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Final Score: Syracuse 48, UConn 14

Well that was fun.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Syracuse at UConn

The Syracuse Orange headed to Storrs, Connecticut and walked away with a 48-14 victory against the Connecticut Huskies. It was a full team effort from the opening whistle and the Orange walk away with a 2-0 start on the 2022 football season.

DeVaughn Cooper and Orande Gadsden were important targets for Garrett Shrader through the first drive for the Orange. Shrader finished off the drive on a less than a yard quarterback sneak that was set up by a threaded 14-yard touchdown that Courtney Jackson grabbed in traffic for Syracuse to open the scoring after marching down the field for a 7-0 lead.

After a three and out for the Huskies, and a short field after punt, Shrader threw underneath his receivers a few times on the drive, but they saw the use of Jackson and Trebor Pena on big-yardage pickups. Andre Szymt hit the chip shot to add to the Orange lead, 10-0.

The second three and out was punctuated by Justin Barron’s impressive takedown disrupting UConn freshman quarterback Zion Turner for the third down stop. The Orange offense then gave Sean Tucker a few touches for 15 yards, and sent it home with an impressive 47 yard seam route to Damien Alford in full stride to make it 17-0.

The Huskies offense finally got something going on their third drive, utilizing Nate Carter almost exclusively and ending in a Devontae Houston 28-yard score. Houston is the third down back and broke the long run for the first score of the second quarter, 17-7.

The Orange marched back down the field, Isaiah Jones had his name called for the first time for a 24-yard grab to get the Orange to the endzone. Outside of that, some dialed up pressure and questionable decision making from Shrader allowed Szmyt to convert again for his second field goal on the day.

To finish the half, the Orange took the ball of another Huskies three and out, and marched down the field taking some time off the clock to convert to Courtney Jackson for his first of the game. The third touchdown of the half brought the score to 27-7 as UConn worked off the last 19 seconds of the half on the ground.

After dodging a close non-targeting call on Alijah Clark on the opening drive of the second half, we got our first defensive score of 2022. Marlowe Wax came hard on an blind side blitz, sacked Turner, forced a fumble, scooped and thought he scored. Unfortunately the knee was down on the scoop and the Orange took over at the UConn 30 with a short field. That short field turned into Tucker getting his rushing touchdown on the day, taking it to 34-7 after a Szmyt conversion.

The Huskies returned to the end zone the next drive, answering the Orange score with a Aaron Turner screen out of the slot that gave them 14 on the day. During the drive, Nate Carter looked knocked up and came off for the touchdown play.

After getting Sean Tucker his 100 yards on the day, Shrader connected with Trebor Pena for a big gain while being roughed on the play. He then took a zone read keeper into the end zone for another on the ground, his second on the day to push the score to 41-14 post Szmyt conversion.

The fourth quarter started with the first three and out of the night for Syracuse, which ended up not being a three and out, as the punt was muffed, Mikel Jones effectively picked off the bobble and trotted into the endzone for a score that was ultimately called back since they can’t advance the recovery. The next play was a 39-yard touchdown to D’Marcus Adams on a great ball from Shrader to bring it to 48-14 after another Szmyt kick.

The full set of twos took over the next drive, including the full offensive line. Getting the backups almost a full quarter to play with gave some quality experience, including a Dan Villari sighting and his first catch at the “Gadsden Position.” The drive was shut down on a failed fourth down attempt but ate some clock. Subsequently they twos on the defense were still swarming and tackling well in the open field. Both backup corners, Isaiah Johnson and Jeremiah Wilson looked the part of continuing the #DBU brand.

Shrader finished the day with a personal best 287 yards and three touchdowns on a 20-23 (87% competion) effort. He added two on the ground with 24 yards to complement Sean Tucker’s 112 yards and a score. The impressive part was that he spread that out between all of his receiving corps, with five players over 40 yards receiving when he left the game, and three different players with the touchdowns (Jackson, Alford and Adams).

Coming into the game Nathan Carter was averaging 7.3 yards per carry. The Syracuse defense held him to 4.4 yards per carry on the day. Carter is a very solid player and it was good to see White scheme, as well as change his scheme in game to shut him down. Garret Williams and Alijah Clark led the team in tackles, with Garrett adding a sack in there. Mikel Jones finished with six tackles on the day as well.

On a special teams front, Szmyt finished with the two field goals mentioned, from 27 and 28 yards. Max Von Marburg had two punts for a 42.5 yard average. The kickoff coverage was much improved. The Orange were only allowing returns to around the 20 on forced return kicks and ended up repeatedly kicking touchbacks with Brady Denaburg taking over duties off the tee.

The Orange return home next week to take on the Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) at noon in the Dome. The only meeting between the Orange and the Boilermakers was in 2004, a 51-0 Purdue win.