Syracuse was expected to be a bottom-dweller of the ACC this season, but they managed to knock of Virginia Tech last week and have played FSU, Wake, and Clemson all within 3 points before eventually losing. The Orange aren’t a terrific team, but they’re a bunch of fighter not to be underestimated. Here’s what their offense has looked like so far.
Garrett Shrader is the starting QB for the Orange since their week 4 match-up with Liberty, when he took the offense to a higher level than it was under previous QB Tommy DeVito (or Tommy Defeato, if you like cruel nicknames). Shrader hasn’t been terrific, but the previous QB set a pretty low bar. He’s thrown for 180+ yards on average in each of his 4 ACC contests, The biggest upgrade has been the ability for Shrader to run. He ran for 137, 178, and 174 yards against FSU, Wake, and Virginia Tech respectively and has racked up 12 rushing TDs already. Given how badly BC struggled to contain Louisville’s mobile QB Malik Cunningham last week, Shrader could be in for a big day on the ground against the Eagles.
While Shrader is already the team’s 2nd leading rusher after only starting the past 5 games, RB Sean Tucker is Syracuse’s clear lead back. Tucker already has over 1,000 yards on the year and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s had over 100 yards rushing in 7 of 8 games so far this season and has scored at least 1 rushing TD in 6 of those contests. Don’t think he’s enough of a threat yet? Tucker is also Syracuse’s 2nd leading receiver, catching 16 balls for 238 yards so far this year. It could be a miserable day on the ground for Boston College if Shrader and Tucker get hot.
This is where the Orange are a bit lacking. They’ve only broken 200 yards receiving in one game so far (last week vs Virginia Tech) and they haven’t had a 100-yard performance by any receiver since Sean Tucker did it in week 3 against FCS squad Albany. The Orange have a bunch of somewhat capable guys who can catch the ball, and the passing has increased every week since Shrader took over starting QB duties, but it is just not the strength of this team. Expect BC to dare Syracuse to throw it into their strong defensive backfield.