Don’t you love it when things go as planned?
That’s exactly what happened last night in East Hartford. The Syracuse Orange put up 17 straight points to start the game and didn’t lay off the gas, dominating UConn 48-14 and moving to 2-0. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Steve’s Game Recap and Christian’s Three Takeaways.
With a favorable matchup like this, there is always the threat of “playing down” to competition. Just look at rest of yesterday’s games to see how often it happens. I am happy say that this was not one of those games. Not. Even. Close.
“We sat in the hotel all day and watched teams that were favored by 20 and 21 points get into... close games,” Head Coach Dino Babers said. “I didn’t want to get trapped, and the kids listened.”
Garrett Shrader looked excellent again, slinging the the ball for almost 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also added 2 more scores on the ground and showed that whatever Dr. Bob Anae prescribed this offense is working wonders.
“Give credit to Coach Anae and Coach Beck,” Shrader said. “They did a good job of game planning for us, and we went out and connected.”
“Shrader does a nice job of picking and choosing his targets,” Babers said. “He’s been extremely... (*knocks on wood, literally*) …accurate this year.”
Of those passing touchdowns, the first was this strike to Damien Alford that got Syracuse on the board. Even the best QBs would struggle to throw a more precise pass than this one.
Perfect ball— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) September 10, 2022
Garrett Shrader to Damien Alford for the 47-yard score pic.twitter.com/6uj4IIo0C1
He also launched this ball to FAU transfer D’Marcus Adams for another long TD. We didn’t really see much of the deep ball last week against Louisville, so it was refreshing for Shrader to show off the arm again here.
Shrader's 3rd TD pass of the night— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) September 11, 2022
D'Marcus Adams becomes his 9th different receiver pic.twitter.com/vSoutg1xt5
As the tweet above says, Garrett connected with nine different receivers on the night. Though it’s early in the season, this outing might point out how SU doesn’t necessarily need a defined No. 1 receiver - and in a system like this, it might actually be better not to have one.
Meanwhile, Sean Tucker was his usual self on the ground with over 100 yards rushing, along with one touchdown. It seemed like a quiet game for Tucker, but that’s more because he didn’t really have a highlight reel play - his longest rush was 13 yards. “3 yards and a cloud of dust” worked just fine while Shrader was handling the 3rd down conversions.
The defense didn’t have any eye-popping moments but did fine nonetheless. ‘Cuse did secure a pair of turnovers. First was Marlowe Wax’s strip sack and fumble recovery, which at first was called a live ball that he took into the endzone. The play was called back and Wax was ruled down.
“It was a good blitz,” Wax said. “I saw an opening and I went for it, and made the play.”
“I wish it would’ve been a touchdown, but it’s all good. We got a ‘W’.”
The second possession change came when the Orange were supposed to be giving the ball up. Instead, UConn’s return man muffed the punt, and Mikel Jones managed to reel it in. Like Wax, the review marked him down at the spot of the recovery.
A huge difference is that SU only had three penalties for 15 yards compared to 18 for 107 last time out.
“I look at the penalties from last week compared to the penalties from this week, and that tells me that they were focused,” Babers said.
Some SU backups saw game time, mainly in the 4th quarter. Dan Villari had his first catch as a TE, a 22-yard pass from Carlos Del Rio-Wilson.
- Garrett Shrader - 20/23, career-high 287 passing yards, 3 TDs; 24 rushing yards, 2 TDs
- Sean Tucker - 112 rushing yards, 1 TD
- Marlowe Wax - 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and fumble recovery