Though Syracuse suffered their fifth straight loss on Saturday in a 16-13 loss to Boston College, the Orange was able to get a glimpse at their potential future quarterback.
With Rex Culpepper out after an injury he suffered in a loss to Wake Forest, Jacobian Morgan made his first career start after debuting late in the fourth quarter against the Demon Deacons.
“The injury hasn’t healed yet,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said of Culpepper, a fifth-year senior. “We tried to see if he could go but he finally told us later in the week he couldn’t.”
Morgan showed promise in his limited action against Wake Forest, finishing a perfect 7-for-7 for 57 yards, directing the Orange on a touchdown drive. Babers tried to temper expectations following the game, saying that Morgan had mostly faced second-string players and base defenses.
But the same could not be said against the Eagles, where Morgan played for 60 minutes against a complete defensive scheme from the opposition. Morgan showed poise in the pocket, illustrated a quick release on his passes, and seemed to grasp Syracuse’s uptempo offense better than Culpepper.
That said, the results were decidedly mixed. Morgan was 19 for 30 with a touchdown, but the lone score came in the fourth quarter and he also threw a ghastly interception into triple coverage.
“The ball came out of his hands, it didn’t look like he was too rattled,” Babers said. “I thought he made some plays, escaped some things and he took a shot. He’s got another box checked and I thought he played decent.”
For a true freshman in his first start, “decent” was just the word to describe Morgan’s performance. And it’s likely he’ll get to build upon that performance as the Orange plays out the string in what may be a one-win season.
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Said Babers: “I think he deserves to go out first, that’s for sure.”
Still, Babers knows that he’ll need more than just improvements from Morgan if SU wants to win again this year.
Syracuse’s rushing attack yielded just 52 yards and the offensive line gave up four sacks. Defensively, the Orange allowed 191 rushing yards and was not able to sack Phil Jurkovec. For the first time this year, the defense didn’t turn the ball over at all.
“The team needs to carry Jacobian, Jacobian is young,” Babers said. “We need to all play better to make it easier on him.”
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