Second chance is last chance for Syracuse receiver

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 21, 2012 - 8:20 AM

Syracuse receiver Marcus Sales was suspended for the entire 2011 season, but he's back and is on his way to a sensational senior year.

The game doesn't look any different to Syracuse wide receiver Marcus Sales now, a year after missing a full season. And thanks to the senior's natural talent, he doesn't look any different in it.

After all, the receiver has netted 350 yards and four touchdowns for the Orange already, in three games. He's leading the Big East in catches and yards per game and looks poised to break a couple of program records this year as Syracuse heads to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday as the Gophers' first BCS opponent of the season.

Yes, the game looks pretty similar to Sales as it did when he last played, giving a beastly performance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at the end of 2010. But just maybe the receiver appreciates everything a little bit more: marching into the Carrier Dome, being with his teammates, the good exhaustion that comes from a hard practice, rather than a draining life crisis.

Sales had finished his junior year strong, and after a good spring and summer in 2011, he was looking forward to what he thought would be his breakout season. But last July he was arrested on drug charges after getting pulled over at a traffic stop with multiple bags of marijuana, bags of painkillers and digital scales.

As a result, Sales was suspended for the entire season.

"It's a big wakeup moment," said Sales, who played as a true freshman and still had a redshirt year to use. "It was real hard, just being away from the game period, and you're seeing your friends and your teammates -- that you've built a relationship over the past year -- go out there and battle and you know you can help, but you can't do anything about it. It hurts a lot. That's something I don't want to see anybody go through."

Given a second chance -- after all, the charges were dropped, allowing for Sales to re-enroll in school -- Sales buckled down, working hard to get his legs back under him in the spring and perfecting his timing with quarterback Ryan Nassib in one-on-one practices over the summer.

"I'm definitely more focused," said the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Sales, who became the first Syracuse receiver with four consecutive 100-yard games with his 117-yard showing a week ago against Stony Brook.

"This is my senior season. I can't repeat this year, so I just want to go out there and leave everything on the field, ... The game means a lot, and I realized that a lot."

Said Syracuse coach Doug Marrone: "In the past I've talked about Marcus not being as consistent during practice, and what I've seen from Marcus since he's been back is that consistency ... and obviously it's carrying over now to back-to-back-to-back games for him."

And it's helped build momentum for an offense that is playing much better than its 1-2 record suggests. After losses against Northwestern and USC -- the Orange lost to the Wildcats by one point and played USC closely for three quarters -- Syracuse earned its first win last week. The offense has piled up 1,600 yards with a no-huddle, fast-paced style.

"They're explosive -- they're very explosive," Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. "[They] are very gifted at wide receiver and quarterback, and they can go vertical with the football. It's a different skill set than we've seen and, I mean, it's a great challenge for us in the secondary, there's no question about that."

Sales is a big part of that, becoming the main target for Nassib -- who has thrown for 300 yards in every game this season -- after Syracuse lost four of its top five receivers from last year. Given the opportunity, Sales wants to leave a different impact than he did a year ago.

"I just want to be a leader for my team and for the younger guys," he said.

  • related content

  • Gophers freshman receiver McDonald hospitalized

    Friday September 21, 2012

    Gophers freshman receiver Andre McDonald has been hospitalized, the university confirmed Thursday.

  • College football insider: The Big Ten blues

    Thursday September 20, 2012

     The conference has struggled mightily in the first three weeks, from top to bottom. Unless things change drastically, bowl season might be even uglier.

  • Big Ten power poll

    Thursday September 20, 2012

    BIG TEN POWER POLL1. Ohio State (3-0; vs. UAB)Braxton Miller leads the Big Ten in rushing, plus gets 203 yards...

  • Syracuse receiver Marcus Sales dives but can't come up with the catch against USC's Drew McAllister (19) and Nickell Robey.

  • GOPHERS VS. SYRACUSE

    7 p.m. Saturday • TCF Bank Stadium • TV: BTN (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 88 FINAL
Charlotte 79
Philadelphia 103 FINAL
Detroit 109
Dallas 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Boston 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 4
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 3
Arizona 0 FINAL
Minnesota 2
Carolina 0 FINAL
Calgary 5
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Columbus 5 FINAL
San Jose 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close