Dorian Graham came out of nowhere to help Tulane on its road to nowhere.
The senior receiver set career highs across the board, as he caught four passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns. He also added two rushes for 22 yards for good measure, as Syracuse outlasted Tulane 37-34. SU improved to 4-2 with the win, while Tulane dropped to 2-4.
“We practice everything that we executed in the game,” Graham said to reporters following the game. “During the week that is what we planned for, execute these plays and tonight we did what we had to do.”
Graham originally came to Syracuse as a defensive back, and was one of eight true freshmen to play in 2008. After sitting out the 2009 year because of injuries, Graham made the switch to wide receiver in the 2010 year.
But it wasn’t until this season when Graham made his first catch. It came in SU’s season opener against Wake Forest.
Since then, Graham has had a reception in each of the Orange’s first six games, and is one of the reasons why SU is only two wins away from becoming bowl eligible for a second straight year.
“He’s been a very good player for us,” Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said during his weekly Big East teleconference. “He’s someone that has shown, and is a good example for a lot of players, you can put yourself in situations where you can make some plays.”
Graham has used the adage “hard work pays off” as a means of motivating himself through the years.
The coaches have noticed.
“He’s really done an excellent job and always wants to do more,” Marrone said. “He’s probably one of the hardest workers in practice that we have. He’s a very competitive kid and plays with a very good chip on his shoulder, meaning that he uses it the proper way.”