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Syracuse’s JaCobian Morgan struggles on second QB start, quits after apparent head injury

By on April 19, 2021 0

All eyes were on JaCobian Morgan on his second departure from the watch on Friday evening.

The stage was set for a prime-time showdown with Louisville, a team that entered the game with just one more victory than the injury-riddled Syracuse football team.

Expectations were increased because the real freshman displayed the poise of a man of upper class in his two previous matches. Fans wanted to see more of that potential.

Instead, Morgan looked and played like a real freshman. A quarterback who was once composed and intentional with the ball looked indecisive and uncomfortable.

Morgan completed nearly 42% of his passes, finishing 5 of 12 for 40 yards and an interception as Syracuse lost 30-0, this is a sixth consecutive defeat and a first shutout since 2016.

To make matters worse, Morgan left the game in the third quarter with an apparent head injury after taking his third sack of the game.

Cardinals junior linebacker Yasir Abdullah fired a clean shot at the Orange freshman as he stepped back for an assist on third base. As he was shot, Morgan groped and banged his head against the grass. After staying on the ground for a while, he got up and walked over to the sideline, where he was assessed by League medical staff.

Shortly after leaving the game, the show showed Morgan on the phone with whom ESPN cited medical professionals in Syracuse. He was later seen on the bench without his helmet.

Morgan will likely be evaluated between Sunday and Monday, according to Syracuse coach Dino Babers.

Asked about his young quarterback’s availability for the Orange’s last two games against NC State and Notre Dame, Babers said he wouldn’t put anyone on the pitch if he couldn’t protect himself .

“We just have to see where he is,” Babers said in his post-match press conference. “It’s not fair for me to say anything about it until I hear the doctors say exactly what happened and how he is feeling.”

ESPN reported on the telecast that Morgan would be taken to a local hospital to assess his injury, but then released a correction.

“I never received a message that JaCobian was going to the hospital,” Babers said.

The moment was a bit of deja vu for the Orange. Almost a year ago now, Tommy DeVito suffered a lower-body injury that limited his mobility against the same Cardinals team, and Babers pulled him en route to a 56-34 loss.

Aside from his injury, Morgan struggled for the first three quarters. There were times he held the ball longer than necessary and reversed his passes. He nearly threw three interceptions, but the one that counted on the stats sheet was the result of a pass that slipped through the hands of Orange receiver Taj Harris and went straight to Louisville’s Kei’Trel Clark.

Despite his young quarterback’s performance, Babers was impressed with Morgan’s tenacity and ability to take a hit as he reappeared on multiple occasions.

“I thought he was stable,” Babers said. “There was one time he got hit and didn’t return the ball, which is a big deal, and then all of a sudden he gets hit again. These shots are tough, especially when you think of the freshmen who really haven’t had the opportunity to develop their bodies the way they want with Covid-19 and the weight rooms and everything else closed from March until so they can come back here in June. They really weren’t in their active lifting nights until about August.

Morgan is the Orange’s third different to start a quarterback after injuries to DeVito and Rex Culpepper, who replaced the freshman in the fourth quarter. Babers also threw first-year quarterback Dillon Markiewicz into the game late in the fourth quarter, but he did not attempt to pass.

Morgan was placed in a similar predicament against Clemson as he received his first college shots during the garbage time of a burst loss. Is Markiewicz the Next Man? That will be a question posed in the week leading up to Syracuse’s home final at the Carrier Dome next Saturday against NC State.

But for now, Babers predicts Morgan will be able to take the physical toll it takes to be a college quarterback in the future.

“He’s going to be bigger and stronger and be able to take a lot more punches with his body,” Babers said. “I think he hung on there… he’s a tough kid.”

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Syracuse football heads to 1-win season after 30-0 loss at Louisville

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Contact Mike Curtis anytime at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @ MikeACurtis2.

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