Same old mistakes hinder Syracuse football’s rally

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Oct 9, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Anthony Queeley (14) runs with the ball after a catch as Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive back Ja'Sir Taylor (6) defends during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse dropped their second straight game, losing 40-37 in overtime against Wake Forest. Here are some quick hits from the game:

  • SU rolled up 33 first downs in the game, tying for sixth in school history for a single game. One of the previous games where the Orange amassed 33 first downs was the 2017 contest against Wake Forest.
  • In the first half, Garrett Shrader looked like a completely different quarterback than the one wearing his jersey in the Albany game three weeks ago. Shrader was solidly on target with his arm and an absolute menace on the ground, rolling up 111 yards and a score. Unfortunately, the signal-caller was a little more scattershot in the second session, misfiring on 5-of-6 passes during one stretch of the fourth quarter.
  • Jason Simmons was picked on early as Wake Forest took several early shots in the deep middle portion of the field. Simmons was able to exact a measure of revenge, snatching an interception near the goal line in the second quarter off a pass deflected by teammate Eric Coley and swatting down a two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter.

  • Clock management issues seem like something the Orange coaching staff will never be able to overcome. Starting at their own 24 with 43 seconds left in the first half, SU burned one of two time outs before the first play of the drive. Not having your first play set in that situation when the opponent is showing a “rush three, drop eight” look is unacceptable. The other timeout followed three plays later after a short completion and the Orange never got past their own 45.
  • There were a couple other curious calls from the SU sideline, as well. On the 4th-and-2 where Szmyt ended up missing the field goal, the Orange were at the Wake 27, holding a 27-26 lead midway through the fourth. While a made field goal would have forced the Demon Deacons to go for a touchdown, I would have preferred Babers to show confidence in his offensive unit and have them go for it. The run-pass option game worked well for the majority of the game and could have been employed to convert on that play.
  • Also, after scoring the late fourth quarter time out, the Orange originally kept the offense on the field to attempt a two-point conversion. The team ended up getting lined up with three seconds on the play clock and taking a delay of game penalty, forcing them to settle for the extra point and overtime.
  • The defense played well at times, forcing five punts, including a trio of three-and-outs on a dozen Wake Forest drives that did not end halves, including three punts in a span of four second half drives. They were, however, susceptible to the deep ball, giving up four passes of at least 25 yards, including scores of 46 and 69 yards.
  • With the 38-yard field goal in overtime, Andre Szmyt became all-time leader in points in Syracuse football history with 335.

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  • The Orange will host their second consecutive game on Friday night when Clemson visits. The Tigers (3-2, 2-1) fell out of the AP rankings after a close loss to Boston College last week and are off this week.
  • Clemson’s offense has gone through uncharacteristic struggles this season, failing to score more than 21 points against any of their four FBS-level opponents. D.J. Uiagalelei is yet to throw for more than 207 yards in a game with just three touchdown passes on the season and Kobe Pace logged the first 100-yard game for the Tigers in their last game against B.C.
  • The Tigers and Orange will kick off at 7:00pm Eastern on Friday with ESPN handling television duties.

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About Jim Stechschulte 725 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.