We’ve made it folks — last game of the season. The lads are back at home for one of our permanent opponents.
After starting out the season 6-0, the Orange have proceeded to lose five straight games. Now, three of those past five losses have been against ranked opponents, but hey, BC did it lest we forget. It all started after blowing a 21-10 lead late to Clemson. Very little has gone right since then.
Syracuse has dealt with a number of injuries the past few weeks, but the offense came back to life last week against Wake, albeit came up short 45-35.
In that game, despite three starters on the offensive line out, quarterback Garrett Schrader threw for a career high 324 yards, and the brilliant Sean Tucker eclipsed 3000 career yards. Tucker is nearing 1000 yards rushing to go with 250 receiving yards. As you may recall, he dominated the game last season. He makes quick cuts and gets going without any dancing. It’s his vision and home-run hitting ability that will pose a big threat for BC again.
Shrader has been hurt the previous two and a half games, but he came back looking to end the season on a higher note. They spread the ball around, utilized a quick passing game, and hit explosive play after explosive play. Notably, Shrader didn’t have a big day on the ground, only tallying 24 yards and a score. He still has just about 400 yards and seven scores on the season.
The offensive line injuries, like BC, are not getting any better. They weren’t able to sustain protection in the second half last week, so the offense was shut out in the third quarter and only had two scores after that.
Oronde Gadsden has emerged on the receiving front. He leads the team with 785 yards and far outpaces in touchdowns with 6. No other receiver has more than two. He’s not a burner, but his 6-5 frame and hands give him that contested catch ability.
After being the talk of the town under a new defensive coordinator, it’s struggled mightily, particularly these past few games. Again, stronger offenses have been on the other side, but three of the past four have gone over 38 points.
They’ve employed a soft zone defense that competent passing teams have been able to carve up lately. Star cornerback Garrett Williams has been out for the season, but they do have solid corners to work with. Their varied coverages should bother an inexperienced opposing quarterback.
Injuries have certainly played a factor here as well. With a struggling offense, the Orange defense has been on the field much longer. Syracuse is 115th in the country in time of possession.
Linebacker Mikel Jones is the star of the defense. He leads the team with 84 tackles and is second with 4 sacks. Unfortunately for the team, he was knocked out with a lower leg injury early in last week’s game. He does appear on this week’s depth chart, but his status is in question. Other linebacker Marlowe Wax has done a great job of making plays in the backfield.
Caleb Okechukwu at defensive end leads the team with six sacks. But the run defense has been porous and they haven’t been able to generate pressure as a team. Two key defensive lineman have gone down certainly does not help that.
Syracuse is already bowl eligible, but with this rough patch, they’ll surely want to go into bowl preparations without a sour note. The Eagles have nothing but pride to lose. One more week. One more time seeing Zay don the maroon and gold (and one more chance for him to break a few more records). One more game.