An offensive outburst led by Sean Tucker’s breakout day resulted in a 62-24 win over Albany. Here is what we learned as Syracuse head coach Dino Babers improved to 5-0 all time against FCS schools:
#1: Sean Tucker proves to be Syracuse’s best offensive option this season
If it was not obvious in the first two games, Saturday’s matchup against UAlbany established the leader of this Orange offense.
After breaking multiple school freshman rushing records last year, sophomore running back Sean Tucker ran for 5 touchdowns, 132 rushing yards, and added 121 receiving yards.
“There is such a balance in football and it is a chest game,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “There are things that can be taken away from him, but when you open it up for passes it really helps him a lot.”
Tucker was quick to deflect the praise.
“It starts with my O-Line,” Tucker said. “They got blocks for me all game and I can focus on getting through the field.”
#2: Syracuse continues to struggle with penalties
Despite the blowout, Syracuse still showed a lack of discipline with penalties.
The Orange was flagged 16 times for 164 yards a week after they were flagged 8 times for 55 yards in a loss to Rutgers. Several of the penalties wiped out large chunk plays for the Orange.
Syracuse’s special teams were called for a penalty in the first quarter on a Trebor Pena punt return. Later in the second quarter, Pena returned a punt to the one-yard line that was erased by an illegal block in the back.
Pena was at the center of another big play that was eliminated by a penalty, getting called for a hold on a 50-yard run from Tucker. The same happened with a holding penalty that negated a 69-yard touchdown screen pass to Anthony Queeley.
During the postgame press conference, Babers wrote down the individual penalty numbers given to him by the media.
“We have to be better,” he said.
#3: Babers will still not commit to a #1 QB
Both Tommy DeVito and Garrett Shrader each had an opportunity to play extended minutes against Albany, but neither did enough to distinguish themselves as the full-time starter.
DeVito was solid, completing 6 of 9 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown on a beautiful deep ball to Damien Alford to a 73-yard touchdown. His lone interception came when he threw a pick-6 that bounced off Pena’s hands.
Shrader finished 11 for 15 for 190 yards and had a throwing touchdown, two rushing touchdowns plus an interception. Syracuse’s offense was noticeably different with Shrader in the game, relying on more short routes and bubble screens.
Shrader also showed he is the more mobile of the two quarterbacks, not shying away from contact and even breaking several tackles.
“It is fair enough to go home and look at the tape,” Babers said when asked about the quarterback situation.
When he does, he’ll see an offense that relied much more on the run than pass, as Syracuse dialed up 42 run plays as opposed to just 24 passes.