With starting quarterback Eric Dungey not playing, there wasn’t much to glean from the Syracuse Orange offense in Friday night’s spring game. Except. of course, for the final play — when redshirt sophomore quarterback Rex Culpepper threw a touchdown pass to Ravian Pierce, and was then subsequently mobbed by his teammates.
Culpepper was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer and is currently in between chemotherapy treatments. While he’ll be back to work fighting cancer on Monday, the brief respite to lead the Orange offense and throw a touchdown was a great moment to cap the spring game.
Afterward, Syracuse.com spoke to Culpepper about going out there and the reaction afterward. He told them, “It just felt surreal. It was spectacular. I’ll never forget that.”
Culpepper’s form of cancer is treatable, but it’s still a fight, and one that we wish him the best of luck in. Cancer’s terrible, no matter the age. But being diagnosed at Rex’s age makes it easy to potentially feel negative. Instead, he’s been taking a very positive outlook from the beginning about how he’s continuing to battle. As told to Syracuse.com:
“I just feel like I’m really going into it like it’s a prize fight and this is round two. I worked out, I practiced and this time I’m more ready for it.”
Moment of the night: Syracuse QB Rex Culpepper, who is battling testicular cancer, comes on for a drive. Here's a standing ovation from the Dome crowd and a couple early completions. pic.twitter.com/QN6QIQWkcJ— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) April 14, 2018
Culpepper started the final game of the year for Syracuse in 2017, a 42-14 loss. However, he still went 24-of-34 for 280 yards and two touchdowns (plus one pick). On the year, he was 45-of-75 for 518 yards, plus two scores and three interceptions. He also ran for 54 yards, with double-digit gains in each of the last two games of the season.
Good luck again to Rex as he continues his fight. We hope to see him on the football field again very soon.