The first two Syracuse Orange home games were as lopsided as could be, with SU outscoring opponents a combined 113-7. That was certainly not the case this afternoon... at least for the first 30 minutes.
Army dominated time of possession in the first half (spending over 23 minutes with the ball), but the Orange offense flipped the script in the second half, scoring 26 unanswered points to win 29-16 and stay undefeated through the first third of the season.
SU won the opening toss and elected to defer, and after the first Army drive, it seemed like it may have been a mistake. The Black Knights ran a slow, methodical march down the field, ultimately punching it in from inside the 1 on a run by a tank of a running back, 255 lb. senior Jakobi Buchanan.
Army Quarterback Bryson Daily completed his first pair of passes, but 60 of the 75 yards on that drive were gained on the ground.
Meanwhile, Garrett Shrader and the offense went 3-and-out, as the veteran Orange QB nearly threw what would’ve been a pick-six on his first pass attempt. Fortunately, it was dropped by Army corner Cameron Jones.
After a stop by the
3-3-5 4-2-5 Rocky Long ran to counter the run-heavy set, SU at least put some points on the board with a 46-yard field goal by Brady Denaburg.
Another long Army drive resulted in a field goal of their own, making the score 10-3 at halftime. They were 5/10 on 3rd downs and a perfect 3/3 on 4ths in the first half.
Whatever was said in the locker room at halftime paid off, as after stalling out on their first second-half drive, Shrader connected with Damien Alford for a pair of big catches to begin moving the chains. Then LeQuint Allen took off with this 13-yard rushing touchdown, capping off a lightning-quick 66-yard drive.
After the Mob forced Army to punt a second straight time, Shrader went back to the air, connecting with Umari Hatcher on a 13-yard slant to take the lead.
Shrader to Hatcher for the go-ahead score!— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) September 23, 2023
Denaburg missed the PAT, so the score stood at 16-10.
The Orange defense came alive at this point, forcing a three-and-out and giving the offense another great shot with the ball. It only resulted in three more points, but by this point, the tide had turned. SU had 222 offensive yards in the 3rd quarter; Army had four.
Shrader would add a 21-yard rushing touchdown later on. He finished the day 21/26 with 245 yards, 1 TD, and 1 pick, along with 50 more yards and another TD on the ground.
It was a great day for Alford, who had nine grabs for 135 yards - both career-highs. LeQuint Allen also finished with over 100 yards on the afternoon.
Justin Barron and Jaeden Gould both had picks late in the game, while the ‘Cuse defense combined for four sacks.
There was a scary moment in the 3rd quarter as Army DL Andre Miller went down and needed to be carted off. Both benches came out to the field to see him before he was taken to Upstate for treatment. We are all hoping for the best.
Today marked the first time in program history that Syracuse swept their out-of-conference schedule. They went unbeaten in 1993, tying a game at Texas.
SU stays home next weekend to host their first ACC opponent of the season: Clemson. The Tigers dropped a close game to #4 FSU in Overtime today. It’s scheduled to be another noon kickoff.