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Sean Tucker steals the headlines in blowout win vs Albany

Someone wants a 44 jersey

NCAA Football: Albany at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a theory I came up with on Troy Nunes is an Absolute Livestream last week.

If you give the ball to your playmakers, good things can create naturally.

Sean Tucker got the ball against Albany and made sure that the offensive struggles of a week ago were at least somewhat forgotten. The explosive running back led the way for the Syracuse Orange with five total touchdowns as ‘Cuse enjoyed a comfortable 62-24 win over the Great Danes.

“I saw a lot of my offensive line blocking,” said Tucker. “They were blocking hard all game and opened up holes for me to get to the second level.”

Tucker had 132 yards on the ground on 13 carries with four touchdowns. He added 121 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. The 253 total yards and five touchdowns are a career high for Tucker. In fact, the five touchdowns that Tucker scored were more than he had in total during the 2020 season.

There’s something to be said about Tucker’s seemingly natural ability to find gaps in the defense and hit them hard. He had multiple runs over 20 yards to continue Syracuse’s non-stop run focus that was so prevalent for the Orange during week one at Ohio.

“It was good to see him finish some runs,” said Syracuse head coach Dino Babers. “He was also extremely explosive in the throw game, to be able to get those balls to the middle of the field and turn those passes into home runs. It was awesome.”

We’ll dive deeper into this topic later this week, but the Syracuse coaching staff surely realizes that putting the ball into your best player’s hands is in the best interest of the team. Tucker has cemented himself as the best offensive player on the team and, stamina issues aside, he needs to be given the ball when Syracuse needs to score.

Not much needs to be said about the Syracuse defense. The unit still looked strong, holding Albany to a miniscule seven rushing yards. It’s impressive the turnaround that the rush defense has made after an abysmal 2020 season. You could easily argue that Syracuse hasn’t faced a strong rushing team yet, but the performance against the run is promising through the first three games of the season.

NCAA Football: Albany at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Someone who needs more love is Cody Roscoe. While he isn’t starting games, he still rotates regularly at defensive end and his performance over the past two games has been mightily impressive. With Kingsley Johnathan still working his way back to full game-day fitness, Roscoe needs to be the strong presence on the line opposite Josh Black. Roscoe had three sacks on the day.

But of course, one of the bigger storylines throughout the day was the ongoing battle between Tommy DeVito and Garrett Shrader for the starting quarterback job. DeVito went 6-9 for 147 yards, one interception, and a touchdown to Damien Alford. Shrader went 11-15 for 190 yards, one interception, and a touchdown on a screen to Tucker.

While the numbers on Shrader look better on paper, DeVito looked like the more comfortable passer and the more comfortable quarterback. Shrader had trouble completing long passes and seemed to take longer than DeVito to make decisions. Shrader’s scrambling was maybe slightly better on broken plays, but DeVito continues to run the RPO well.

“I think we’ve got two good ones,” said Babers. “We’ll go back and check the tape and make some decisions.

So has this game help to decide who should be starting at quarterback? I think so. It’s clear that DeVito is more comfortable than Shrader right now. Shrader’s indecisiveness can’t carry this team in ACC play.

The big test will be to see if Syracuse can transfer the offensive policies and ideas that it executed well against Albany to the following weeks.