SU wins 700th football game in blowout against Tulane

Quarterback Terrel Hunt was responsible for five touchdowns and the special teams forced four turnovers as the Orange dominated in a 52-17 victory over the Green Wave.

The Syracuse Orange became the 15th FBS program to win 700 games Saturday, beating Tulane 52-17. Terrel Hunt led the offense in his first career start, completing 16 of 21 passes for 175 yards and four touchdowns and running in another score.

“I thought Terrel played really well,” head coach Scott Shafer said. “If he stays in rhythm he’s pretty good.”

Hunt was especially on point in the first half, going 14-for-17 passing.

“I thought we were going to struggle a little,” Hunt said, “but our receivers did what they had to do and I got them the ball.”

The Orange step on the field in their fourth game of the season to take on Tulane. (Photo: Ziniu Chen)

The special teams unit was instrumental for the Orange, blocking two punts and field goal and recovering a fumble as well.

“We challenged the kids to win in all three phases of the game” Shafer said,  “and they did that.”

Syracuse started the game quickly, needing only seven plays to score on the game’s opening drive, capped off by a 15-yard pass from Hunt to Jerome Smith. The Orange marched swiftly down the field again on their next possession, scoring on a 19-yard pass from Hunt to Christopher Clark, two minutes after starting the drive.

From there, the Orange special teams began to swing momentum to Syracuse’s side. Darius Kelly blocked a punt on the ensuing Tulane possession, setting up the Orange on the opponent’s six-yard line. Two plays later, Hunt threw his third touchdown of the quarter to Clay Cleveland.

“It just made our job easier because we were right near the end zone,” Hunt said of the special team unit’s ability to give the offense good field position.

Tulane’s defense finally forced the Syracuse offense to punt on its fourth drive of the game. Returner Kenrick Banks couldn’t get out of the way of the ball as Riley Dixon’s punt tumbled and bounced off Banks before Syracuse’s Devante McFarlane recovered the loose ball.

After Hunt’s 16-yard touchdown run put the Orange up 28-10, Eric Crume blocked a second Tulane punt in the second quarter, setting up another Orange drive in the red zone. The offense went the remaining 17 yards for the score, capped off by Prince-Tyson Gulley’s one-yard touchdown run.

“I just saw an opportunity and I took it,” Crume said. “It brought me back to my basketball days, like trying to block a shot.”

#10 Terrel Hunt throws for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Tulane Green Wave. Photo: Ziniu Chen)

The Green Wave drove down to the two-yard line on their next drive, but the SU defense pushed them back to the 14, forcing Tulane to settle for a field goal. Tulane kicker Cairo Santos, who led the nation with 25 consecutive made field goals dating back to last season, had his 32-yard attempt blocked by John Raymon, holding the score to 35-10.

Tulane added another score late in the first half by way of Nick Montana’s 16-yard pass to Justin Shackleford. However, Hunt led a successful two-minute drill on the next possession aided by two personal fouls on Tulane’s defense. Jerome Smith ran in a one-yard score with four seconds remaining in the half, giving the Orange a commanding 42-17 halftime lead.

The drive was indicative of Syracuse’s tempo on offense throughout the first half, which was very upbeat. “Coach tried to slow us down on the two-minute drive, but we kept saying ‘we want to score,’” Hunt said.

#38 Cameron Lynch and #8 Keon Lyn double team Tulane runningback #28 Rob Kelley at Saturday's game against Tulane. (Photo: Ziniu Chen)

The Orange added 10 more points in a relatively uneventful second half. Drew Allen, who started the team’s first three games before being replaced by Hunt, came on with 11:01 left in the game. He led the offense to a field goal in two drives, completing three of five attempts for 25 yards.

“I love both of those kids, they’re great kids,” Shafer said of Hunt and Allen. “It’s a difficult situation for Drew. It’s a long season; we have to be prepared to play anybody everybody. But I’m really proud of the way Terrel came out and played.”

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