It was a wild, unpredictable, even borderline psychotic experience. And it was the game that gave the Syracuse Orange their third straight win to start the 2022 season.
Truthfully, this is a game that the Purdue Boilermakers should’ve won handily. They had everything going for them early on: a fluid passing game, a pass-rush that made Garrett Shrader revert back to 2021 form, and a stacked box that held Sean Tucker to just 42 yards on the ground.
But then came the 4th quarter, which finally delivered what we all thought this entire matchup would be.
The Orange had just taken the lead on a 4th and 1 pass from Shrader to Oronde Gadsden II that covered 46 yards and after Shrader’s conversion run, it was 18-15 Syracuse. On the next play, Jatius Geer pressured Aidan O’Connell and the Purdue quarterback turned it over to Caleb Okechukwu for a pick-six and the Orange were suddenly up two scores.
The good vibes were short-lived as O’Connell found Charlie Jones (11 catches for 188 yards on the day) for a 55-yard scoring strike to close the gap. Syracuse failed to move the ball on offense and Purdue drove for an opportunity to tie the game but missed a 41-yard attempt with 2:53 to play.
All Syracuse needed was a couple of first downs to ice the game but they went 3 and out and only used 23 seconds before punting back to the Boilermakers. O’Connell made them pay as he led Purdue down the field and hit Payne Durham for the 2nd time on the day to give the Boilermakers a 29-25 lead.
That’s when the chaos kicked up to 11. Durham was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, then a Purdue coach picked up one as well. The kickoff being pushed back allowed Courtney Jackson’s return to set up the Orange at midfield. Shrader threw six straight incomplete passes but Purdue committed defensive holding and pass interference on consecutive third-downs to set up Syracuse at the 25 yard line with 12 seconds remaining.
Shrader and Gadsden connect again and suddenly Syracuse was in front. Following more penalties on the extra-point, the Orange kicked off on Purdue’s side of the field and a last-ditch lateral attempt was stuffed before anything weirder could occur. O’Connell ended up 35-55 for 424 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the one turnover he gave up proved costly. Sean Tucker was held to 65 yards of total offense so Syracuse will need to try and get him back on track the next two weeks.
The Orange move to 3-0 and will face the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday night in the Dome. While the first three quarters were anything but pretty, the end result was a Syracuse win and frankly that’s what matters most.
- Oronde Gadsden - 6 receptions, 112 yards, 2 TDs
- Garrett Shrader - 13/29, 181 passing yards, 3TDs; 83 rushing yards
- Caleb Okechukwu - 2 tackles, 1 pick-six
- Mikel Jones- 10 tackles, 1 sack, 3 QB hurries