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Syracuse’s West performs with heavy heart

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SYRACUSE — Most of the Syracuse University football players woke up excited on Saturday morning.

They were anxious for their home opener at the Carrier Dome against an inferior opponent and, in all likelihood, ready to capture their first win of the season after two difficult losses.

Then, there was Jarrod West.

The 6-foot-2 junior wide receiver woke up to news that his grandfather died.

“I think Jarrod West had a little bit of extra oomph to him because his grandfather passed away this morning,” first-year coach Scott Shafer said.

“I was really happy to see him play well in a difficult situation, losing somebody that he loves so much.”

West, who was SU’s leading returning receiver entering the season, finished with a career-high 147 yards on five catches. It was his first career 100-yard game.

“Waking up was pretty tough for me. My grandfather meant a lot to me since growing up,” West said.

West capped off his day with a 65-yard touchdown catch, his first of the year, from Terrel Hunt midway through the third quarter. The score took on extra significance for the Bethlehem, Pa., native.

“Before the game, I said a prayer in the end zone and I told him I’d meet him in that end zone,” West said. “It was kind of cool to actually score in the end zone that I told him I would meet him in.”

West registered a catch for the 17th straight game, which ties him for the 13th-longest streak in program history. The last time he was held without a reception was the 2011 season finale against Pittsburgh.

West is the program’s active leader in career receptions (64) and receiving yards (799).

He caught five passes for 60 yards in the first two games of the season.

West was asked about the Orange’s quarterback competition after the game.

“I think we had a great game plan going into the game,” West said. “I figured that if we just ran the plays that coach called, when our number was called, we made a bunch of plays. I’m just trying to get open every play. If I beat a defender, no matter who is at quarterback, I can try to make a great play.”

GIBBONS PLAYS FOR WAGNER

Carthage native Patrick Gibbons, a defensive lineman for Wagner, recorded a solo tackle in the second quarter.

Gibbons, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound junior, has played in all three games for the Seahawks this season. His tackle on Saturday was his first of the year.

Gibbons started at fullback last year, helping to lead Wagner to its first Northeast Conference championship.

After graduating from Carthage in 2010, Gibbons played a year at Milford Academy before transferring to Wagner.

AROUND THE DOME ...

SU surpassed 50 points for the first time since 2002 against Virginia Tech. … SU held Wagner to 87 yards on offense. It was the first time since a win over Rutgers in 1997 that it held an opponent to under 100 yards of total offense. … The 54-point margin of victory is two shy of SU’s all-time Carrier Dome best of 56, which has occurred on three different occasions, most recently in a win over Buffalo in 2000. … Running back Jerome Smith found the end zone for the third straight game. He has five through three games after finishing last season with just three.

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