SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse seniors were playing in their last game inside the Carrier Dome. As if that wasn't motivation enough, bowl eligibility was on the line, and they were not going to go down without a fight.
"It means a lot, but really more for the seniors," quarterback Terrel Hunt said. "We get to come back, but at the same time the seniors turn the program around. To get this win for them was a lot more."
When the seniors came to Syracuse four years ago, the Orange were coming off of the worst stretch in program history. Players like Macky MacPherson, Marquis Spruill and others helped turn around a once proud program.
"It means everything," senior defensive tackle Jay Bromley said. "This was a real team win, offensively and defensively. That's the greatest thing about it because we came out here as a unit. We bended in certain circumstances but we didn't break. For us to go out as winners and to a bowl game for this great senior class that I am a part of. It's beyond words."
When Josh Parris ran in the game winning touchdown, it was a sigh of relief for the seniors.
"I was about ready to collapse, I can tell you that much," MacPherson said. "It was a hard fought game, and to be honest with you I think it was one of the top five Syracuse games that has ever been played in the Dome. I've been watching games here for a while and to go out like that, that's going out with a bang."
Three bowl games in four years is the legacy this group will leave. Most of the, unheralded prospects out of high school. Bromley was unrated, Jeremi Wilkes a two star prospect, Jerome Smith (who still has one year of eligibility left due to a redshirt year) was a two star, as was Macky MacPherson.
Not a bad way to finish for players that have exceeded what many thought their potential was at the collegiate level.
"All I can say is that I'm incredibly proud of the program," MacPherson said. "Syracuse University has been, between coach (Doug) Marrone and coach (Scott) Shafer, what we've put together here at Syracuse I couldn't be more proud as a fan. As a person who grew up here and as a player.
"It's just a dream come true to be part of something like this and to see Syracuse excel. And I can't wait to see what they do in the future."