Royal Alum Hunt Helps Cuse Win Bowl Game; MVP
12/31/13 - 12:58 PM

Terrell Hunt; former CK Football and Basketball Star, leads SU to a bowl victory

Houston — Terrel Hunt strolled into the interview room deep in the belly of Reliant Stadium carrying a light-colored cowboy hat and wearing a smile as wide as the 277-foot video boards that stretch high above the end zones here.

The MVP of the Texas Bowl took a seat next to his first-year head coach, who capped about as successful a transition year as anyone could have expected with a 7-6 record, and joined Scott Shafer as the faces of this moment, a thrilling 21-17 victory against Minnesota in which Hunt again showed he was capable of such a mantel.

"This young man is really representative of what we are as a program," Shafer said. "Isn't the prettiest guy in the world on the field yet, but he's getting prettier by the minute."

There is still plenty of time for that. This marriage of coach and player can last for another two years, and it seemingly makes sense when examining their very fabric. 
Both, for very different reasons, exude resiliency, the buzzword the coach stamped on this team throughout the year. Shafer withstood more than two decades as an assistant before getting his chance to become a head coach. Hunt persevered through the deaths of both parents before he ever set foot on the Syracuse campus.

Those who followed the Orange for the duration of this narrative have come to know the formula used to help defeat the Gophers on Friday night: inspired, hard-hitting defense and a quickened tempo mostly mixing runs with quick passes out wide in space. Those observers have also come to note the maturation of Hunt, who emerged from the rubble of a disastrous month of October to become a true-dual threat quarterback that defenses have to account for through the air. He threw a beautiful deep ball out in front of the freshman Brisly Estime, who had the ball bounce off his body and fall incomplete near the goal early in the first quarter. He connected with junior receiver Jarrod West on a perfect back-shoulder throw for 25 yards early in the third quarter. And he rifled a ball to Estime over the middle for 21 yards on third down to set up a late field goal attempt in the fourth quarter.

But long before Hunt scampered 12 yards into the end zone for the game-winning score, he converted a critical fourth-and-8 from the Minnesota 26-yard line midway through the third quarter. Syracuse showed little debate whether to send kicker Ryan Norton out for a 43-yard attempt, opting instead to put the ball in Hunt's hands. In an empty set formation, he scanned the field and headed left before cutting back inside, not once but twice, to pick up 9 yards and extend the drive, capped by his 5-yard touchdown run to put SU ahead, 14-3 late in the quarter.

"I don't have any idea how he broke those three tackles, spun out of one and then fell forward for nine instead of seven," senior center Macky MacPherson said. "I mean, that's the kind of guy he is. It's like he's a linebacker back there. But he can throw the ball pretty damn well, too."

The fourth-down conversion was especially crucial, given the thin margin for error both teams faced in a game played at such a grinding pace for the first 45 minutes. The Gophers' clock control left Syracuse with only four possessions in the first half. Two ended with turnovers. The third saw Syracuse rack up at least 4 yards on nine of 10 plays before Jerome Smith fought through a tackle and had the nose of the football barely break the plane of the goal line, and another ended quickly for SU after starting in the shadow of its own end zone.

All of that drudgery preceded the thrilling fourth quarter that saw Minnesota storm back to grab the lead until the final 2 minutes. Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner lofted a 20-yard touchdown pass over the head of safety Darius Kelly and into the arms of tight end Maxx Williams. And on the next possession, Leidner, who took the majority of the snaps in place of Philip Nelson, faked a handoff and tossed an easy 55-yard bomb to Drew Wolitarsky aided by a miscommunication in the secondary between Jeremi Wilkes and Brandon Reddish, turning a 14-3 deficit into a 17-14 lead following a 2-point conversion.

But Syracuse's defense tightened up after that, eventually giving the Orange a final opportunity.

Fred Reed and Tim Daoust sent Estime back deep to field the punt. On the sideline, linebacker Dyshawn Davis told teammates Estime would "take it back to the crib." The ball landed in his hands at the 17-yard line, and the freshman weaved through traffic and exploded upfield before being cut off by the punter.

Shafer said the return gave offensive coordinator George McDonald more flexibility in his playcalling.

But when it came time to make a play on third down with Syracuse out of timeouts, only one player was guaranteed to have the ball in his hand.

And it never had to leave his grip.

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Hunt Plays Big For 'Cuse In Their First Win Of The Season
9/14/13 - 07:34 PM

Syracuse, N.Y. --?? Finally, there was offense.

After two weeks of interceptions and incompletions, slow starts and swing passes, Syracuse came to life. And it did not thrive on the strong right arm of the 6-foot-5-inch transfer from Oklahoma. No, the Orange was reanimated, vivified and energized, by Terrel Hunt.

He took the field with 7:07 remaining in the first quarter, another dreary beginning behind Drew Allen well underway. For eight minutes and three drives Allen produced nothing. He passed for but a single yard -- a negative yard.

So on trotted Hunt, the in-state product who flashed his abilities in a garbage-time touchdown drive last week against Northwestern, ready for his chance to lead the offense he thought was his until the news of Allen's transfer sounded the gun on a quarterback race.

Put simply, Hunt ended the competition.

Everything Allen had been in Syracuse's losses --?? an interception machine, an inaccurate deep passer, an immobile target in the pocket -- ??Hunt was the antithesis. He converted three third downs on his opening drive en route to a touchdown, then guided the Orange to the end zone on his next four possessions as well. By halftime, Syracuse came within a touchdown and two-point conversion of its point total for the entire season.

By the end, SU had completed a 54-0 romp in which its new quarterback made throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns seem effortless.

That guy from Oklahoma? After overseeing the first three drives of the game, drives that produced a measly three points after the defense forced a Wagner turnover, he alternated between slowly pacing the sideline and standing alone as Hunt put a stranglehold on playing time.

Though Allen wore his helmet, it would no longer be needed. Not until mop-up duty midway through the third quarter. Not until his job had been unequivocally lost.

Hunt brought life to the Syracuse offense in two distinct ways Saturday, adding dimensions that, with Allen in charge, were nonexistent. For two weeks the SU running backs had trudged forward for minimal gains, and neither Jerome Smith nor Prince-Tyson Gulley had topped 100 yards. Out of the shotgun, they struggled. From the pistol, they stumbled.

And by the second half their talents were rendered useless courtesy of deficits on the scoreboard.

But under the guidance of Hunt, a former 1,000-yard rusher in high school, stagnation gave way to stupendous. The zone read, predicated on the threat of a quarterback tucking and running himself, took on new dimensions. All of the Syracuse running backs -- from Smith to Gulley to George Morris to Devante McFarlane -- ate up yards in chunks. Their combined yards per carry clocked in at an impressive 4.7 yards per attempt.

The defense finally had to account for Hunt's legs, which churned out 22 yards on three attempts, and could no longer collapse on whichever tailback lined up at his side. The result was Syracuse's most balanced offensive game of the season.

With the running game rebooted, Hunt found passing lanes down the field to carve apart a Wagner defense playing miles above its pay grade. He involved wide receiver Jarrod West in the offense for the first time this season, finding him for back-to-back third down conversions in the first quarter and later connecting on a 65-yard bomb down the middle of the field.

Hunt delivered a beautifully thrown ball that arched high above the Carrier Dome turf and hit West in stride, the trajectory bringing it back down to Earth just beyond the reach of Wagner defensive back Deangelo James.

As West celebrated in the end zone, Hunt jumped into the arms of offensive lineman Ivan Foy. For five straight drives he had navigated the Wagner defense with ease, putting points on the board at a Northwestern-esque rate.

Being hoisted up by Foy was the perfect pedestal.

Midway through the third quarter, with Syracuse leading by 47, Hunt was replaced by the man whose job he had stolen. Allen re-entered and threw a touchdown to Christopher Clark in the back of the end zone.

Too little, too late.

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Former Royal Terrel Hunt Leads Syracuse For A Touchdown Vs Northwestern
9/9/13 - 10:29 PM

Terrel Hunt, a two-sport star at CK, leads Syracuse on a scoring drive this past weekend vs. Northwestern

Former Royal basketball and football standout Terrel Hunt, now a backup QB for the Syracuse Orangemen, saw his first game action of the season this past weekend vs. Northwestern.

Hunt, a versatile quarterback who can run and throw the football, completed two passess for 22 yards. He also carried the ball three times for a total of 30 yards, including a 15 yard touchdown run.

 

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