Quick Hits: Key plays by Shrader help Syracuse shock Hokies

Oct 15, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers (center) looks on against the Clemson Tigers during the second half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Behind Garrett Shrader’s five touchdowns, Syracuse rallied for their first road ACC win in two seasons, downing Virginia Tech, 41-36. Here are some quick hits from the game.

  • Sean Tucker had 112 yards on the ground and is now up to 1,060 the season, which puts him just outside the top ten in a single season in SU history with four games remaining. Tucker also has ten touchdowns on the season, which trails Garrett Shrader, who has a dozen scores, putting the latter in a tie for eighth on the single-season list.
  • For the second consecutive outing, the Orange defense failed to force a turnover. Stuck on just six turnovers this season, this inability to make the potential game-changing play continues to put the unit under unnecessary stress. It also does not set up the offense with a short field. The only Syracuse drive to start beyond their own 34 was the one set up by Trebor Pena’s long kickoff return.

  • To offset this, SU has done a good job protecting the ball on the season, committing just eight turnovers on the season. The Virginia Tech game was their third game without giving the ball away on the season and they have turned it over just three times in their last five contests.
  • While Shrader has not been getting significantly better results on accuracy (he has completed 50.4 percent of his passes in his last four games), being able to hit on a couple longer passes helped open things up for the offense. Shrader’s 6.94 yards per pass attempts was his best effort against an FBS team this season and his 236 passing yards are a season high. Connecting on passes of 38 yards to Sharod Johnson and 24 yards to Courtney Jackson in the second quarter likely opened things back up for the run game.
  • There is no way to hide that Andre Szmyt is in a slump (or worse). He has made only three of his last seven field goal attempts and none longer than 38 yards. With Syracuse’s penchant for playing close games (today’s five-point win was the team’s biggest margin in either direction in their last five games), Szmyt’s accuracy could very easily swing a game in either direction.

» Related: The case for Sean Tucker and the Heisman Trophy

  • The Orange return home to face longtime rival Boston College. The Eagles (4-3, 0-3 ACC) have dropped their last three games, most recently a 21-7 loss at Louisville. In each of those losses, Boston College has failed to score over 14 points.
  • While Pat Garwo III leads BC with over 600 yards rushing on the season, they have struggled without starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Dennis Grosel has thrown seven interceptions on the season, including at least one in each of the last five Eagles games.
  • The Orange and Boston College will kick off at 3:30pm Eastern with the game being televised on regional sports networks.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 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. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.