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BC Opponent Preview: Syracuse Football

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Next up on #ThePath is a trip to Syracuse. The Orange have had a rough go of it since conference play began. After a solid 4-0 start with wins over Army and Purdue, Dino Babers’s squad has collapsed. Clemson, UNC, FSU, and last week Virginia Tech combining for 150 points while Syracuse could only manage 34.

Syracuse Offense vs BC Defense

It’s still the Garrett Shrader show at ‘Cuse. The senior has bested BC in both his appearances and will now matching up against his third different quarterback. In the 2021 snooze-fest, he broke open a 48 yard touchdown run, but the next season he attacked from the air throwing for nearly 300 yards. This season, Shrader has struggled scrambling and thrown about on par with Castellanos.

Key injuries have plagued the offense. First, star tight end Oronde Gadsden was marked out for the season, then it was the starting right tackle, and now the left guard will not be returning either. With that, the offensive line has struggled mightily. The Hokies sacked Shrader eight times last week. That left them with 0 net rushing yards on the day. In all, they’ve allowed 27 sacks for 148 yards lost, among the worst in the nation. BC may have gotten home seven times themselves in last year’s matchup, but was still largely taken by land and air.

The Eagles have struggled in keeping opposing quarterbacks from getting loose thus far, but pressure rate is improving. The front seven will have the opportunity to bring Shrader down, but it will come down to staying disciplined in the second level.

LeQuint Allen is the lead back averaging 4.6 ypg. The sophomore is a real threat out of the backfield and has 723 yards and eight touchdowns from scrimmage.

Shrader has spread the ball around with three different receivers having over 300 yards receiving. 12 different receivers have caught touchdown passes as well, nine from Shrader. The interceptions came early, but he’s kept it together the past two games despite the sack rate. In ACC play, he’s only completed 57% of his passes.

Cuse Defensive

As mentioned, conference play has not been kind to the Orange. Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 defense has brought the pressure. The 22 sacks and 55 TFLs for the team on the season are among the nation’s best, so Castellanos and BC’s line needs to be prepared with pressure coming from anywhere.

Marlowe Wax is the team’s leading tackler and sack leader. The junior linebacker has been a menace. He has three forced fumbles and an interception as well. Fellow linebacker Leon Lowery’s 3.5 sacks are next up.

Focusing on just this past month, they have allowed 314.8 yards passing and 209 yards rushing. Virginia Tech in particular exploited the Syracuse defense on the ground. They executed outside runs and eventually opened up lanes for their quarterback to run right through. They’ll need to make some stronger adjustments to handle the BC rushing offense.

In the secondary, 6-4 rover Justin Barron has similarly been flying and is the heart of the secondary. He has five TFLs to his name and second on the team with 59 tackles. Safety is a strong position for the Orange. The veterans Jason Simmons Jr. and Alijah Clark have both shown some flashes and range. The defense’s aim is to prevent deep plays, but hasn’t been stellar in that department. But with their backs against the wall and the dome crowd behind them, Castellanos will have to be particularly careful in the passing game.