Football

Touchdown pass highlights West’s strong performance

Jarrod West knew he needed to play better.

He was expected to emerge as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver following the departure of Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales. They were big shoes to fill, and West hadn’t even come close to being a top threat.

Excluding the Wagner game, he was averaging 1.43 receptions and 13.9 yards per game, and had been held out of the end zone. He saw fewer snaps against Clemson and North Carolina State.

But on Saturday, in Syracuse’s (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) 13-0 shutout of Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4), West caught two passes for 58 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Brisly Estime on a trick play. He showed glimpses of what many of the 38,550 fans expected to see at the start of the season.

“It’s good to see Jarrod get going,” Syracuse guard Rob Trudo said. “It’s good to see him come around.”

Early in the second quarter, Terrel Hunt tried to find West near midfield on the right sideline. He made the catch and the crowd erupted for the first time all afternoon.

But his feet were out of bounds, so the pass was ruled incomplete. It was a tease, the kind of gaffe West has made all season.

On Syracuse’s next drive, though, West delivered on a similar play. Sprinting down the right sideline, he looked up and the ball fell into his fingertips.

Wake Forest cornerback Merrill Noel waved his arms frantically and repeatedly to signal that the pass was incomplete. The 43-yard reception stood, though.

West and Hunt talked on Friday and texted later in the day. West told Hunt he would start playing better. Hunt knew he’d have a bounce-back game.

“Going into this, I knew I had to put the ball up,” Hunt said, “and he was going to go get it wherever I put it.”

West accounted for Syracuse’s second touchdown in the least expected way. He threw a pass to Estime on a reverse and extended the Orange’s lead. It was a play he had practiced all week, but one he’d never completed.

But on this play, West said, “he was wide open.”

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