Syracuse University vs. University of Rhode Island

Orange lose QB Hunt en route to season-opening victory

Syracuse football’s 47-0 win over Rhode Island is marred by the Achilles injury of senior quarterback Terrel Hunt.

The Syracuse football team opened the 2015 season with a convincing 47-0 victory over the Rhode Island Rams. The win didn’t come without its setbacks, though, as senior quarterback and team captain Terrel Hunt left the game with an achilles injury.

Head coach Scott Shafer was visibly upset about losing the senior, especially considering the fact that Hunt missed the majority of last season due to injury as well.

“Tough deal, tough deal,” was what Shafer had to say after the game.

While the team hasn’t made any official comment on Hunt’s condition, Shafer acknowledged that the injury is serious enough to question his playing in coming weeks, or at all.

Nevertheless, Hunt's injury was just a damper on what was an otherwise utterly dominating performance by the Orange in their 2015 debut.

After Hunt’s departure in the middle of the first quarter, Shafer turned to true freshman Eric Dungey to step up. 

"I felt like I was prepared," Dungey said. "Coach Lester was doing a great job helping me out, helping me read defenses and getting prepared for all of this. I felt confident going in there."

The youngster proved able, completing 10 of 17 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns while adding 30 yards on the ground.

Shafer made sure that his inexperienced quarterback knew that the entire team was behind him when the time came to replace Hunt.

“I said, ‘This is what we brought you in here to do and go have a blast man,’” Shafer said.

Dungey was simply happy to be able to contribute to a victory and gave a lot of credit to the Orange’s suffocating defense.

“It’s nice to have a great defense like we have,” Dungey said.

The contest didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts for either team, as there were four turnovers within the first four minutes of the game.

It started on the opening kickoff when Syracuse kicker Ryan Norton forced a fumble that was recovered by freshman running back Dontae Strickland. Three plays later Hunt was intercepted by senior Myles Holmes. The very next play saw Rhode Island running back Harold Cooper coughed up the ball to Syracuse’s Kayton Samuels.

The first score of the game came on a pick six by sophomore cornerback Corey Winfield with just under 11 minutes to play in the first quarter.

Things only got worse from there for Rhode Island. The Orange dominated every facet of the contest, especially on the defensive side of the ball, limiting the Rams to a paltry 64 yards of total offense.

This was due in large part to the Syracuse offense possessing the ball for a whopping 41 minutes and 42 seconds, nearly 70 percent of the entire game.

Dungey was just one of several freshmen who made significant contributions to the Syracuse victory.

Running back Jordan Fredericks eclipsed the 100-yard barrier in his first college game, racking up 103 yards on 14 carries plus a touchdown. Fellow running backs freshmen Jacob Hill and Strickland combined for 117 yards on 19 carries with Strickland scoring on a 21-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.

With Hunt out of the game early and a big lead for much of the game, the Orange were content to keep handing off the ball, accumulating a whopping 328 yards on the ground as opposed to just 114 yards passing.

Syracuse earned their 47 points in a variety of ways. Winfield’s interception kicked off the scoring early on. The youngster Dungey tallied his first career touchdown pass when sophomore running back Ervin Philips made a sweet tip catch and then taking it 32 yards for the score.

The first half ended with a bang when junior Brisly Estime returned a Rhode Island punt 74 yards for a touchdown. This marked the first Syracuse punt return for a touchdown since 2002.

The defense got in on the scoring action once again late in the third quarter with one of the stranger safeties you’ll see. Rhode Island was backed up against their own end zone, junior quarterback Paul Mroz launched a pass that was batted at the line of scrimmage. Mroz actually caught his own pass and tried to make something out of it, but because the ball had already moved in a forward direction, the result of the play was a safety since it occurred in the Rhode Island end zone.

Coach Shafer made no comment regarding who would be the Orange’s starting quarterback next week, although based on his performance in the opener, Dungey would be the logical choice.

The Orange kick off their ACC schedule next week with another home matchup against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 12:30 p.m. The game can be seen on the ACC Network.

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