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Mr. Hunt, the job is yours.
Technically this was the first career start for Terrel Hunt. Drew Allen still had the honors against Wagner. But Hunt played most of the game and resulted in most of the scores. This was the first time the job was clearly his. He didn't disappoint. It started with the first drive and you couldn't ask for a much better performance from the first time starter. The rest of the team also played extremely well, and will be rewarded with high marks. Syracuse is your winner 52-17.
Offense
A
Hunt (16/21, 181yds, 4 TD, 0 INT, 1 Rush TD) could not have had a better game. He started from the first drive. He helped engineer a touchdown drive in the first two minutes and twenty seconds, capped off by a fantastic one handed grab by Jerome Smith. Syracuse overall had 405 total yards, 25 first downs, 7-14 third down conversions, 1-1 on fourth down conversions, and didn't lead in time of possession only due to the great starting field position the special teams gave the Orange often. Drew Allen even had a decent game. The offense played very well and while not unstoppable, played their best offensive game of the season.
Defense
B
Overall the defense played well, limiting Tulane to 330 total yards and only 4-14 on third downs. They also had an interception, recovered a fumble, and sacked QB Nick Montana three times. Honestly, it would have been awful hard for the defense to earn another A after last weekend, pitching a shut out. However, the defense overally did well. However, you can see that a more talented team will be able to torch the secondary if they don't improve soon.
Special Teams
A+
I can't even remember seeing a game that had two blocked punts. Then to have a recovery after first being touched by Tulane is the kind of blunter we were used to Syracuse committing in the recent past. The special teams played a virtually perfect game. Save for the kick coverage after Syracuse first kicked to Tulane, the coverage on both punts and kicks were solid. Syracuse's kick and punt returns were also great. Ryan Nortin, now the definite starting kicker, was perfect on the day, hitting his one field goal attempt and all seven extra points. Those kids never took off a down, unlike the Tulane special teams.
Coaching
A
Syracuse only had 38 yards of penalties, down from 65 the previous game. But besides being a better diciplined team, Syracuse's offensive game plan was executed to perfection. But really, the best decision the coaches made was to say Hunt was the starter on Tuesday.
GPA
A (3.83)
This might be a first A GPA in the history of the Report Card postgame articles. Syracuse did virtually everything right, and went vastly above and beyond competent to outstanding on special teams. A total win in every phase of the game for Syracuse. 
Syracuse now has a week off, and we all know Syracuse is undefeated against The Bye. The Orange have a little extra time to prepare for the Clemson buzz saw coming into the Carrier Dome for Homecoming and the first ACC Conference game for Syracuse. Should be bonkers, one way or another.

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Cue The Smiling Child...

You can't ask your starting quarterback to play any better.

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Tulane Quick Predictions

Green waves must be disgusting right?
Syracuse won it's first game last weekend in convincing fashion in a 54-0 drubbing of FCS Wagner. Yes, it was against an FCS team, but it was a much needed high after taking a drubbing of their own at Northwestern the weekend before. Now Terrel Hunt is the captain of the Good Ship Orange, earning the starting spot by looking more polished and protecting the ball. Can that momentum and success continue another week?
Syracuse enters with the most confidence they've had in both their offense and defense all season. While the offense had to earn it by pounding the ball and Hunt (or whoever) making good passes, the defense were playing against undersized players and a quarterback that wasn't that good. The defense still has to prove they can stop a team that is capable of passing the ball. That will be tested with QB Nick Montana, son of that famous Joe Montana. Maybe you've heard of him. He's got an acceptable seven TDs to his two INTs. But he's been sacked 11 times on the year. If Syracuse can create pressure on the quarterback, which is possible, Syracuse could again be on the right side of the turnover margin, giving Syracuse a great chance to come away with a nice win. Create turnovers and it makes your life easier. And while Hunt may stumble by throwing his first pick of the year, you have to think that his success will continue. He's yet to really throw a bad ball. The last time Syracuse played Tulane they ran a few trick plays with some success and had a little bit of a lead on Syracuse early before Syracuse ended up pulling away. I don't see that happening to Syracuse in this game. While I think Tulane manages to score, unlike Wagner, I think Syracuse gets a lead and then slowly pulls away all game. I think Syracuse's receivers will dominate the coverage and I think Syracuse's defense will force Montana to work way to hard with only moderate success. Unless Fudge goes on a tear (H/T: Dan Lyons). Look for Syracuse to win a comfortable game. 38 to 10.
This game is available in New York on MSG +, and in my neck of the woods on NESN, at 12:30pm. You can check here for television coverage of the game everywhere. For those not blacked out (check map here) you can watch online at Watch ESPN. John will be in the Dome providing some live coverage on the Twitter, while I'll be out of the office and can't. Enjoy your Saturday and the Syracuse game, because this is probably the weakest weekend slate for college football you'll see this year.

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Wagner - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Terrell Triumph!

Don't fret Scott. You got your first win as Head Coach.
Syracuse was coming in off one of the worst team performances of the last few seasons. While we knew that Syracuse would perform better against FCS Wagner, they even exceeded even the most cynical fans expectations. Winning 54-0 will make anyone take notice.
Offense
A-
Honestly, the offense would have earned an A if it weren't for the first three series from Drew Allen, which were three 3-and-out series. The only reason Syracuse got three points on the board in one of Allen's series is Syracuse recovered a fumble deep in Wagner territory. Allen has clearly made himself the back up. Terrell Hunt (15/18, 265yds, 3 TD, 0 INT) dazzled. Every facet of the offense seemed to improve when he was in the game. Hunt has failed to lead a drive that didn't at least score some points. Syracuse as a team rushed for 236 yards. The receivers all looked good. You really can't complain too much.
Defense
A
Syracuse only allowed five first downs, 2-14 on third downs, 0-1 on fourth downs, and 87 yards total. Those numbers are a nightmare for an offensive coordinator, but music to the ears of Shafer and the other defensive coaches. There were also two interceptions by Syracuse, and a fumble recovery. Syracuse was able to pressure the quarterback consistently, no matter who Wagner had behind center. Additionally, while Wagner had a number of drops, the secondary actually performed well. An impressive day for the defense.
Special Teams
B
Ross Krautman was out so we had the backup kicker in, who mostly just kicks off. Ryan Norton gave it a good try, but was 2/3 on field goals and missed an extra point. I've never played college football but I guess I could make 5 out of 5. Punt and kick coverage was pretty good, and Syracuse's punt returns were quite good as well.
Coaching
A-
The only thing I would have changed was I would have started Hunt and not given Allen the first three series. Otherwise, the game plan was perfect. The staff worked Allen back in after Hunt put the game well out of reach, and Charlie Loeb (RGLCL) got a series in. Syracuse mixed passes and runs and looked good all around. There were a few too many penalties, but otherwise a solid afternoon.
GPA
A- (3.6)
While Syracuse only played an FCS team, and there were a few things that need to be fixed, Syracuse played a virtually perfect defensive game, and the offense was vastly improved from the week before. Starting that Hunt kid probably had something to do with it.
Syracuse now prepares to have a slightly better team in Tulane come into the Dome this Saturday. With an odd start time of 12:30, let's hope that's the only odd thing you see in Syracuse from the hometown team. But you have to feel encouraged from what you saw this past weekend. A refreshing change from the weekend before.

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Cue The Smiling Child...

It's all smiles when you shut out a team 54-0.

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Wagner Quick Predictions

Staten Island actually has schools?
The Orange started their season 0-2, playing two Big Ten teams in their first two games. Now they get a bit of a reprieve as they play their first home game. It also happens to be against an FCS team. So that's nice, right?
Syracuse's biggest story during the week has been what the quarterback situation for Syracuse will look like on Saturday. While Drew Allen has apparently still retained starter status for the game, Tarrel Hunt should get into the game, possibly as early as the second series. While the receivers have looked good, really the run game and the quarterback play has been underwhelming. The good news is that Wagner should be undersized and allow Smith and PTG to run wild. That should take some pressure off of both Allen and Hunt. If Allen struggles in this game it will be a clear sign that Hunt should be the starter next weekend. Wagner shouldn't be too hard to beat, but they do have a bright spot in their running attack. The secondary should get a much needed break as Wagner will run first and pass second. The secondary should be able to make a couple of nice plays and not let receivers beat them as they did last weekend. This is a week to solidify coverage and be able to gain confidence. Other FCS teams have surprised in the last couple of weeks, but this is not one of them. Syracuse wins their home opener 34 to 10.
This game will be available online on Watch ESPN / ESPN 3 only at 4:00pm. Both John and I are making the trip to the Dome so Twitter coverage will be sparse but enjoyable as always. At least a nice 4:00pm start is the cure for lack of tailgating in your life. The weather should be perfect.

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There was less smiling after the game started.
Syracuse was facing a tough task heading to Northwestern, a ranked team. While I thought the game could possibly be close, I thought Syracuse was not going to pull any miracle moves. But I had no idea the team would look as bad as they did in the first half. Penalties, mental mistakes, and failing to execute were only part of the story. To the report card.
Offense
D
Drew Allen (27/41, 279yds, 1 TD, 4 INT) did not have a good day to say the least. There were probably six or seven passes that were batted near the line that he threw, and a couple of those picks were thrown RIGHT AT D lineman. The run game in the first half has never really got going and only marginally improved in the second half. The only encouraging pieces of the offense were the receivers, but only they could do so much when most of the balls thrown were to players in purple jerseys.
Defense
D
The defense did very little so stop the run power of QB Kain Colter or the throwing arm of QB Trevor Siemian. Both did well on the day, combining for 4 throwing TDs and 1 rushing TD, as well as a combined 30/37. The secondary looked bewildered in the first half, and didn't improve that much in the second. With the exception of a few series, it seemed like Northwestern was finding their way in the end zone early and often. When the QB is the leading rusher for the other team you feel encouraged that traditional run defense in the box is working, but then you remember who cares when the QB is torching you with his legs. Someone want to spy this guy?
Special Teams
C
Nothing spectacular but nothing too disappointing. Except for a couple blatantly shanked punts, and a missed XP right off the post. The missed XP hurt even more as it was the first drive in the second half, one that scores a TD, and you cap it off by botching the virtually automatic point to make it a respectable 14 point game for your team. Instead, it was 13. And you're reminded the rest of the game what happened. The return men looked good, except for the puzzling decision to run the ball out of the end zone on a kick that was 5 yards deep in. The team returned it only to the 24, but there was a holding penalty called so they started at the 7. Not good.
Coaching
C+
A lot of the frustraton on the field was from poor execution and a lot of interceptions. But play calling was an issue. On a 3rd and 9 a run up the middle was called. There was a false start before that, and the play probably wasn't changed, but you need to when that kind of penalty happens. Another coaching mistake. Additionally, there were a lot of false starts and dumb penalties early in this game. That, at least partly, falls on coaches not getting the team prepared enough for the road environment. But you have to like the second half adjustments made. The team marched down the field on their first drive out of the locker room. That shows promise for the coaching abilites.
GPA
C- (1.58)
All in all, in a game where the team was outmatched and was expected to lose, a poor showing. Syracuse should have looked sharper and performed better, especially in the first half. It appeared, whether true or not, that the team had actually regressed from week 1 to week 2, something that should never happen. Syracuse did not impress in this one.

So there you have it. Syracuse just had one of those games where nothing much seemed to go right. You'll get those games against ranked opponents on occasion, but to look as flat as Syracuse did in a decent chunk of this game was tough to watch for even casual fans. But Syracuse will have a chance to bounce back as FCS Wagner heads into the Carrier Dome this Saturday. If we lose that one... well, let's not think about that.

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Cue The Crying Child...

Not much went right for the Orange against Northwestern.

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Northwestern Quick Predictions

Remember when this was a Friday tradition?
Syracuse came up just short last Saturday in their opener against Penn State. The Orange came up even shorter against Northwestern in the Dome last season, losing by one point. Now Northwestern is a better team and Syracuse has to travel to Chicago. A tough game to win on the road.
Syracuse started QB Drew Allen and, while he threw two picks, he showed signs of being a guy that can throw the ball and stay cool under pressure. Jerome Smith on the other hand, found the end zone but was really stifled by the run defense of Penn State. But he runs hard so you can be sure that he will not be phased by anything Northwestern can throw at him. Syracuse will be feeling some deja vu however, as NU's starting quarterback was injured last week and is doubtful for this game. That means that Syracuse will line up against QB Trevor Siemian most likely, the quarterback that came in for the injured starter last year in the Dome and torched Syracuse on the final drive to put Northwestern up by one point. Syracuse's defense is fairly solid, it's the offense that is the biggest question mark for Syracuse. But they will have a tough task on both sides of the ball. Northwestern is probably just too talented and too physical a team for Syracuse to get a lead on and keep it. It would be shocking for Syracuse to go into Northwestern and score an ranked upset. I'm picking the Wildcats 38 to 24.
This game is available on the Big Ten Network and online on BTN2go if you have a cable log in at 6:00pm, 5:00pm local time. I'll be watching from the home office so you'll see plenty from John and I online. Hopefully Syracuse will show some growth from week 1, because really, that's all you want to see against a team you don't think you're going to win.

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This Is No Orange Appeal

Eventually, the gavel will bang one last time on this Davis/Lang/Boeheim/Fine case

The law prefers finality. Specifically, the finality of a court ruling. But, the law also prefers due process. So in that spirit, the law allows an aggrieved party to, in most cases, file an appeal of a trial court decision. Such is the case in Bobby Davis and Mike Lang against Jim Boeheim and Syracuse University. As none of us can forget, Davis and Lang filed a defamation lawsuit against Boeheim & SU for certain things the coach said in interviews and press conferences in the wake of the revelation of allegations against Bernie Fine.

That suit was originally filed in Manhattan. But a motion to change venue was filed by the defendants -- who won that motion -- and the case was moved to Onondaga County. This allowed a local court with a local judge to hear the case between local litigants. Prior to reaching trial, or even the discovery phase of the case, Onondaga County Supreme Court Justice Brian DeJoseph had an opportunity to rule on the defendants' motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the case should be ended right then and there because the lawsuit does not allege a cause of action upon which relief can be granted. In other words, "you ain't got no case."

On May 11, 2012, DeJoseph granted the motion to dismiss the suit. The Court wisely made reference to a recent appeal decided by the same court that would hear an appeal of this decision. And yet, Davis & Lang decided to appeal.

Today, oral arguments on that appeal were heard by the appeals court. The Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, is based in Rochester, NY and is the mid-level appeals court for cases originating in an area of the state covering Corning and to the west, north to Buffalo, and east to Rochester, Syracuse, the Mohawk Valley, and the North Country.

Oral arguments are not the type of thing you see on TV or in the movies. There's a panel of appeals judges who sit at the bench at the front of the court room, and there is a podium where the attorneys stand to argue -- one at a time -- for 15 minutes each. Depending on the judges, the attorneys may get cut off to answer specific questions of the judges. Prior to oral arguments, the attorneys would file briefs, summarizing the procedural positions of the case in the lower court, and arguing, based on law, why the lower court messed up. So assuming the judges have read these briefs (or had their law clerks give them the condensed versions), the judges generally know what the case is about and what legal questions are at issue.

I quick look around the internet didn't produce copies of the appellate briefs or the recordings from today's oral arguments, so I have no way of knowing for sure what was argued. The Davis/Lang team surely argued that DeJoseph should not have dismissed the case and the matter should be sent back to his court to proceed to trial; The Boeheim/SU team surely argued that DeJoseph decided correct, has a solid legal backing, and this should be the end of it.

While there's no specific indication of when the appeals court may announce its decision, the court's website last listed its next scheduled decision day to be September 27.

Once the appeal is decided, the losing party does have the option to ask for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeals -- the highest court in New York. But it's not an automatic right -- permission must be given by one of the judges hearing this appeal, or from the Court of Appeals itself. Relatively few cases make it to the Court of Appeals, so chances are the ruling of the Fourth Department will likely spell the end of this case unless it is remanded back to Onondaga Supreme Court to go to trial.

But this case will be over, eventually. I promise!

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Dejected Orangemen still gather for the post-game Alma Mater

When the Doug Marrone Era began in Syracuse, orange T-shirts were being sold with "IT STARTS NOW" printed on the back. If "now" was that game, the "it" meant "losing the game." Of course, we all know that Douggie turned things around, ended his era with a .500 record, and took Syracuse to two Pinstripe Bowl victories.

But on Saturday, it was no longer the Doug Marrone Era. It was the first game of the Scott Shafer Era. Shafer -- the fiery former defensive coordinator for the Orange -- was brought in to replace the departing Marrone and keep continuity in the program for the players who loved him. Shafer had no easy task for his initiation into the head coaching ranks: play Penn State at a "neutral" site filled 10-1 with Nittany Lions fans, start a quarterback who has never started and is new to your program, and hope something works out. We'll take you through the ups and downs of it, but Syracuse lost a close one that was still undecided late in the fourth quarter, 23-17.

Offense
B-
Orange Nation learned a few minutes before the game began what Shafer had known for about ten days: that transfer Drew Allen would start at quarterback for the Orange. He evidently had pulled away in the two-horse race with Terrell Hunt for the starting nod, so he took nearly all of the first-team snaps in all the closed practices leading up to Saturday's game. Allen has a heck of an arm -- so it was no surprise that he won the job. He was forced to use that arm quite a bit, as the trademark SU running attack didn't have much going for it. 37 rush attempts netted only 1.9 yards per carry for the Orange. Veterans Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley just couldn't find open lanes, something the offensive line will need to improve upon quickly before this season spins out of control. Going back to Allen: he finished the day 16-37 for 189 yards, two interceptions, and no touchdowns in the air. My biggest takeaway from the passing game (other than conservative play calling, which we'll get to later) is that the timing often seemed off. I suppose that can be expected first the first game, especially with a QB brand new to the program. But he better develop some chemistry with his receiving corps fast, because 189 yards just isn't going to win football games.

Defense
B+
This is Scott Shafer's baby, after all, and even though he wasn't calling the plays anymore, you knew the D would be out to get some tackles for loss and create good field position for the offense to take over. For the most part they did a great job here: the unit gave up only 57 net rushing yards, sacked the QB twice for 17 yards, and -- here's the big stat to stick out -- held Penn State to 1 of 16 on third down conversions. 1 of 16! Time and again, the SU defense stalled a PSU drive near midfield and forced a punt, taking away potential scoring opportunities. A few big plays, particularly in the air, led to Nittany Lions points and their eventual victory, so this is an area that needs improvement.

Special Teams
B-
Some good and some bad here. The return team had a decent day, with two kickoff returns for 70 yards and two punt returns for 16 yards. Syracuse's seven punts traveled 295 yards for an average of 42.1 yards per punt. Three of those punts landed inside the 20, and none resulted in touchbacks. Ross Krautman was 2-2 on PAT kicks, but 1-2 on field goals, with the miss really playing a big role in the momentum of the game and ultimately with the strategy down the stretch, being down by six instead of three.

Coaching
C
Coaching gets the worst grade of the game, not because I didn't think Shafer did a good job, but because of the whole staff being mediocre with how this game was handled. First off, I don't think Syracuse gained anything by not announcing the starting QB until gametime. If you're going to keep it secret, and hope to catch the defense off guard, then you better have some tricks up your sleeve -- and that means, don't call a conservative offensive game. That, unfortunately, was what we saw on Saturday: so many predictable play calls, so many comments of "when is Syracuse gonna take a shot downfield?" You've had all summer to prepare for this game, and at least the last ten days knowing Drew Allen would be taking the snaps, so why not be a little creative out there? In a game where the first quarter saw no scoring, a halftime score of 6-3 favoring the Lions, and no real big plays until the third quarter, the coaches really needed to step up and make something happen for this team, and they didn't. But the staff still deserves some credit for keeping the team in the game until its last possession, so no failing grade here.

GPA
B- (2.68)
I've seen it widely mentioned in postgame interviews and commentaries that this was not a "moral victory" for this team. That they expected to win, and they didn't, so this is a loss no matter how you look at it. And in the standings, it sure is. But it's a loss in a game where Syracuse still had a chance to win it on its last possession late in the fourth quarter. It's a loss in a game where you look at a few things that could have gone differently, and maybe you see a win instead. So while it's not a moral victory, I certainly see it as a learning experience. It was a hard fought battle where either team could have won; it was not a blowout. So you have to feel decent about this team moving forward. Well, there's that huge challenge against Northwestern on Saturday, but that's a discussion for another day.

Extra Credit
Just a few final thoughts here, since I attended this game down at MetLife Stadium. Let me say this: that game was not a home game, it was not a neutral site game, it was an away game. Plain and simple. I'm pretty ashamed at the turnout of Syracuse fans. Most media reports I saw described it as about 70-30 in favor of PSU fans, but it was better than 90-10. Look, guys, this NYC-area game is basically going to be an annual thing for Syracuse, so we need to start showing up. Penn State travels well? OK. So does Notre Dame, who we'll see there next year. South Bend is 697 miles -- a ten and a half hour drive -- to MetLife Stadium. Syracuse is 242 miles, which can be driven in under four hours. I'm just saying. You wanna say having that home field advantage doesn't matter? Ask the players on the field, who had communications problems the entire game because PSU fans were so loud. Ask any Syracuse fan who was there, who felt like being the only guy at a Lilith Fair concert. Makes you wonder whether the communication issues wouldn't have been so bad if more Orange fans were there, and whether the execution of plays on the field would have been better without the communications problems, and... well, I'm going down a slippery slope here, but, think about it...

Up next, the 0-1 Syracuse Orange travels to Evanston, Illinois to take on #22 Northwestern (1-0) this Saturday at 6:00pm EDT. Look for more on this game from Orange::44 as the week rolls on. Otherwise, enjoy whatever's left of your Labor Day weekend!

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Cue The Crying Child...

Not the worst opening day showing, but still a loss.

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