Syracuse routed UConn on the road on Saturday, 48-14. Here are some quick hits from the game.
- Garrett Shrader struggled to finish above 50 percent passing in 2021. What a difference a season makes. After starting 18 for 25 against Louisville, Shrader bested that performance against UConn, completing 20-23 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. He’s in full and complete command of the offense and looks like an All-ACC quarterback after two games.
- Shrader spread the wealth around, finding 10 different receivers, and three different receivers for touchdowns (Damien Alford, Courtney Jackson, D’Marcus Adams). Michigan transfer Dan Villari also made his first appearance as a flex receiver, and caught his first pass for 22 yards.
- Give credit where credit is due with Shrader’s development. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck guided Virginia to program records in total offense number and passing yardage average. It’s no coincidence that SU’s offense is averaging 39.5 points per game so far. Meanwhile, their old team, Virginia, scored just 3 points in a loss to Illinois earlier in the day.
- Sean Tucker’s off-day would be a great day for most backs. Tucker “only” rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown, while leading SU in receptions (4) and 17 receiving yards. Syracuse should still be pleased with his performance, and will likely need to lean more on him in next week’s matchup. Tucker moved past Kyle McIntosh for 13th on the all-time Orange rushing list, and next is SU legend Ernie Davis.
- UConn couldn’t do much against SU’s defense for much of the night, but in its two scoring drives, it did expose some issues. Syracuse’s defensive line looked vulnerable against Nate Carter and Devontae Houston in a second quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown after four straight rushes. SU’s secondary also made its first gaffe of the season, as Justin Barron missed a tackle that resulted in an Aaron Turner 56-yard touchdown off a screen.
- It appears James Williams may be off the depth chart. Williams lost the punter role to freshman Max von Marburg, and after he failed to produce touchbacks on his first four kickoffs as the KOS, was replaced by walk-on Brady Benaburg, who immediately produced four touchbacks on his five kicks. It was also a good sign that von Marburg did not need to punt until well into the second half.
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- Syracuse is off to its first 2-0 start since 2018. Purdue routed Indiana State 56-0 earlier in the day, and played Penn State closely in a Week 1 loss. It could be Syracuse’s most challenging matchup until mid-October.
- Looking further ahead down the schedule, does it really look as daunting as it once did? Notre Dame is 0-3 after a shocking loss to Marshall. Pitt lost quarterback Kedon Slovis and game to Tennessee in overtime. NC State fell five spots in the top 25 (13 to 18) after just edging East Carolina in Week 1 (though they did rout Charleston So. 55-3 in Week 2).
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