SYRACUSE When Drew Allen trotted onto the field in the season opener against Penn State less than two weeks ago, Syracuse University football fans thought they had finally learned who would be their starting quarterback.
Two losses and six interceptions later, the competition has opened back up. And SU fans will get to see it play out on Saturday when the 0-2 Orange hosts FCS opponent Wagner (1-1) in its home opener at 4 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.
First-year coach Scott Shafer said this week that Terrel Hunt, the sophomore who battled the senior transfer Allen for the starting spot throughout preseason camp, will see playing time on Saturday.
The plan for the quarterbacks going into this week is: Well start with Drew, get him going the first couple three series and then I want to get Terrel in the mix early. I look forward to seeing both those kids improve that position.
Hunt said that he was told before Tuesday that he would see some action this week.
He played on the last drive of SUs 48-27 loss to Northwestern last Saturday. He led a scoring drive, completing 2-of-4 passes for 22 yards and running three times for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Coach spoke to me. He hasnt told me exactly what, but he told me Youre going to play this weekend, stay ready, Hunt said. He said, Youve earned it. So, Im just waiting my time.
I just want to get a shot. I think I finally showed that I can play, I know it was their (second unit) and everything, but I showed out there. I picked up the tempo and I took the team down (and scored) in seven plays. So I showed that I can play. I just want to get a shot, he added.
Allen finished the game 27-of-41 for 279 yard and touchdown. But the four interceptions were the most for an SU quarterback since Greg Paulus, another one-year transfer experiment, threw five in 2009.
Allen addressed his job security this week.
I dont really worry about those kinds of things. I felt like, if you take away those four plays or even two of them, I felt like two of them were bad decisions on my part and I got to do a better job and I know I can play a lot better than I did. I have full confidence in my ability and the ability of the offense to do better, he said.
Allen added: Pressure? I mean, theres always pressure. We need a win and we need to do well on offense. Coach always says to control the controllables. I can only control how I perform and how I lead the offense.
Shafer has not addressed any plans for the position beyond this week.
Through two games, Allen has completed 43-of-78 passes for 468 yards with one touchdown and six interceptions.
Both games were against Big Ten teams AP-ranked No. 17 Northwestern and Penn State, which received votes in the AP poll and is just outside the Top 25.
The position hasnt been consistent enough. Like any of the positions on the field, youre looking for consistency at the position, Shafer said.
Hunt addressed the idea of a two-quarterback system.
As long as I can get a shot and prove to the coaches that I can do something, Ill be perfectly fine, Hunt said.
Selfishly, you want to play one, you want to be that guy. But if you have to play two, then its for the team and you do whats best for the team.
WALES STATUS UNKNOWN
Senior tight end Beckett Waless status for Saturdays game is unknown after he left last Saturdays loss to Northwestern with a sprained ankle.
He practiced on Wednesday, according to Shafer, and has not yet been ruled out.
KRAUTMAN RULED OUT
SU kicker Ross Krautman will not play Saturday due to an undisclosed injury.
Shafer said of the injury: Its something thats been chronic now. Its something that hes been fighting, really, the last two years.
Krautman is fifth among active FBS kickers with 49 career made field goals.
Sophomore Ryan Norton, who handles kickoffs for SU, will assume Krautmans duties.
Senior Chris Clark and several other receivers finished Saturdays loss to Northwestern with career days in the absence of Adrian Flemming.
Clark (six catches) and Ashton Broyld (seven) each finished with career highs for receptions.
Quinta Funderburk, Brisly Estime and Kendall Moore each recorded their first career catch.
It was announced before the Northwestern game that Flemming would miss the season with a foot injury. The uncertainty surrounding Waless injury creates even more of a need for SU to find reliable targets among its receiving corps.
Sportswriter Josh St.Croix covers Syracuse University football for the Times and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.