Get the latest Syracuse news delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe to our sports newsletter here.
After going nearly three quarters without a touchdown, Syracuse scored 29 points in the game’s final 18 minutes to come back against Purdue. This came as a result of two different Orange offensive outlooks. Its first half run heavy offense only produced a field goal.
Eventually, SU opted to spread the ball out more in the third quarter, which translated into the necessary scores to keep its undefeated run alive.
Here’s how Syracuse’s offense changed over the course of Saturday’s win:
Syracuse goes three-and-out on its first drive, advancing just four yards on a Sean Tucker rush. This was the second incompletion on the drive. Shrader lined up in the deep pocket at his own 26-yard line, signaling Tucker to motion to the right side of the field before the snap.
Shrader didn’t look through his reads, staring down Tucker the whole play. He dished out a seven-yard pass to Tucker, but his heave went over the outstretched arms of the running back against man coverage. And after the ensuing punt, it allowed Purdue to easily drive deep into SU’s end.
Passing game falls apart early
With Syracuse now at Purdue’s 32-yard line, Shrader looked to complete just his second pass of the game on his sixth attempt. On 3rd-and-6, the Orange sent their receivers downfield to make room for screens on both sides. With Tucker and Courtney Jackson open, Shrader opted for Jackson, drilling the ball high to his receiver. Jackson bobbled the pass, but Andre Szmyt hit a 50-yard field goal on the following play.
First sign of hope
After starting this late first quarter drive at Syracuse’s 25-yard line, Shrader found DeVaughn Cooper for an 11-yard pass. He trusted his feet again, confusing the defense with Tucker motioning to the left side. Shrader maneuvered through a perfect gap created by his offensive line, running for 15 yards before being clipped by Reese Taylor at Purdue’s 49-yard line.
Shrader-Tucker connection moves SU up the field
Once again, Shrader faked the ball to Tucker while all of Syracuse’s receivers went deep. With no open options, Shrader sprinted to the left sideline and gained nine yards for a first down. Shrader and Tucker eventually combined for 26 rushing yards on four consecutive plays, getting to Purdue’s 24-yard line. But an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-5 forces SU to go for a 41-yard field goal — Szmyt’s first miss of the year.
Switching it up in the red zone
Syracuse incorporated a more balanced offense on this late third quarter drive. The Orange were within five yards of the end zone on 3rd-and-2 and instead of handing the ball off to Tucker, they passed to remain perfect in the red zone on the season.
On the snap, Shrader shuffled 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, but slowly inched forward after seeing Oronde Gadsden II open at the front right corner of the end zone. As he reached the nine-yard line, Shrader was nearly sacked and got pushed back another two yards. He eventually forced the ball to Gadsden, but his errant throw got picked off.
But a holding call saved SU, as it was handed a 1st-and-goal on the 2-yard line.
Purdue likely thought the Orange would run the ball this time. Initially, that was the case as the first two handoffs to Tucker failed. On 3rd-and-goal at the three-yard line, Shrader made another pass into coverage to the left edge of the end zone, but a 6-foot-4 Jones leaped over Brown to make the grab and keep one foot in the end zone for Syracuse’s first touchdown of the game.
The last drive
Unlike the beginning of the game, Shrader opted to pass on each of his first three downs, which were all incomplete. Still, Syracuse caught a break on 3rd-and-10 after a holding call on Purdue.
With the help of Purdue penalties and a 27-yard kickoff return by Jackson, Syracuse set up at midfield with 36 seconds remaining. The clip began with Shrader’s passing attempt on the next 3rd-and-10, as SU’s first two downs were incomplete passes once again. He was pressured immediately and scrambled out to his right where he saw Jones in one-on-one coverage, throwing the ball out of bounds near the sideline. A flag was called, moving Syracuse up to the 40-yard line.
Once again, Syracuse faces a 3rd-and-10 following two incompletions. Shrader makes his sixth consecutive pass attempt, looking deep for an isolated Jones, hoping Jones either made the catch or that a penalty was called. The latter happened, this time for pass interference.
Twelve seconds remained. On the first play of the next set of downs, Shrader looked to his left and saw Gadsden a step ahead of his defense. He took a big hit as the ball left his arm and spiraled to the front left corner of the end zone. Gadsden, running a post-corner to the left side, beat Bryce Hampton to the perfectly timed pass from Shrader to help pull Syracuse ahead 32-29 with seven seconds remaining.
Published on September 19, 2022 at 11:50 pm
Contact Alex: [email protected]