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How Have Syracuse Quarterbacks Fared in Their Second Seasons?

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Terrel Hunt enters his second season as Orange QB1 this fall; how have his predecessors performed in similar situations?

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

While Terrel Hunt didn't start the season under center for Syracuse, it didn't take long for him to get to the top of the depth chart, and then stay there. His 10 starts (and what amounts to nearly 11 full games) in 2013 qualify as his "first season," but now what can we expect in his second season at the helm?

Last year, we looked at how Syracuse QBs fared in their first career starts, and that following Saturday, Hunt became only the second Orange passer since 2004 to record a win in that first game (joining Ryan Nassib, of course). While that group of quarterbacks gave us seven different players to compare Hunt to, trying to find Syracuse QBs that played in two full seasons becomes a bit tougher in that time frame. So we're opening it up to the last 20ish years (ends up being 23) for this exercise. But keep in mind, these were all very different players in very different systems -- and obviously the teams from the 90s were more successful than recent vintages of SU football. Still, we need something to go off of, and this is it:

Player 2nd Season Comp. Att. Pct. Pass Yards TD INT Rush Yards Rush TD Rise/Fall?
Ryan Nassib 2011 259 415 62.4 2,685 22 9 39 2 Rise
Perry Patterson 2005 130 273 47.6 1,504 6 11 -37 3 Fall
R.J. Anderson 2002 58 134 43.3 899 4 8 108 1 Fall
Troy Nunes 2000 94 154 61 1,366 8 14 106 2 Fall
Donovan McNabb 1996 118 215 54.9 1,776 19 9 458 3 Rise
Marvin Graves 1991 131 221 59.3 1,912 10 11 -148 1 Push

Not much to glean from the list, unfortunately. And yes, we're giving R.J. Anderson and Troy Nunes their own respective "second seasons" since things overlapped a ton but they still each amassed enough games/stats to be significant.

Other than McNabb and Nassib, things have turned out questionably for second-year quarterbacks at Syracuse, though -- that we can definitely see above (see: the rise/fall column at the far right). Obviously those two hold a place of very high regard in Orange football lore, so does improving in year two mean Hunt's on track to equal those two? Or is it simply a random coincidence?

The latter seems most likely, and there's an additional caveat here about the offensive lines for each QB above, too. Obviously experienced lines (and experienced receivers and running backs) can have a huge impact on your success as a passer. It would take a whole LOT of research to get that story straight, so that's why it's left out. But given the experience Hunt has to work with this season (four of five returning starters), it's not farfetched to think he could improve. Even if it's just slightly.


So what do we think? Is Hunt destined to follow the path of past greats, or maybe due for a bit of a second-year dip similar to the inspiration for this blog (hi, Troy!). A lot of that depends on which Hunt we end up seeing on the field. Is it the guy from the Tulane, Wagner, Boston College and Minnesota games? Or the one that seemed to struggle in the other seven in the middle?

Weigh in below, and share your favorite stories from the above quarterbacks' respective second seasons too, if that's something you're into.