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

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 11:00 AM
Virginia
Maine 12:00 PM
Army
Ferris State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
San Francisco 12:00 PM
Cleveland State
Oregon State 12:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 11:00 AM
Denver
St Marys-CA 11:00 AM
George Washington
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Nicholls
Portland State 11:00 AM
Columbia
Tenn Tech 11:00 AM
Morgan State
SMU 11:00 AM
Auburn
Quinnipiac 11:00 AM
Hartford
Hofstra 11:00 AM
Boston College
Eastern Washington 11:00 AM
Georgia Southern
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
Brown
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Long Island
Bucknell 12:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Stony Brook 12:00 PM
Wagner
FIU 12:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 12:00 PM
Providence
Maine 12:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama State 12:00 PM
Samford
TX-Pan American 12:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
South Dakota St 12:00 PM
Marist
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
(5) Notre Dame
Radford 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football 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 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close