It seemed like a match made in heaven. The Syracuse Orange were starting 2013 in a new conference in the ACC, a new head coach in Scott Shafer and–most importantly in some people’s eyes–a new quarterback. But, no, not just any quarterback. They were going to start their ACC and 2013 campaign with Oklahoma Sooners product, Drew Allen.
Although Allen barely played at OU, he still was sitting behind one of the best OU quarterbacks in history, Landry Jones. Still, the fact remained that Allen was a product of the OU system and would surely be able to help this Orange offense reach new heights, as well as compete with their new competition.
That was all well and good to think about at the time, but when Allen finally took the field, it was a completely different story. Simply put, he wasn’t all that effective at all. It was a myriad of incompletions here and interceptions there. Through the first two games of 2013 between Penn State and Northwestern, it was clearly evident that all of those preseason aspirations were not going to come to fruition.
Luckily for Scott Shafer and staff, though, the young man sitting right behind him was eagerly awaiting his chance to prove that this offense was his and his alone to run–and sophomore Terrel Hunt has done exactly that.
Hunt saw his first bit of action about midway through the first quarter of a 54-0 blowout win over Wagner back on Sep. 14. Since then, he has put a new-found spark into this offense.
Since becoming the unquestioned leader, Syracuse has two consecutive games with over 50 points–yes, against lesser competition in Wagner and Tulane, but impressive nonetheless–and Hunt has shown that he has the tools to become something special in this system, and possibly this conference.
For the season, Hunt is 33-of-43 for 468 yards with seven touchdowns and no picks. He’s extremely disciplined when it comes to not turning the ball over, and that’s exactly what this unit needed under center. While he has tremendous mobility, he knows when to use it and when not to. He’s a pass first, run second type of signal caller.
As eye-opening as Hunt has been though in guiding the Orange back to .500 after an 0-2 start, this week we’re going to find out where exactly he stands among the upper echelon of QBs in the ACC–as he’ll be facing off against probably the best.
Saturday, Hunt and the Orange welcome in Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers into the Carrier Dome in what will be the first taste for Syracuse in ACC play. While it’s undeniably far-fetched to believe that Hunt will outshine Boyd, this is the first chance for him, on a national level, to show that he certainly belongs in the conversation of top ACC QBs.
But, more importantly, he has the chance to show that his team belongs after slowly becoming a laughing stock after the first two weeks with Allen at the helm.