Hunt’s ability to run, pass proves effective in Syracuse’s gun-read offense
Logan Reidsma | Staff Photographer
Save for a few hollow possessions against Villanova, Syracuse’s win over Central Michigan on Saturday was the first opportunity to see how Terrel Hunt fits into the team’s new offensive scheme.
The Orange (2-0) beat the Chippewas (2-1) 40-3 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and the quarterback showed that his combination of speed and passing accuracy is the ideal skill set for SU’s spread-out, no-huddle system.
Not only did he find success on the ground (13 carries, 92 yards, three touchdowns) and in the air (20-for-30, 175 yards, one touchdown), but Hunt’s legs and arm combined to make the gun-read offense — which gives him the option to pass or run — a success.
“It all goes hand in hand,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said. “I mean that’s the whole idea behind the offense.”
“He’s a dual-threat quarterback and we’re a spread gun-read offense,” offensive coordinator George McDonald said. “When he’s out there you have the run, you have the pass and then you have the quarterback’s ability to scramble.”
With the zone-read package putting four to five receivers on either side of the field, Hunt had options to run, throw a bubble screen to the slot receiver or look for other options downfield. He established his arm and accuracy early in the game — which forced the Chippewas’ defense to man up on the outside and leave a light box to account for quarterback runs.
Here are his final rushing and passing stats by region of the field on Saturday:
To the left: three carries, 9 yards, two touchdowns
Up the middle: eight carries, 60 yards, one touchdown
To the right: two carries, 23 yards
To the left: 8-for-14, 63 yards
Up the middle: 7-for-7, 72 yards
To the right: 5-for-9, 40 yards, one touchdown
20-yard run in first quarter
Early in the game, Hunt rushed to the right side for 20 yards in a spread formation that had two receivers on the left side of the offensive line and two on the right.
When Hunt caught the snap, he gave a hard shoulder fake to insinuate a throw and the linebackers and defensive backs in the Chippewas’ zone scheme all jumped to a receiver. On the right side, the outside linebacker moved outside and the safety ran up to cover a potential bubble screen to Ashton Broyld — in the right slot — and the near-side cornerback dropped back into coverage. All of the movement gave Hunt room to run through the right side of the line with the linebackers and safeties all keying on a pass.
Once Hunt took off, the defensive end, outside linebacker and safety on the right side were already behind him. The safety was still covering for the bubble screen to Broyld while Hunt passed the line of scrimmage, with
By the time Hunt got to the second level, the defense on the right side of the field was either sealed by blocks, too behind to catch up or not in position to make a tackle before Hunt collected a sizable gain.
36-yard run in third quarter
At the start of the third quarter, Hunt used an identical shoulder fake to shift the defense and run down the left side of the field for 36 yards. This time there was one receiver on the left side of the field and three more on the right, with senior running back Adonis Ameen-Moore in the backfield.
Once Hunt pumped to the right side of the field, Ameen-Moore ran through a hole in the line without the ball and sealed the middle linebacker with a strong block. He was the only player on the left side not locked into pass coverage, and Ameen-Moore’s block gave Hunt space for the 36-yard gain.
The multi-faceted offense requires defenses to make decisions. Central Michigan — which was tired by the second half and generally inept in the air and on the ground — wasn’t able to do so on multiple occasions. It made Hunt’s first full performance a promising one and it will be interesting to see how the gun-read works against Maryland, a Big Ten opponent, in the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
Published on September 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm