September 21, 2013
SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — 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 […]
SYRACUSE (Newhouse Sports Media Center) — 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.
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.”