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Syracuse football: Orange roll but we hold our breath

The offensive line is a major concern after two weeks

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange moved to 2-0 with a convincing 48-7 win over the Western Michigan Broncos. It didn’t start well for the Orange who gave up a long touchdown run on the 2nd play and watched Oronde Gadsden go out with an injury on their first possession.

The injury concerns were compounded when tackle David Wohlabaugh Jr. went out with a leg injury and according to Dino Babers, he’s going to be out a while. That’s a concern for the Orange as the offensive line didn’t look as dominant as you’d think it should against an overmatched squad.

We know hope that Gadsden was taken out as a precaution and that Kalan Ellis and/or Joe More can get back into the line-up (Garrett Shrader seems to believe they both will be back). The Orange need to get that line to clean up some of the protection issues as they head into some tougher games.

But Syracuse showed some resolve by rattling off 48 straight points as they cruised through a tedious afternoon inside the Dome. Garrett Shrader looked really strong as he went 19-30 for 286 yards and one TD pass. He added a rushing touchdown and he helped Syracuse out of some potential danger with his ability to escape the pocket. You can see the development in his game as when he leaves the pocket, he’s still got eyes up looking for receivers.

In Gadsden’s absence, Isaiah Jones stepped up with some big catches and Donovan Brown showed his elite speed on the 86 yard score. LeQuint Allen didn’t find a lot of running room, but he cashed in three short touchdown runs out of the Orange’s goal-line set, which featured defensive lineman Rashard Perry as a lead blocker.

Syracuse’s defense took that long run personally and honestly Rocky Long’s group has looked up to the task through two weeks. If the injury news isn’t great, the MOB might be called upon to do a little more. Can they keep scoring touchdowns every game? Probably not, but they’ve shown that they can fly to the football and continue to create havoc. It’s clear this group has faith in the system and their approach.

Winning on the road isn’t an easy thing, but hopefully the Orange can regroup as well as they did after the first possessions today. Most of us pegged this Purdue game as a pivotal one for the 2023 season. There’s a big difference between being coming home 3-0 and returning to Syracuse 2-1.

We’re not going to pile on people who didn’t go to the Dome, but we know that this town is waiting to see if the Orange will be worth investing their time and money in this fall. Last year showed that winning put butts in the seats, so Syracuse’s goal next week is one we often talk about in March- “Survive and Advance”. There’s no reason worrying about anything other than getting in and out of West Lafayette with a win.....and a healthier roster.