Following sophomore Terrel Hunt’s stellar performance in Saturday’s football game against Wagner, the great Syracuse quarterback debate may indeed be over.
After being told he would not serve as the Orange’s starting quarterback for the Wagner game, Hunt took to the field with something to prove. At the end of the first quarter, it was clear he was performing well. By the time the Rosedale, NY. native pitched his third touchdown pass, fans certainly knew who they wanted as their starting quarterback.
“I just throw the ball and let them make the play. They make me look good, and that’s cool,” stated Hunt, crediting his teammates. “It felt good, because that’s what you want to do. It felt like we were in the flow of the game and everything was connecting.”
Senior quarterback Drew Allen began the game for the Orange, but head coach Scott Shafer quickly pulled him out after a sluggish start. Hunt jogged in from the sideline and immediately began to facilitate what would be a staggering 54-0 victory for Syracuse.
It seemed as if Hunt’s very presence on the field caused the team to wake up from the apparent nap they took during the first eight minutes of the game.
Overall, Hunt threw an impressive 15-for-18 passes for a total of 265 yards—without a single interception. Hunt’s first three throws of the game led to an early touchdown, and he opened the second quarter with a 30-yard touchdown pass. He further displayed his ability to throw the deep ball with a whopping 41-yard pass to junior wide receiver Christopher Clark, who scored in the end zone to close out the first half. In the third quarter, Hunt topped off his performance by pitching a monster 65-yard touchdown pass to other junior wide receiver Jarrod West.
And did we mention he also marked 22 yards rushing?
When asked about Hunt’s performance, Coach Shafer did not hide his excitement.
“Terrel right now? I feel great about him. I think he’s on a high, I think he gives us a chance to win,” Shafer offered. “I was really proud of the way he moved around in the pocket and made plays with his feet.”
However, the coach cautioned against framing the ongoing quarterback debate as a contest between Hunt and Allen.
“I think it’s the position that’s more important than the person. I just really do,” he remarked candidly. “We have got two guys who haven’t played a ton of football. We have to be able to win with either of them.” He added, “Realistically, both of those kids have to be ready to play so the position is consistent, and that’s the key.”
Hunt expressed a similar sentiment regarding his status as the Orange’s potential starting quarterback.
“I’m not really worried about that, I’m just maximizing on my opportunity and whatever the coach’s decision is, that’s the coach’s. But I’m more worried about the team than myself,” Hunt affirmed. “It’s team effort, it has nothing to do with one guy. You can’t win with just one guy; you’ve got to win with 11. So I’m going to keep pushing him and he’s going to keep pushing me and that’s what competition is.”
Shafer has not yet announced which of the young men will start the game against Tulane on Sept. 21, but for now the coach remains hopeful about Hunt’s play for the rest of the season.
“I’m extremely proud of the way he played, and I look forward to continuing to see him progress.”