Syracuse headed into the halftime break in an anemic state trailing 3-0. It was like the Rutgers game all over again. The offense was logging three-and-out after three-and-out and largely had no impact. SU’s only positive drive resulted in a (questionable) Garrett Shrader fumble at the five yard line.
Everything changed in the second half.
The ‘Cuse defense continued its dominance in the second half with a massive red zone stop. Instead of 10-0, the scoreboard read 6-0. This meant the Orange had a chance and were always just one play away from tying or taking the lead. That play came at 7:53 in the third quarter when Sean Tucker ran 51 yards for a score. It was as if the dam was finally destroyed and the water flooded.
The Syracuse offense never looked back from there as Garrett Shrader followed Tucker’s suit with a 48-yard touchdown scamper. Courtney Jackson didn’t get much run in the passing game but he made the most of his opportunities in the return game. The wideout added an insurance touchdown on a punt return with Trebor Pena on the sideline.
The most impressive aspects to this win are the response from the defense and the offensive adjustments made in the second half.
The 3-3-5 was in full effect today and back in its most comfortable place in the Loud House. Syracuse was dominant when it mattered most. BC was 5-18 on third down conversions. The front six did a spectacular job mitigating the Eagles’ rushing attack and containing the big play. Kingsley Jonathan led the unit with a career high three sacks out of nowhere.
This afternoon’s showing was a far cry from last week’s disaster of a display against Virginia Tech.
What Changed in the Second Half?
Well Syracuse gave it to Sean Tucker more so that definitely helps. The running back tallied a career high 207 yards with a touchdown. He continues to prove himself week after week despite which defense he’s playing and how many guys are in the box.
Aside from Tucker’s dominance, Syracuse went away from the passing game because it wasn’t working. Garrett Shrader was just 4-13 with 50 passing yards in the first half. BC’s ACC best passing defense was as good as advertised and SU stopped trying to force the issue in the second frame. The onus was called upon Tucker and Shrader to get the job done on the ground and they did just that.
It wasn’t pretty but the job was completed by the Orange today. So Syracuse moves to 5-4, 2-3 in the ACC with all of its goals still on the table. The Orange enjoy a bye week coming up and will need to beat one of Louisville, NC State, and Pitt to earn bowl eligibility.