Today marked the first game on the Syracuse campus between two Top 20 teams in the last 30 years. The Syracuse Orange managed to retain the NC State Wolfpack, with a final score of 24-9, to improve to 6-0 (3-0) on the year. The Oranges are now officially eligible for bowling for the first time since the 2018 season.
The opening drive, the Syracuse Orange set the tone and walked down the field to score. Garrett Shrader hit a few underhand passes, Sean Tucker broke a Sean Tucker-style 38-yard run and the Orange took a 7-0 lead on a Shrader fade route at Orange Gadsden to the corner of the area goals and the conversion of Andre Szmyt.
After a back-and-forth of threes and outs, including an observation from MJ Morris for Jack Chambers and good tackles in the open field of Orange, NC status converted a fourth-and-one via Jordan Houston’s run, followed by the aforementioned Houston catching a screen pass that set up the first and goal for the Wolfpack. From there, the Orange defense held and forced a Chris Dunn field goal to put NC State on the board, 7-3.
Spanning the quarters, the third Orange disc featured Orande Gadsden and more Orange Gadsden, really taking advantage of the size disparities on an island. At one point, he waved in the backfield for a Shrader guard. Tucker missed a swing pass that might have been better off to him sooner, but Szmyt performed as expected and the Orange took a 10-3 lead to open the second quarter.
The ensuing practice, the Orange forced a three and one out, but unfortunately had to see Garrett Williams assisted off the field and into the injury tent without being able to put pressure on his foot. Isaiah Johnson came in at the corner to replace Williams and the defense held with a pass breakup from Jason Simmons to force the punt. The Orange couldn’t capitalize on the second, third or fourth-and-a-yard, and had to punt.
MJ Morris took the helm of the Wolfpack on the next ride. He was able to complete a few passes, some erased by penalty and was sacked by Leon Lowery to set up a third and twenty which he knocked down Darrell Jones, for another three and out. The Orange continued to walk down the pitch, but the red zone conversion bug bit again, as Tanner Ingle picked Shrader on what looked like a free play with the defense jumping, but didn’t was not called, putting pressure on Orange again. defense before halftime. They held, forcing a punt from Trebor Pena (wearing a 92 since we have Marlowe Wax on the return of the punt). After a nice ball on a streak at Gadsden, Shrader targeted Courtney Jackson on the sideline and threw it under again, NC State’s Aydan White going down with the interception, Shrader’s second on the game, at the times inside or towards the red zone. Both teams started to run the clock and went into the half 10-3 with Orange in the lead.
NC State received the halftime out and chained a few first downs, with Orange and Kevon Darton in particular pressuring Jack Chambers, but the linebacker/secondary soft zone gave up a few passes to convert third downs. The ground game took them to the 20 and into the red zone, but a sloppy snap and false start forced the Wolfpack to settle for a field goal attempt. Dunn converted again, this time from 42 yards and cut the game to four, 10-6, midway through the third quarter.
The Orange responded with their own offense, showing that Sean Tucker in space is dangerous. Tucker’s use also opened up midfield for Gadsden to grab another huge ball. Shrader made solid calls, but also nearly threw another pick, sending his receiver flying on the sidelines. A broken play that Shrader ran for a touchdown was called back for a Gadsden catch, setting up a third-and-one. The QB scrimmage was stopped dead in its tracks, but Orange converted at fourth-and-one, then tossed it again into a wide-open Gadsden on a nice pre-snap motion play to make it 17-6, Orange in the lead.
Chambers sliced through the orange defense on the ground and in the air as well as the fourth-and-second conversion to set up another red zone attempt for the Wolfpack. After eating the clock in every drive this half, NC State, and the entire Syracuse linebacking corps injured on the same drive, Dunn made another field goal to make it 17-9 with 6 :58 to play.
Syracuse couldn’t get out of their own way, with a holding wide receiver and two false starts as they tried to close out the game. Shrader came in big with a 34-yard completion to Damien Alford on third-and-fifteen, which put the Orange in field-goal range with 2:35 left. The field goal was unnecessary as Sean Tucker took over outside the tackles for a 25-yard score, his first of the day, to make it 24-9 with 2:20 left in the game.
For the Orange of the day, a day with many eyes on them in the national media, Spencer Hall summed up Garrett Shrader very well:
Garrett Shrader is the most “something’s gonna happen this damn game” QB
— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) October 15, 2022
Shrader finished with 16 of 25 for 206 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions through the air and another 16 for 86 on the ground. All in all, a good day from him, with some questionable decision-making that luckily didn’t cost Orange too much that day.
As you can imagine, Orande Gadsden led the receiving corps with 137 yards on 8 receptions with 2 touchdowns. Alford also had that big 34-yard catch to keep the tiebreaker alive.
With Tucker at 98 for 14 yards (7.0 ypc) and a touchdown, he has to be happy at least with the team’s performance and he’s also the best decoy you could ask for on the field. They have to play it honestly.
Marlowe Wax led the Orange defense with ten tackles on the day, Derek McDonald returning with eight of his own. Jatius Geer added a sack and a half, Lowery also had a sack before leaving the game. Mikel Jones’ sack with 0:12 on the clock put the dagger in a great day for the Orange defense, giving up just 265 yards of total offense against the Wolfpack. Great defensive performance all around, even with injuries.
The Orange played a good game against a good team and are now heading to a bowl for the first time since 2018. While they were far from perfect, they were perfect enough to come away with the win. Let it flow and savor it.