Syracuse QB Rex Culpepper, battling cancer, throws TD in spring game (Video)

Dr. Saturday
Syracuse Orange quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/263400/" data-ylk="slk:Rex Culpepper">Rex Culpepper</a> (15) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Syracuse Orange quarterback Rex Culpepper (15) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Rex Culpepper wasn’t going to let chemotherapy get in the way of him playing in Syracuse’s spring scrimmage.

Culpepper, a redshirt sophomore quarterback, was diagnosed with testicular cancer last month. After an initial surgery, Culpepper has been working his way through a 10-week chemotherapy cycle.

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Entering Friday night’s scrimmage at the Carrier Dome, Culpepper dressed but was unsure if he would see any action — but Orange head coach Dino Babers had a plan in place. He subbed Culpepper in for the game’s final drive. Culpepper promptly led the offense down the field for a touchdown.

How cool is that?

Culpepper completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive, including the 17-yard scoring connection with tight end Ravian Pierce to cap off a five-play. 60-yard drive.


After being subbed in, Culpepper was greeted with pats on the back from his teammates. Then he walked back from the line of scrimmage to hug Babers. The coach’s message, according to Culpepper (whose impression is well worth watching the video embedded above): “If you go 3-and-out, that’s it. If you go all the way down the field, good job.”

That’s exactly what Culpepper did, hitting junior wideout Devin Butler in stride on the first snap for a chunk gain. Then he connected with senior tight end Ravian Pierce and sophomore receiver Nykeim Johnson to keep the drive moving before targeting Pierce again on a 17-yard touchdown.

After the game, Culpepper told reporters he had no idea Babers was going to sub him into the game.

Culpepper will return to treatment — another grueling five-day, 25-hour chemo session — on Monday. Per, he expects to complete treatment on June 1 before being cleared to participate in preseason camp.

Culpepper completed 45-of-75 passes for 518 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in 2017. He appeared in 12 games, four at quarterback and eight on special teams on the kickoff return unit. He entered spring practice at No. 3 on the depth chart behind two-year starter Eric Dungey and redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito.

Coming off a 4-8 record in 2017, Syracuse opens its season on Aug. 31 at Western Michigan.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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