Saturday night, Syracuse reached a peak it hasn’t been able to summit in 35 years: Being 5-0 to start the season–the first time this has happened since 1987.
The Orange blew out the Wagner Seahawks, 59-0, in the Dome. Here are 5 takeaways from the game:
Shrader’s perfect day
Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader continued his breakout season, dazzling with a 17-17 passing day for 238 yards against Wagner. He’s now thrown for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season at a 70.9 percent completion rate, up from 52.6 last year. Shrader truly controlled the offense, taking the opportunities he was given and threw two expertly placed touchdown passes. But as head coach Dino Babers pointed out, a 17-17 passing night also means that the receivers were 17-17, and Shrader’s ability to pick his plays at will means the offensive line gave him plenty of time. In short: Everything came together for Syracuse’s passing game against Wagner.
Tucker back on track
Sean Tucker rushed for 232 yards against Wagner, scoring three touchdowns, and moved up to the seventh all-time rusher in Syracuse football. Late in the game, however, in what Babers explained was intended to be his last series anyway, he took a hit and was down for several minutes as medical staff tended to him. Although he was able to walk off the field on his own, there were legitimate questions as to why the starter was even still on the field when the score was so lopsided.
Defense pitches shutout
Less celebrated than the offense, but arguably more impressive, the Syracuse defense dominated all evening. Redshirt freshman linebacker Leon Lowry finished with seven tackles, including four solo. The Syracuse defense clamped down on Wagner’s offense, sacking the QB Ryan Kraft three times and taking 43 yards back in TFLs. Cornerback Duce Chestnut also snagged an interception for an Orange touchdown late in the second quarter.
Second stringers get action
When a team has the opportunity to put its second-string players and walk-ons in the game, everyone wins. Usually, the team is in the middle of a rout, the backups get to show their talent, the starters are excited to watch their friends have this moment, the coaches get a rare chance to assess their bench in live action, and the fans absolutely love it. One reserve who stood out was freshman running back LeQuint Allen, who rushed for 91 yards in the opening of the third quarter, the first run of 90+ yards since 1949 (George Davis against Fordham). Babers said in the post-game press conference, we may not see much of these players in the rest of the season, so it was good for everyone to see them get some playing time.
» Related: Sean Tucker reanimates Syracuse football’s offense
The Mercy Rule
At the start of the second half, the game clock reset to 10:00 instead of 15:00. The referee had enacted the NCAA’s “mercy rule,” which allows coaches to decide, at any point in the game, to shorten the length of the remaining period or periods as long as it is mutually agreed upon by both teams’ coaching staff and the referee. The official NCAA guideline, as of 2022, does not specify a length for the remaining periods, but typically they will be shortened to either 10 or 12 minute quarters. Although it’s relatively uncommon to see the rule implemented in Division 1 football, it’s clear that Babers is aware of the fine line he walks with his players’ health. Babers refused to answer a question about which team asked for the shortened periods, instead stating that it was a “mutual agreement,” dismissing the specific information as “unimportant.”
Quote of the day
“We’re ready. I mean, I could play tomorrow.” – QB Shrader on the bye week.
— SUJuice.com (@TheJuiceOnline) October 2, 2022
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