Boy it wasn’t pretty, but somehow Syracuse accomplished it.
slow start for Syracuse orange It eventually turned out to be a hard win when Cuse knocked out Bordeaux boilers 32-29 at the JMA Wireless Dome last weekend. The orange made 3-0 and pre-season hopes turned from optimistic to likely.
But that doesn’t mean Syracuse played the cleanest game. Let’s get the report card out:
Garrett Shrader’s first two-and-a-half quarters showed a steep descent to average. Coups and breakups ruined some good chances for the buff to gain momentum. Whether it was due to a lack of receiving talent or a slow reading of progress, Shrader didn’t get rid of the ball quickly in the first half.
But two things prevent this degree from completely unraveling. First, Shrader did an excellent job throughout the game extending the driving with his legs. The intense focus from Purdue’s defense to perfectly stop Sean Tucker led to Shrader’s move. Second, Shrader’s final quarter and half was a huge improvement over the first part of the game. The orange was adjusted to Purdue’s man-to-man, allowing Shrader to get off the ball faster. He started making passes, including what might be the season pass on the corner road to Oronde Gadsden II for the match-winning result.
In the end, Shrader got the job done. But the start was not good.
Running backs: C.
I don’t know how much of this game you can put on Tucker. But you can’t get a great score with just 42 yards in 18 races.
However, again, there were two things, perhaps outside of Tucker’s control, that kept him from feeling good about his performance. First, as I mentioned above, Purdue did a great job of plotting Tucker’s game by forcing a lot of contact before or on the line of melee. Secondly, Tucker did not get any favors from his offensive line.
However, Tucker did not develop arenas after the first contact which makes him intimidating in traffic. The holes weren’t there to show track speed, but the fight for extra yards wasn’t there, whether it was Tucker’s foul or a feather in the cover of the Bordeaux defense line. It’s hard to remember that Tucker was playing a tougher game in an orange outfit.
Wide Receivers / Narrow Ends: C
Oronde Gadsden gets a. If he is not among this group, then this score is D.
I’m leaning towards slower Shrader releases in the first half due to the receivers not unlocking. Reportedly, it took NFL level adjustments from the coaching staff to get some breathing space in front of the man-to-man defense. Gadsden was the only guy who seemed to be open all the time, much credit for the movement he always had before the play.
The bright side is that Syracuse may have the first receiver you’ve been looking for since Trichton Jackson. The dark side is that there is not a lot of support behind this one number. Gadsden had six grips. All other receivers combined for five, except for Sean Tucker getting two. Syracuse needs more supporting actors.
Offensive line: D
We like to think Sean Tucker can do it himself. But every comeback needs to bolster his offensive line in order to succeed. The Orange offensive line did not do the job on Saturday. A little pressure on the Bordeaux defense line forced early contact in runs and pockets collapsing quickly in play passes. Steve would have more about the big guys, but that wasn’t pretty.
At least the flags for the first week are not there.
Defensive line: C-
Aiden O’Connell had all day 95% of his plays. And while Syracuse had the 5% lucky he didn’t (see Caleb Okechukwu pick-six), that’s not a healthy way to win matches. This defensive line does not require enough attention to oppose the offensive lines to ignore Mikel Jones and Marlowe Wax.
Again, not much need to say here. I hate to use Dino-ism here, but this has been a great case sometimes and not consistently good. While the former is relieved, I think Babers would have liked the latter to have his heart rate lowered throughout the match.
The linebackers are great at passing fast. No problem there, as a lot of the pressure of the second half came from your usual topics. But if Syracuse is going to continue to play area defense in coverage, the fullback must improve there. Payne Durham made his way through the middle of the field, sitting only in the soft spots in the area to earn free wins from eight to ten yards. The area doesn’t look like it’s leaving anytime soon, so Tony White has to get these guys in shape.
Defensive appearance: b
Same problem, area coverage was too weak. I’m not sure if it was a training decision or an individual decision, but the lack of defensive pressure on the line of scrimmage annoyed me to no end. However, O’Connell did not find much success after Charlie Jones and Durham. The secondary did a good job of eliminating other options and forcing O’Connell to make great throws for yards and scores.
This is one of those games where you have to get your hands on the receivers, but other than those flashes of light, it wasn’t the worst day.
Special teams: a-
A quick-shooting starting point on Andre Smit’s 41-yard field goal and close ball on a corner kick by Brian Oliver. We talked about it on Troy Nunes which is the Absolute Podcast, but it’s unfair for opponents to have multiple defensive players on special teams. Syracuse’s special teams and discipline were a big reason why Orange won this game.
Shout out to Bob Legachsky. Turns out, having a special teams coach makes a difference (a bonus if he doesn’t shout at the referees).
Now it’s your turn. How do you rank oranges after a strange win at Purdue? Sound out in the comments below.