MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — Terrel Hunt had a career-best three touchdown runs and threw for another Saturday afternoon to help Syracuse defeat Central Michigan 40-3.
The quarterback — ejected from the team’s opener after throwing a punch at an opponent — was 20 for 30 for 175 yards, including a 4-yard scoring pass to Brisly Estime late in the second quarter that gave the Orange a 17-3 lead at intermission. He added 92 yards on 13 carries, including two short touchdown runs late in the third quarter that put the game out of reach.
Syracuse (2-0) allowed FCS Villanova 389 yards in its opener but was much sharper Saturday. The Orange gave up just 169 yards in the first three quarters, sacked Central Michigan (2-1) quarterback Cooper Rush five times and got two scoring plays from its defense.
Marqez Hodge returned a fumble 36 yards early in the second quarter to give Syracuse the lead for good and Cameron Lynch forced Rush into an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone early in the third for a safety.
Hunt added his final touchdown run late in the game.
Central Michigan, a week removed from a 38-17 win at Purdue, didn’t dress leading rusher Thomas Rawls and it showed. The Chippewas managed only 34 yards on the ground after Rawls was scratched because of an “issue” the school discovered Friday. The school did not elaborate on the reason.
Rush, under pressure nearly every time he dropped back to pass, was 18 for 34 for 183 yards on the day the school celebrated the 40th anniversary of its 1974 NCAA Division II national championship.
Brian Eavey gave Central Michigan its only lead of the afternoon when he kicked a 26-yard field goal to end the game’s first drive. That first drive ate up 66 yards but the Chippewas managed only 151 the rest of the game.
Hunt apologized to teammates after being kicked out of the opener but kept his cool Saturday. A Central Michigan player started jawing at him after a fourth-quarter incompletion but the quarterback merely pointed to the scoreboard.