The Syracuse rushing attack has, for the most, been a two-headed monster behind the veteran leadership of Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, however, Cuse Nation (pun intended) got a glimpse of the future at the running back position with DeVante McFarlane and George Morris in its game against Florida State last weekend.
McFarlane paced Syracuse with 81 yards on a career-high 13 carries (6.2 yards per carry) while his teammate, Morris set personal bests with carries (21) and yards (67). Morris showed his versatility on kickoff with two returns totaling 42 yards, too.
"Basically, I just followed my rules, followed (what my) coaches wanted and did my best out there," McFarlane said.
"Yeah, I would say it boosted my confidence a lot," McFarlane said about his solid performance against the Seminoles. "I feel like football has a lot to do with confidence and the more confidence you have, the better you'll do."
Morris, on the other hand, gave high praise to the big men upfront when it came to him being able to find the seams and gaps to get valuable gains for the Orange.
"All the credit goes to the O-linemen upfront," Morris said. "They did a great job."
The ora of Doak Campbell Stadium coupled with the crowd atmosphere was something that McFarlane took in as a redshirt freshmen, but at the same time, made sure it didn't consume and swallow him whole in the process.
"It felt great," McFarlane said, "but I treated them like any other team and didn't try and think about they were No. 2 in the nation. When you think about that some people get scared.
"It was a good atmosphere," he said. "They have a good tradition down there. It was great to be on the field. They are just like us, just a little bit bigger and stronger."
With mentors like Smith and Tyson-Gulley next to him in the film room, McFarlane knows he is learning from the best.
"They are very smart," he said. "They teach a lot of things in the film room, on and off the field. They gave me a lot of advice on my footwork, what kind of defensive fronts to look at -- a whole bunch of advice. They've been very good to me."
As one can expect, the finishing touches on this weekend's game plan against Pittsburgh are just about polished off.
"Hopefully, we just go through the game plan like we did with Florida State and play well."
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