It may have taken forever, but eventually the Syracuse Orange overwhelmed Western Michigan to take another blowout win 48-7. The Orange didn’t let an opening drive touchdown from the Broncos rattle them as Syracuse rattled off 48 unanswered points to send the Central New York crowd home happy.
And although the 2-0 start is what Syracuse fans expected at the bare minimum, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows around the program right now. Here’s our three takeaways from the game:
86 YARDS TO THE HOUSE— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) September 9, 2023
Garrett Shrader to Donovan Brown for the wideout's first career TD
To the skies
Perhaps the most interesting development from this game was Syracuse’s reliance on the passing game. LeQuint Allen was used almost exclusively on short yardage and goal line situations. The rest of the offense was put on the shoulders of Garrett Shrader. He did fine after warming up, finishing with 286 yards on 19-30 pass attempts with a touchdown. Shrader also only rushed three times for 31 yards and a touchdown. Much like last week, we saw Shrader use his eyes and arm more out of the pocket instead of scrambling downfield immediately. While the Orange should probably incorporate the run more, it was a good sign that Shrader can use his arm to carry the offensive burden.
Hold the line
Many fans were probably very concerned after Western Michigan running back Jalen Buckley took the second play of the game to the house for a 75 yard rushing touchdown. After than, Western Michigan only had 107 yards of total offense on 35 plays the rest of the first half. The majority of those yards came on a two-minute drill drive at the end of the half that resulted in a Jason Simmons pick-six. If you remove Buckley’s touchdown, the Broncos had -3 yards of rushing in the first half. Tony White’s defenses were known to make great adjustments throughout the game. It seems that Rocky Long make a swift adjustment to tighten the trenches and suffocate the opposition after the first drive.
Gadsden is on crutches... gotta hope this isn't worst case yet. pic.twitter.com/NCae93F0vO— Mike Ostrowski (@MOstrowski_) September 9, 2023
Of course, the big storyline of this game are the injuries that Syracuse suffered. The second Orange offensive play from scrimmage saw Oronde Gadsden limp off the field. He went to the locker and returned on crutches with a boot on his right foot. Starting right offensive tackle David Wohlabaugh Jr. also went down towards the end of the second quarter after a Western Michigan defensive lineman fell down hard on his lower body. He had to be helped off the field.
Both injuries are critical for Syracuse. You don’t just lose a preseason All-American and expect the offense to still fire at the same efficiency. Critical adjustments are going to be needed in the passing game to offset Gadsden’s loss if he is out for a long time. Similarly, the Orange offensive line already is banged up with injuries to Kalan Ellis and Joe More. Losing any offensive lineman for any reason is going to stretch Syracuse’s depth chart greatly. The worse news? Syracuse now has to most likely test that depth against its first Power Five opponent of the season next week.