Football

Sean Tucker breaks 42-year record for SU’s most single-season rushing yards

Rich Barnes | USA TODAY Sports

Sean Tucker has set Syracuse’s single-season rushing record with over two games to spare.

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With a 17-yard run in the second quarter against NC State, Sean Tucker has broken Joe Morris’ single-season rushing record with a game to spare. 

Tucker rushed for 95 yards in Syracuse’s blowout loss to Louisville last week, coming up 11 yards short of the single-season rushing record. The record-breaking run came on Tucker’s 3rd carry this week against No. 25 NC State. 

Before passing Morris’ record, one that the former SU running back set over four decades ago in 1979, Tucker overtook SU greats such as Floyd Little, Walter Reyes and Larry Csonka.

It would definitely mean a lot, a lot of great names and legends up there, and to be able to break that would definitely mean a lot,” Tucker said of breaking SU’s single-season rushing record ahead of the Louisville game. 

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Tucker, a second-year running back, entered the game ranking third in the nation in total rushing yards and third in rushing yards per game. Tucker is one of 15 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player. 

“(Tucker) is different, and the biggest waste that we can do is treat him like he’s not different,” head coach Dino Babers said about Tucker on Oct. 18. “He’s something that doesn’t come along very often.”

Tucker has combined with quarterback Garrett Shrader to fuel Syracuse’s offense. Since Shrader was named the starter in late-September against Liberty, the duo has leaned heavily on the read-option to march the Orange downfield. Both said the offense has implemented more plays to distract defenses by sending one player in one direction and the other in the opposite. 

Amid last week’s blowout loss to the Cardinals, Babers opted to pull Tucker in the second half. But Babers said that Tucker approached him on the sideline to have a conversation while the game was still going, something the running back has never done in almost two full seasons with Babers. The conversation was private, Babers said, but Tucker convinced the head coach to put him back in the game. 

Babers was adamant that it didn’t have anything to do with breaking records, only specifying that it was “for some stuff that was unbelievable.”

Last time I had a conversation with somebody like that during a game was Jimmy Garoppolo in 2013,” Babers said on Monday. “When you have players that good, doing things that normally players like that wouldn’t want to do, I’m going to always go with that player.”

SU’s star running back has garnered Heisman attention in addition to sparking a discussion about unretiring the legendary No. 44. Most recently, Tucker said that he wanted to carve his own path with his own number No. 34, a change of heart compared to previous comments that he would be interested in wearing No. 44 if presented with the opportunity. Still, he’s known for his humility and soft-spoken attitude, particularly with the media. 

“He’s all about business when it comes down to the field, and I think that’s what makes him great,” offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron said on Sept. 28.

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