All eyes will be on the renewed quarterback battle as Syracuse (1-2) takes on Tulane (2-1) on Saturday. Head Coach Scott Shafer told Orange All Access on Monday that Terrel Hunt will make his first career start against the Green Wave.
The decision comes after Drew Allen's early struggles in the 2013 campaign. After SU's first two games, the Oklahoma transfer had completed just under half his throws along with four interceptions. Allen started in Syracuse's matchup with Wagner, completing 3 of 6 for -1 yards in the Orange's first three drives of the game, each of which resulted in a three-and-out. From that point, Hunt proceeded to lead SU to 6 touchdowns on the 7 series that he was on the field.
“It was amazing,” Hunt said about his opportunity to play early against the Seahawks. “My heart was pounding like, 'wow, it's finally here.'”
Despite the redshirt sophomore's strong performance (15-18, 265 yds, 3 TD), coaches remained adamant that position is by no means set in stone and that Allen will be ready if needed.
“The way I see it, the competition – it's still going on,” Allen said of the QB battles recent developments. “I'm going to try to do more than he does, that's just the competitor in me. I'm going to be more prepared than he is so the coaches know that they can rely on me.”
On the defensive side, Syracuse will have a chance to improve on its performance last time the Orange faced the Green Wave two years ago. Although SU picked up the win, the Cuse allowed 471 yards, including 355 through the air, and 34 points in a game that ended up closer than it probably should have.
The point of concern for this year's squad should again be on the passing attack. Tulane is led junior quarterback Nick Montana (son of Joe Montana.)
“Montana, what a great last name,” coach Shafer said of the Green Wave's QB. “Tough to be compared to your dad, who you could argue is one of the greatest to play the game, but the one thing I've noticed is his feet – he's got quick feet... He's got a good feel for the game.”
In high school, Montana was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN drawing interest from the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame, and USC before settling on Washington. After completing his redshirt freshman season without seeing much playing time, the California native transferred to a junior college before winding up at Tulane at the start of spring camp in 2013. So far, he has performed well in his time with the Green Wave, throwing for 706 yards and 7 touchdowns through three games.
Montana's biggest weapon in the air raid is first-team All-Conference USA wide receiver Ryan Grant. The 6'1”, 191 pound senior from Texas has accounted for nearly half of the team's receptions and has already racked up 348 yards along with three touchdowns.
You can listen to the entire game between Syracuse and Tulane on WAER. Coverage starts with Countdown to Kickoff at noon with the game at 12:30.