QB Diaries: Long Bounces Back

A.J. Long is getting back to his old self with a strong performance on Friday while leading his team to a blowout win. He discusses the victory, looks forward to the next game, reacts to Beau Benzschawel's commitment and gives his take on the Jason Cabinda situation inside.

Syracuse quarterback commit A.J. Long has performed up to his own standards over his two games since coming back from a concussion. His hard work off the field helped him get back on track on Friday.

"The game this week was a good week for us," Long said. "We played an almost perfect game. The game was over by halftime. I had five touchdowns in the first half to give us a 35-0 lead on their homecoming. It was a complete effort as a team.

"I was 4-5 for 140-yards and three touchdowns. I ran the ball eight times for another 80-yards and two touchdowns. That was all within the first half. I didn't play after halftime."

For Long, getting back to his old self gives him confidence. The key now, he says, is playing at that level each week.

"It felt good," Long said. "I just have to do it more often. I can't let how many times we throw the ball or how many times I have the ball in my hands affect things. Whenever I have the ball in my hands I have to make a play with it.

"Whether there's three guys around me, two guys, I'm one on one or if I have to make the whole team miss. I have to make plays with my arms or legs to make sure I get the job done."

With one of their stronger performances of the season so far, Long and Friendship Christian are looking forward to a big challenge when they take the field this week.

"This week we have DCA (Donelson Christian Academy)," Long said. "They are the best team we will play in the second half of our schedule. We're going into this game focused. They've had a bye week so they've been preparing for us for two weeks.

"We just have to keep the confidence from last week going. We're probably going to throw the ball more because we feel our athletes are better in space than theirs. We'll see what happens because things can change very quickly."

As predicted by Long last weekend, Syracuse landed another commitment in Beau Benzschawel.

"I was going crazy," Long said. "He was one that I wanted as much as K.J. (Williams) because he's 6-foot-6, 250-punds and he can move. Plus he's very intelligent. So he's a big get for us. I was very happy that Beau was part of the ‘Cuse family now."

Long was able to watch Syracuse's first ACC win on Saturday and took away many positives from the performance.

"I was very happy to see them get their first ACC win," Long said. "Coach (Scott) Shafer played against a guy that was basically his understudy. It was a great game. On the defensive side of the ball, Spruill did a great job as well as Cam (Lynch). Dyshawn Davis before he got hurt. Eskridge too.

"They all played a good defensive game; very sound. The offense, Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith went to work on the North Carolina State defense. It was a very nice win to have."

Maybe the biggest thing surrounding Syracuse recruiting is the status of current commit Jason Cabinda who is taking a serious look at Penn State. Long believes Cabinda will ultimately end up staying with the Orange.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to Jason," Long said. "We talked a little bit before the game on Saturday. It was just checking in to see how everyone did on Friday. I didn't really ask any questions. It wasn't just to him it was to everybody. I think with Jason, he's going to come to one more game at the Dome. I don't think he's decommitting and going to Penn State. That's how I personally feel because I feel that he thinks Syracuse is the best place for him academically and sports wise.

"There aren't too many programs that you're going to be able to walk into and have all five of their starting linebackers leaving. That goes for all of our linebackers. Even with Nile Sykes who hasn't made his decision yet. There are five spots that you know you're going to come in and have a chance to play. I think in the end Cabinda stays Orange but we'll see what happens."

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