The Brief Quarterback Debate

The Brief Quarterback Debate

Published on September 14, 2013

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

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