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Hunt gains edge in Syracuse rout

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SYRACUSE — The Syracuse University football team had little trouble disposing of FCS foe Wagner, 54-0, in its home opener in front of 33,299 fans Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

And Terrel Hunt had little trouble winning the highly-anticipated head-to-head quarterback competition with teammate Drew Allen.

Hunt completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, while Allen went 8 for 11 with 65 yards and a touchdown.

Hunt entered on SU’s fourth series of the game and led seven straight scoring drives before exiting midway through the third quarter with a 47-0 lead.

Allen played the first three series for the Orange (1-2), and went 3 of 6 for minus-one yard. He failed to pick up a first down before Hunt came in.

Scott Shafer, who picked up his first career head-coaching victory, addressed the quarterback situation entering a matchup with Tulane at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday in the Dome.

“It’s easy for you guys to come in here and say, ‘Oh well holy cow (Hunt) played great,’” Shafer said. “And he did, he played great and I’m excited for him. But we got another game, another quarter, and every snap counts. We’re going to continue to compete to put the best guys on the football field.”

“We got two Big Ten teams that Drew went up against, so I don’t want us to get all down on Drew Allen because I believe in that kid as well,” Shafer added. “Now Terrel, right now, I feel great about him. I think he’s on a high. I think he gives us a chance to win.”

Hunt’s first five drives ended in SU touchdowns. He threw two impressive deep balls for touchdowns, a 41-yard strike to Chris Clark and a 65-yarder to Jarrod West.

“I just maximized my opportunity. Whatever coaches’ decision is, I’ll go with it,” Hunt said.

Shafer stopped short of declaring Hunt the starter moving forward, but suggested that he is leaning toward the sophomore over the senior Allen.

“I think we can win with both of those kids,” Shafer said. “I think Terrel will be ready to start this thing off. I’d be surprised if I feel differently, but, I’m going to go back and do my due diligence and watch every snap and make sure we make the best decision for our team, our school, our students and our community so that we can go back out there and get another victory with the best players at all 11 positions.”

Allen re-entered the game midway through the third quarter and played better, completing all five of his pass attempts for 63 yards and a touchdown.

But in the first half with Allen on the field, SU ran nine plays for eight yards and failed to pick up a first down.

With Hunt under center in the first half, SU ran 35 plays for 330 yards, resulting in 34 points. Hunt converted all six of his third down plays, while Allen went 0 for 3.

“I’m glad we won,” a dejected-looking Allen said after the game.

“I’ll leave that up to the coaches. I have no control over that, it’s their decision, so I’m going to continue to do what I do, be positive, practice the way I practice and watch film the way I watch film. That’s all I can control.”

SU’s defense dominated Wagner as expected to pick up its first shutout since the 2005 season opener. The Seahawks (1-2) gained just 87 total yards on offense and five first downs.

“They were more physical up front than we were,” Wagner running back Dominique Williams said. “We shot ourselves in the foot in a lot of places. Against a team like that, you can’t make mistakes.”

Jarrod West was Hunt’s favorite target, tallying 147 yards and a touchdown on five catches.

Jerome Smith led the SU rushing attack with 61 yards on 14 carries and a pair of touchdowns. George Morris II ran nine times for 56 yards.

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