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Syracuse football: more thoughts on lopsided win over Wagner

I hesitate to call that performance a “game”

Wagner v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange are a convincing 5-0 after putting on an absolute clinic against Wagner. I’ve seen some lopsided games before, but NEVER one that actually got shortened because everyone knew it had already been over for some time.

I’m going to be that guy and still nitpick a bit. But first, the positives:

Both sides of the ball made the Seahawks look silly. That’s to be expected when causing a team to lose their 24th-straight contest. But in a year where there have been some hilarious upsets, along with the offense sputtering a bit the last two weeks, it was refreshing to see the Orange not hold back and go nuts in front of a ton of alumni.

SU scored more points (59) than allowed Wagner offensive yards (50). They came close to covering a 55-point spread before halftime! It was truly one fever dream of a game overall.

Garrett Shrader hitting all 17 of his passes says a lot. As the QB commented postgame, it’s not just about his accuracy: his receivers not dropping a ball all night, along with the linemen blocking for long enough, are attention-worthy too. Sean Tucker looked like the Heisman hopeful of old, and I really hope it means he’s out of his recent funk. It was good to see Devaughn Cooper and Umari Hatcher on the scoresheet as well, with the later grabbing his first career catch and touchdown; as much as I’m appreciating Oronde Gadsden’s emergence, he needs some wingmen.

Even with that, I have one major qualm about all this.

Why the eff was the starting offense trotted back out in the second half?

I personally think they should’ve been done by sometime in the 2nd quarter. But keeping them out there in a game that was practically over before it started, while you’ve got a lot of youth on the sidelines with relatively-unknown talent levels, is outright absurd. This was your one and only opportunity to get a few drops from that well, and what did Dino Babers do?

He almost got Sean Tucker injured. Again.

Wagner v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The man has ended up on the ground three times in five games. This should’ve been a relative day off for him, a luxury he didn’t have last season. Now, with a much more dynamic offense and solid backup running backs, there’s no need to run Tucker into the ground just for the sake of it. He may not be “injured” but he’s sure as hell banged up worse than he should be.

What’s worse is that Dino doubled down, saying it was “extremely logical” to send out the starters for one series after halftime.

OK, back up. You agreed to shorten the game by ten minutes, something you said, in the same conference, was done to avoid unnecessary injuries... but you still leave your star players in anyway? Tell me that’s not a huge contradiction.

Shrader and Tucker both said that OC Robert Anae came to them at halftime about potentially breaking a record (Tucker was close to passing Joe Morris’s 252 rushing yards, the program’s most in a single game). Still, it seems out of character for a guy like Sean to really be that interested in records when he’s never given much reaction to passing other SU legends.

The other big negative, as Christian mentioned, is the penalty issues. Yep, they still exist. The Orange were flagged eight times for 75 total yards. It didn’t mean anything yesterday, but against the ranked teams SU will face in their next two games? That could be disastrous.

Players won’t be available to the press this week so our reporting schedule will look a bit different. We’ll be back to business as normal once NC State week rolls around.