The Upstate-Downstate game features New York’s best players, and that means Syracuse signees are usually on display. The 2012 game was no different, each helping the Downstate team defeat the Upstaters, 27-24 in a close game in the Carrier Dome.
Sunday’s events got off to a hot start for ‘Cuse-bound RB DeVante McFarlane, who carried the ball for 15 yards on his first carry two plays after setting a monster block on special teams. However, he was hobbled on the play and ended up sitting out the remainder of the contest due to a separated shoulder.
“I tried to stiff-arm somebody, and fell awkwardly on my shoulder,” he said after the game. “At first, I felt something wrong but I felt I can go back in… (if it was) another game, I would have went back in.”
The Downstate team would turn to more of a power-running game from that point on, and that meant big tackle Omari Palmer – also heading to SU - would have a critical impact.
He paved the way on a pair of touchdowns early on, while adding to an impressive pancake total as the game progressed. CuseNation.com tracked at least eight take-down blocks on the afternoon courtesy of the future Syracuse Orange.
The team was in control until the first play of the second quarter, when Wayne Morgan was beat deep on a stop-and-go route. It was his first taste of action on the day considering he sat out the first quarter based on him missing practice time with the team. He later would have his vengeance, sparking the game-winning drive with a timely forced-fumble as Upstate appeared to be on the way to a score.
The other player with SU ties in the game, Poncho Barnwell, also lived up to his BCS-level billing. The defensive end, headed to Nassau Community College to focus on grades before going through the recruiting process once more, came up with three sacks in addition to a few big plays behind the line. The Upstate representative even beat his likely future teammate Palmer on one of his tallies.
Each player held his own, and more in-depth scouting is available for CuseNation.com premium subscribers HERE.