Sunday, October 25, 2009

Carter's career day leads Orange past Akron

All week, the questions surrounding Akron's visit to the Carrier Dome involved the Orange's iffy quarterback situation.

The way things went Saturday, it might not have mattered who took the snaps for Syracuse, as long as they could hand the ball off.

Delone Carter ran for a career-high 170 yards and three touchdowns as the Orange avenged last year's embarrassing loss to the Zips with a 28-14 victory.  Carter also set a career high in rushing attempts, carrying the ball 30 times, most of them coming in the second half as Syracuse wore out the Zips' defense.

With Syracuse having an open date the previous week, it gave the fans and media around the team plenty of time to ponder head coach Doug Marrone's decision on who to start under center for the rest of the season.  While Greg Paulus got the coach's official vote of confidence, freshman Ryan Nassib's increased playing time over the past two games gave people plenty of reason to wonder if he wouldn't take over by season's end.

Paulus started and played the entire game Saturday, but it was clear that Marrone and the offensive staff took the bye week to change the game plan and shift the focus onto Carter and the running game.

Paulus finished the game 12-17 for 105 yards and a touchdown on an 11-yard strike to Marcus Sales in the third quarter to give Syracuse the lead for good at 21-14.

Carter stole the show after the opening kickoff, but a bigger story was made before the game when Syracuse announced the one-game suspension of star wideout Mike Williams for a violation of team rules.  Williams was sixth in the nation with 118.7 receiving yards per game and seventh in the nation in receptions per game at 7.5.  The university would not give any specifics about Williams' infraction, but they expressed that it was only for Saturday's game.

Williams, Paulus, Carter and company will host the fifth-ranked team in the country, the Cincinnati Bearcats, on Halloween next weekend.  Kickoff is scheduled for noon and Syracuse is expecting their biggest crowd at the Dome in years, as the Orange have a chance to end the national-championship dreams of the undefeated Bearcats, who will be playing without starting quarterback Tony Pike for the second straight week.

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