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‘Cuse QB Terrel Hunt leads Orange into MetLife

| Thursday, September 25, 2014

Combine the rushing yards for any two members of Notre Dame’s running back trio, and the numbers add up to less than the total amount of rushing yards for Syracuse’s top runner.

He’s the Orange’s senior quarterback, Terrel Hunt.

This season, Hunt has rushed for 273 yards and five touchdowns. Compare that to the Irish running back trio: 119 yards for sophomore Greg Bryant, 110 for sophomore Tarean Folston and 97 for senior Cam McDaniel. This crew of running backs has scored a collective two touchdowns.

And Notre Dame’s own mobile quarterback, Everett Golson, has run for just 83 yards.

terrell graphicFORWEBKeri O'Mara | The Observer

Hunt was the first Syracuse player Irish head coach Brian Kelly mentioned at his Tuesday press conference. Hunt has led the Orange to a 2-1 record, including a 40-3 rout of Central Michigan on Sept. 13.

“You start with Terrel Hunt, their quarterback, physical, multidimensional quarterback who can run it and throw it,” Kelly said. “[Syracuse also has a] veteran offensive line. If you really look at the amount of starts that they have on the offensive line, you can see why they’ve been effective offensively.”

In the game against Central Michigan, Hunt demonstrated his versatility, rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for one.

Hunt showed flashes of this potential as a junior in 2013, as he rushed for 92 yards against Clemson, 90 yards against Boston College and 74 yards against Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.

Last week against Maryland, Hunt ran for two more touchdowns, and with 156 rushing yards, was the first Orange quarterback to rush for over 100 yards since Donovan McNabb did so in 1997. Syracuse recorded 589 yards of total offense, including 370 rushing yards, and only allowed 89 rushing yards, but the Orange still lost to the Terrapins, 34-20. 

Dropped passes sunk the Orange against Maryland.

“Usually you rush 280 yards more [than the opponent] then you have a shot to win,” Orange head coach Scott Shafer said after in his Maryland postgame press conference. “But I look at those fleeting opportunities, and you’ve got to come down with the ball. I never felt like we gave ourselves a push in the momentum to get ourselves on track.”

Right behind Hunt, senior running backs Prince-Tyson Gulley and Adonis Ameen-Moore key the Orange run game, and Kelly noted Syracuse’s running back depth at his press conference. Gulley has 251 rushing yards, and Ameen-Moore has tallied 193 on the season.

In terms of receiving threats, Syracuse has two receivers averaging over 40 yards per game — senior Jarrod West (44.33) and junior Ashton Broyld (41.67). Broyld, however, will miss Saturday’s game after suffering a lower-leg injury against Maryland.

It’ll be next man up for Syracuse then, with sophomore receiver Estime Brisly and junior receiver Ben Lewis expected to play bigger roles, Shafer said at Wednesday’s ACC Coaches’ Teleconference..

“When I look at it, it is by committee, it is by the group,” Shafer said. “You never know which guy is going to get an opportunity to make a lot of plays depending on what the defense presents us. Each guy has to be ready to step up.”

On the defensive side, Kelly mentioned senior linebacker Cameron Lynch and senior defensive ends Micah Robinson and Robert Welsh as strong points of a veteran defense. Lynch in particular has been a force, notching 30 tackles, 22 of them solo, and 4.5 sacks. Ranking next in tackles is senior safety Darius Kelly with 18 total. Robinson has 10, while Welsh has eight.

Brian Kelly praised Syracuse’s coaching staff, particularly defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough for creating challenging defensive game plans.

“Coach Chuck Bullough, their defensive coordinator, does a very good job of mixing things up, gets you in third down,” Kelly said Tuesday. “This has been part of coach Bullough and [Orange head coach] Scott Shafer’s hallmark. They do a great job of bringing different pressures out of their third-down packages and confuse the quarterback and make it difficult for you.”

The Irish travel to play Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It’s the first away game of the season for Notre Dame, and Kelly expects a challenge.

“We know they’re going to play their very best,” Kelly said. “Playing at MetLife on national television, our guys know — just taking what Purdue did against us and how they played — we expect the same thing from Syracuse.”

The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff Saturday.

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