The Syracuse Orange football team entered Saturday with three chances at bowl eligibility. They left with two more, though you can’t blame fans for being a little pessimistic now after the Orange were stomped by Louisville, 41-3.
Syracuse actually looked like they’d establish some momentum early on an eight-play drive to begin the game. But after the rushing attack pushed them toward midfield, they started throwing more and were forced to punt. This would be a theme for much of the game.
Louisville scored quickly on their first drive from scrimmage, and would make quick scoring drives the norm in the first half after Syracuse tacked on an Andre Szmyt field goal. The Cardinals had five touchdown drives over the first 30 minutes of the game, and none of them took more than four minutes. The second half started with a field goal on a drive that lasted three minutes and 56 seconds.
From there, Syracuse sustained a drive to the one-yard line with some assists from penalties. But they were stuffed after a fumbled snap on fourth down, and Louisville recovered. There wasn’t really much else to note afterward. Both teams went through the motions, while the Orange simply failed to ever get anything going on offense.
It was another rough game for Garrett Shrader throwing the football. He was 5-of-9 for 15 yards in the first half, and 10-of-18 for 46 yards passing on the game. Over the last two games, Shrader is just 15-for-32 for 111 yards through the air. He also ran for 43 yards in this one, though a bunch was in garbage time (also lost quite a bit on four sacks).
For his part, Sean Tucker had 19 carries for 95 yards, ending his school-record streak of 100-yard games at seven. He now has 1,362 yards on the season — 10 yards short of Joe Morris’s single-season record. Tucker didn’t really get the ball much late in this contest, either due to an effort to avoid injury or an emphasis on the passing game.
As one might have guessed based on Shrader’s struggles throwing, there isn’t much to report about the receiving corps. Devaughn Cooper led the way with four catches for 19 yards. Damien Alford had two catches for 17 yards, and Anthony Queeley had two grabs for nine. Tucker and Courtney Jackson each had a reception as well.
Defensively, it was clearly a rough showing from the jump as the Louisville run game shredded the Orange front. Once SU hunkered down to try and stop the rushing attack more, it opened up throws downfield and the Cardinals found plenty of success there, too. Marlowe Wax, Cody Roscoe, Stefon Thompson, Steve Linton, Caleb Okechukwu and Mikel Jones each had a TFL. Jones was also ejected from the game for targeting in the second quarter.
So Syracuse is 5-5 with games vs. top-25 squads NC State and Pittsburgh to close out the season. Odds certainly aren’t great to make a bowl but stranger things have happened. Takeaways still to come, along with my usual Sunday reaction piece this afternoon since it’s a pretty busy day tomorrow with both Orange basketball teams and field hockey in action.