One last go around

Syracuse senior center Macky MacPherson has had what many would classify as four, very solid years on the field for the Orange. He discusses the Orange's successful season (in his eyes), facing Minnesota again and more inside.

Macky MacPherson has been what many would call a model citizen in his four years at Syracuse University. He has been a key cog on the Orange's offensive line as the team's center and a captain that has led by example on and off the field.

The latest chapter in this senior's collegiate career, though, is inching closer and closer to an end. MacPherson and the rest of this Orange team will suit up one last time this year to take on Minnesota in the Texas Bowl on December 27.

In MacPherson's eyes, this season was successful given the move to the ACC Conference and the stiff competition it faced.

"As a player on the team," MacPherson said, "you want to win every game that you play in. I think if we were to go out there and have an eight-win season it would have been great. To have the season that we had was also great. A lot of people picked us to have two, three wins –- highest I saw was four –- so for us to go out there and get six wins and finish third in our decision -- when we were supposed to be last, second-to-last -– is really awesome to me.

"We had a young offense with a lot of guys gone," MacPherson continued. "It was a tough year, a lot of guys had growing pains, but like I said, we overcame all that and was able to become bowl eligible when no one expected us to. I think that's why this season is a success."

MacPherson gives credit where credit is due, specifically to Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer and getting the guys ready for each game. He also gives praise to some of the younger players who have stepped up as the season progressed.

"I think it's a testament to coach Shafer," MacPherson said about being prepared. "Some of the younger receivers have really stepped up. I think getting guys like Jarrod (West) back has really been nice for this bowl week and getting ready to go out there. To see Brisly (Estime), Alvin Cornelius and the other guys step up -- Jeremiah Kobena is playing well now -- and really excel now, you're happy for them."

The breakout play by certain players will be crucial against a team it went up against last year in Minnesota. The Orange lost by just a touchdown, 10-17, to the Gophers on the road. However, it's Minnesota's successful defensive line that is something to look out for, specifically No. 99, Ra'shede Hageman.

"They're a solid frontline," MasPherson said. "They have real good defensive linemen, Ra'shede Hageman, who is No. 99. The guards and I are going to have to have a good game and get the running game going. The linebackers need to get off the blocks well and cause disruption."

With such a long layover from its last game against Boston College, MacPherson, again, credits coach Shafer with the planning leading up to the Texas Bowl.

"It's one of things were you have to shake the rust off, but I think coach Shafer is doing a good job with his practice schedule, getting us back into football shape, back to the way we need to play and get us ready for a good Minnesota team."

MacPherson also notes that both teams are totally different this year.

"We did see them last year," MacPherson said, "but were a different offense this year. They do have some differences in their defense this year, so you know, it's a new team this year and we look forward to the challenge."

The center doesn't want to think about the "what if" factor if the team didn't make it to a bowl game, but the question was asked by us media pundits anyways. He answered like only Macky MacPherson would:

"I would probably be at my family's house enjoying Christmas morning like we always do, but we're fortunate to be going to Houston this year. I'll take that, it's a good Christmas present for me."

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