On campus

News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.

Syracuse coach Scott Shafer loses debut

Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer speaks to the

Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer speaks to the media at a news conference during the Atlantic Coast Conference college football media day in Greensboro, N.C. (Credit: AP)

As transitions go, the move by Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference promised to be a rocky one after the Orange lost coach Doug Marrone to Buffalo in the NFL at a time when quarterback Ryan Nassib graduated. But the debut of new coach Scott Shafer and quarterback Drew Allen was promising despite a 23-17 loss to Penn State Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

Shafer chose Allen, a senior transfer from Oklahoma, over holdover sophomore Terrel Hunt. Allen completed 16 of 37 passes for 189 yards but threw two interceptions. The first one set up a field goal that gave Penn State a 16-10 lead, and the second came on a desperation pass at the end.

It was a loss, but Syracuse was in it until the final moments. Most importantly, the defense was every bit as strong as a year ago. The Orange held Penn State to 57 yards rushing, including just two in the second half, and allowed the Nittany Lions to convert just one of 16 third-down situations. After Syracuse pulled within 23-17 with 6:58 to play, the Lions failed to make a first down in three possessions.

“I hate to lose a game, but we went into this game with the goal, realistically, to get into the fourth quarter with a chance to win,” Shafer said. “I thought it was going to be a fourth-quarter game.

“Our defense played a tough football game. Those guys forced four turnovers [two interceptions, two fumbles]. On offense, we had a kid [Allen] start at quarterback that hadn’t played since high school other than getting him in for mop-up duty at Oklahoma. I was pleased with Drew for the most part. He threw the ball to nine different receivers…I liked his moxie, I liked his energy, I liked his fight. I thought he showed some tough, hard-nosed football.”

With a little more than nine minutes left in the game, Allen took a fierce lick from blitzing Penn State safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong that shook MetLife to its foundation. But the Syracuse QB kept going.

“I was comfortable,” Allen said. “All the experiences I’ve had over the past five years [four at OU] going up against great defenses in practice and being in a lot of game-type situations, I had no jitters. I was calm. To be honest, I had a lot of fun.”

From the look of the opener, Syracuse is going to be a tough out in the ACC.

Tags: Scott Shafer , Drew Allen , Syracuse Orange , ACC

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday