fast as possible."

Syracuse will host Tulane Saturday, September 21 at 12:30.p.m and the on October 5 will face its first ACC opponent, Clemson, at home in the Carrier Dome. 

The Brief Quarterback Debate

By Michael Silver

Pre-game introductions at the Carrier Dome
(c) Michael Silver 
SYRACUSE, NY -- The fifth-year senior transfer or redshirt sophomore? That is the question students, faculty, fans, and the local media have been asking. After two dismal performances to start the season, senior Drew Allen found himself on the hot seat. With a touchdown to interception ration of 1:6, you can’t blame Orange Nation seeking answers.

Terrel Hunt, the 20-year old from Queens, led the first team during spring drills and split time with Allen for most of training camp. He was considered the early front-runner by most accounts. Head Coach Scott Shafer revealed recently to The Daily Orange that he spoke with Hunt during summer and told him Allen would be the number one quarterback. The dilemma? Hunt would have to keep it a secret for two weeks before the season got under way versus Penn State. A classic chess match with an opposing head coach.

Allen, who had a handful of schools to choose from, transferred from Oklahoma and came to Syracuse knowing he would have a legitimate shot to run the offense. So far, it had been nearly unwatchable for the Orange faithful.

After SU was dismantled at the hands of #19 Northwestern, the debate heated up. Stay with the struggling Allen or bring in the young gun, Hunt? Quarterbacks coach Tim Lester told reporters earlier in the week the plan was to play both QBs versus Wagner.

To start the home opener, Allen went 3 for 6, for a combined negative one-yard. After three consecutive three and outs (and a gift field goal, due to a Wagner fumble deep in its own territory) the crowd grew restless and began to boo.

On the fourth offensive possession, Terrel Hunt ran on with the first unit to the delight of the crowd. He led a 68-yard drive, completing all three passes for 30 yards and a heavy dose of handoffs to running back Jerome Smith. With eight rushing attempts for 31 yards, Smith capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, while the quarterback jumped in excitement and congratulated his offensive line.

It appeared that the Hunt Era had officially begun.

The very next drive Hunt unleashed a 42-yard bomb to Jarrod West. A quick check down pass to Prince-Tyson Gulley resulted in a 13-yard touchdown, the first of Hunt’s career at the Carrier Dome. The home crowd was lively again, while Drew Allen’s collegiate career as a starter might have come to an abrupt end.

During the media session earlier this week, Hunt was asked if Coach Shafer would implement a dual quarterback system, similar to Northwestern’s offense.

“I’m not really sure," Hunt answered. "He said to us before, if I got to play one, I got to play one. If I got to play two, I got to play two.”

He continued expressing his desire to lead the team.

“Selfishly, you want to play one, you want to be that guy. But if you have to play two it’s for the team, so you do what’s best.”
The Orange cruised to a 37 point first half lead and never looked back, winning 54-0. Hunt was in control and looked poised under center, scrambling when necessary; making plays with his feet that his predecessor simply could not.

Syracuse plays at home the next two games. First the Orange faces Tulane, then a bye week, followed by the #3 ranked Clemson Tigers, in SU's first ACC matchup of the 2013 season.

Two divisions create the newly aligned Atlantic Coast Conference.

Atlantic                                                     Coastal

-Wake Forest                                             -Duke
-South Carolina                                         -Georgia Tech
-Maryland                                                 -University of Miami
-Florida State                                           -University of North Carolina
-Boston College                                        -Pittsburgh
-Clemson                                                 -Virginia
-Syracuse                                                 -Virginia Tech
(TheACC.com 2013)

Stay tuned to Newhouse Sports Media Center for the latest collegiate action at SU.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

SU Football is Ready For Home Opener Against Wagner

(c) Jennifer Ready 2013

By. Jennifer Ready (Syracuse)- Drew Allen will start this weekend in the home opener against Wagner, but Terrel Hunt will also make an early appearance in Saturday’s game, according to head coach Scott Shafer.

            Hunt, who had a 15-yard run to record his first career touchdown last weekend against Northwestern, will take the field early to lead the Syracuse offense. Coach Shafer thinks it’s important to get both players into the game to improve the quarterback position.

            “The position hasn’t been consistent enough,” said Shafer during Thursday's press conference. “We’re looking for consistency.”

            In last weekend’s game against Northwestern, Shafer saw good things on the field from Allen, who had a 66-percent completion rate, but it was the number of turnovers that hurt the team’s offense.

            This week, the Orange are focusing on a number of target areas, which include protecting the ball better on offense. Every week the objectives for the team change, but certain areas remain consistent for the team, including:

·      On the first down: gain four or more yards, sixty percent of the time
·      Taking advantage of the third down by controlling the number of plays it takes to get to the first down.

After a week of focusing on their target areas, Shafer said the Orange are ready to play in the Dome for the first time this season.
(c) Jennifer Ready 2013

“The kids are excited to get home,” said Shafer. “Let’s get the student body out there and enjoy playing in front of your friends on campus, as well as the community.”

The players are not the only ones excited to face the Seahawks, Shafer says he is also ready for Saturday’s game.

 “From a personal point of view, I’m really excited to give the fans something they appreciate,” said Shafer. “I just look forward to it, I couldn’t be more excited for this one.”