SYRACUSE Before guys like Jay Bromley, Macky MacPherson and Marquis Spruill arrived to campus, Syracuse University football was wasting away in the doldrums.
The program was coming off five straight losing seasons and made just two bowl appearances in a nine-year span from 2001-09.
But the class of 2014, which was honored before its final game in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, has changed the programs outlook entirely.
We came here with a mission, a mindset, said linebacker Marquis Spruill, who is second on SUs career tackles for loss list with 40. We were hungry and coach Shafer (then the defensive coordinator) talked to us about how we could build the program back and get it back. Thats what we tried to do and I think were getting there.
After completing a thrilling, come-from-behind 34-31 victory over Boston College on Saturday, SU is bowl eligible for the third time in this groups four-year run.
Hopefully (we left behind) a winning mindset, defensive tackle Jay Bromley said.
Its just shown throughout the years that well bend in certain circumstances but well never give up, he added. This senior class is very strong and were very strong-headed. We dont give up. We dont let anybody push us around and we dont take nothing from nobody.
Bromley continued: We really wanted to instill that in the rest of this team for the future. Syracuse, whatever you want to say about them, theyre not going to take nothing from nobody and theyre going to be a hard team to face.
The SU seniors finished with 27 wins in the past four years, more than doubling the win total of the prior four seasons (13).
Im incredibly proud of the program that Syracuse University has become, center Macky MacPherson said. Between coach Marrone and coach Shafer, everything theyve put together, I couldnt be more proud. As a fan, as a person who grew up here, and as a player, its just a dream come true to be part of something like this.
SU honored 19 seniors in all during a pregame ceremony, including players like running back Jerome Smith and left tackle Sean Hickey, who have another year of eligibility remaining.
When I first got the job here, we talked about character and what I like the most about this senior class is their character, SU coach Scott Shafer said.