SU junior quarterback Terrel Hunt was ejected in the second quarter of the team's 27-26 win over Villanova on Friday night.
Late in the second quarter, Hunt scrambled for about six yards to the Villanova 34-yard line. At the end of the play, it appeared that Dillon Lucas, who had tackled Hunt, was grabbing Hunt's facemask. Hunt retaliated by throwing a short punch to Lucas' facemask. Immediately, yellow flags showered around Hunt, who got up and held his hands up in the air.
After the officials had a discussion, they announced Hunt was given a personal foul penalty for 15 yards and was ejected from the game. The NCAA rulebook states if a player throws a punch they are automatically ejected from the football game, and are at risk of facing further punishment pending NCAA review.
"He just let the emotions get the best of him that time," Ashton Broyld, who's had his own battle with keeping his composure, said. "I'm pretty sure it will never happen again."
SU football coach Scott Shafer said Hunt will not be penalized any further by the University, but also said the officials made the right call.
"It's an emotional game, if you've never played it you don't know what it's like to get frickin' pummeled, then you feel people on your back, they're talking to you and we've all done it...the NCAA, they're trying to clean up the game, trying to make sure we have a high integrity game...and I totally get what they are saying. So you suffer the punishment and get back and get going," Shafer said after the game.
Sophomore quarterback Austin Wilson, named Hunt's backup just this week, came into the game and played well, going 11-17 for 89 yards. Hunt was 10-17 with 94 yards before his ejection. Hunt also ran for 27 yards up to that point. After the win, Wilson was asked if Hunt spoke to him before walking off the field.
"Not right away when he came out, but at halftime and after the game, he just kind of told me to slow it down, let things come to me. Take what the defense gives you, the simple things," Wilson said.
The players say Hunt was supportive in the locker room both at halftime and after the game was over.
"I just told him that he can't do that," 5th year senior and captain running back Prince-Tyson Gulley said. "That's what I told him, we just had to bounce back. That's what happens in college football. That was adversity for us, and we had to rise up against that."
The Orange has a bye next Saturday, and will return to action at Central Michigan on Saturday, September 13th. Kickoff is scheduled for noon on ESPNU/ESPNews.