SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Riding a three-game losing streak, Syracuse is hurting big-time and its schedule is no friend.
Starting quarterback Terrel Hunt suffered a broken calf bone late in Friday night's 28-6 home loss to Louisville in Syracuse's Atlantic Coast Conference opener and is out 4-6 weeks. Now the reeling Orange (2-3, 0-1 ACC) face top-ranked Florida State (5-0, 3-0) at home on Saturday.
At least the Syracuse offense will have a new look with a different quarterback over center - Austin Wilson and AJ Long, a freshman who enrolled in January, are listed on the depth chart - and Tim Lester calling the shots. Lester was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator on Monday, replacing George McDonald, who was retained and will coach the receivers.
''We'll have to guess a little bit about how they're going to do things on offense,'' Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday. ''You just go back to what they do and think about they've got three days to do what they're going to do.''
The move is understandable. The Syracuse offense has stumbled a lot, especially in the red zone.
The Orange have scored only nine touchdowns in 19 trips inside their opponents' 20-yard line, and the team has converted only 25 of 74 third downs, a dismal 33.78 percent.
In a loss 10 days ago to then-No. 8 Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Syracuse defense forced five turnovers, scoring once on safety Durell Eskridge's interception return, and the offense failed to produce any points off the other four.
Against Louisville, Syracuse managed a field goal in each half.
Hunt, a 6-foot-3, 234-pound dual threat, is still the team's top rusher (61.4 yards per game) and scorer (36 points on six TDs). He's also completed 83 of 145 passes for 983 yards, but has four interceptions and only one touchdown pass.
At least Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer has had a taste of life without Hunt, who won the starting job last year after beginning the season as the backup to Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen. Hunt was ejected late in the first half of the season-opener against Villanova for throwing a punch at a defender, and the Orange barely survived at home against a strong FCS team.
Wilson, a redshirt last season, played the second half of that game and finished 11 of 17 for 89 yards in his college debut. The Orange won the game 27-26 in double overtime on a touchdown pass - by punter Riley Dixon. Wilson also relieved in the fourth quarter Friday night and misfired on three pass attempts.
When Hunt was in there against the Cardinals, he was off-target as much as he was on. And when he did move the Orange in position for touchdowns, the team failed to convert.
Hunt completed a 39-yard pass to wide receiver Jarrod West to the Louisville 2 with 2 seconds left in the second quarter, but Syracuse was out of timeouts and couldn't get off another play. And after Hunt hit wide receiver Ben Lewis for 48 yards to the Louisville 1 on the first possession of the second half, Syracuse had to settle for a field goal after consecutive trick plays failed - a touchdown pass to Lewis by running back Prince-Tyson Gulley was nullified by a penalty and a pass by West was dropped in the end zone by a wide-open Lewis.
Dejected maybe. Not yet down and out.
''We are never going to give up,'' Orange nose tackle Wayne Williams said. ''We are going to keep on playing hard all the time until the clock hits zero. We're sticking together as a family. We will take this out together, and next week we are going to try to get a win together.''
Associated Press writer Kareem Copeland in Tallahassee, Florida contributed.
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