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NCAA Football

Brisly Estime Redeems Himself and Leads Syracuse To Texas Bowl Victory

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Mitch Stringer – USATODAY Sports

There’s no doubt that Syracuse Orange quarterback Terrell Hunt deserved to be the MVP of the team’s Texas Bowl victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Hunt was as sharp as he’s ever been throwing the ball and also wreaked havoc on the Minnesota defense with his legs by scoring two rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minute of play. However, a close second for MVP should be Syracuse receiver and kick returner Brisly Estime.

The true freshman Estime did not have a good start to the Texas Bowl. The Orange offense looked poised to score on its opening possession and take an early lead before Estime fumbled a ball on a wide receiver reverse that looked like it would go for a big chunk of yards. After that, the Syracuse offense struggled to finish off drives and run away with the game.

Despite the early mistake, Estime stayed focused and determined to make up for his mistake. He ended up leading the Orange in receiving for the game with five catches for 47 yards, but Estime’s most important play came late in the fourth quarter when he returned a punt 70 yards to set up Hunt and the offense at the Minnesota 14-yard line for what would become the game-winning drive.

Without that punt return, Syracuse would have had to travel nearly 70 yards for the game-winning touchdown in under two minutes with no timeouts as attempting a game-tying field goal was not an option for head coach Scott Shafer at any point in that drive. The Syracuse offense pulled off a similar feat in their regular season finale against Boston College just to get into a bowl game, but it would have been asking a lot for Hunt to lead the offense on another long game-winning drive against a much stingier Minnesota defense.

Hunt will get all the glory and the praise — not to mention the cowboy hat that’s given to the Texas Bowl MVP — but Estime deserves a significant chunk of the credit as well. He made Hunt’s last-minute heroics possible with his punt return, and for a true freshman to shake off an early mistake and make a game-changing play in the final minutes is nothing short of remarkable. For that, Hunt and Estime should be 1-A and 1-B for Texas Bowl MVP.

Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at  He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer.  Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.

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Duke-Syracuse Game Preview, Prediction

Starting the season outside of the Top 25, the Duke Blue Devils were playing with a chip on their shoulder. Now that they are 7-1 on the year, no one is overlooking the darkhorse favorites to dethrone Florida State for an ACC title. The Syracuse Orange started the season 2-0, but have since lost six of seven to lead to a 3-6 record. While they aren’t a threat for the conference title, the Orange can still play spoiler.

Senior quarterback Anthony Boone has been the spark that has gotten the Blue Devils going this season. Boone has passed for 1,628 yards, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions while rushing for another 243 yards and four touchdowns. Jamison Crowder is clearly the team’s top receiving weapon, catching 49 passes for 636 yards and four touchdowns. Max McCaffrey and Issac Blakeney have been basically equal in the receiving department, both catching 26 passes for three scores apiece while McCaffrey has 261 yards and Blakeney has 259 yards. Freshman running back Shaun Wilson has been a main reason for the team’s run success, rushing for 528 yards and four touchdowns.

Syracuse had been led by a dual-threat quarterback of its own in Terrel Hunt who had 983 passing yards and a touchdowns as well as 292 yards and six rushing scores before his injury. He hasn’t returned yet, paving way for freshman quarterback AJ Long to get the nod as the starter. Long hasn’t been very impressive, however, passing for 727 yards and four touchdowns with six interceptions. Jarrod West doesn’t care who’s behind center as he has been effective either way, catching 40 passes for 610 yards. Steve Ishmael has been the second-best wide out on the team, catching 20 passes for 311 yards and three scores. Prince-Tyson Gulley has been solid this season in the run game, leading the team with 526 yards and a touchdown while also catches 20 passes out of the backfield for 107 yards.

Defensively, the Orange have been a bit above average this season, ranking 38th in total yards allowed as well as 43rd in points allowed per contest. In their three wins this season, Syracuse has given up an average of 12 points. Before last week, Duke had done a solid job of keeping opponents out of the end zone. On the year, the Blue Devils rank 13th in points against and a lowly 81st nationally in total yards allowed.

Duke will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange at 12:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 8. The game will be broadcasted on GamePlan/ESPN 3.

PREDICTION: Duke 23, Syracuse 21

Want to see the Blue Devils take on the Orange in week 11? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

Duke will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange in week 11. Who will come out on top?

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