There are few words to describe what happened at the JMA Dome today. An unbelievable fourth quarter and second half on both sides. Ups and downs. Twists and turns. But, in the end, Syracuse comes out on top with a three-point win over a Big Ten team. Despite allowing over 400 yards passing, the Orange are victorious in heroic fashion.
Garrett Shrader hit Oronde Gadsden on a corner route with seven seconds to go with his team trailing by four, Gadsden’s second touchdown of the day to put him over 100 yards for the contest. Shrader stood in the pocket, took a hit, and delivered the game-winning touchdown in a similar fashion to last year’s win at Virginia Tech. This time, it was in front of the Dome crowd.
“Oronde Gadsden can catch the ball. You can cover him if you’re lucky. The thing that excites me the most is his ability to get the feet in. Shrader found a way to get his team into the end zone today. I’ll follow that any day.”
It was a back and forth fourth quarter, as the Orange led 25-15 at one point, thanks to an Isaiah Jones touchdown and a Caleb Okechukwu pick-six put the Orange from down five to up ten in short order. But, Purdue and Aidan O’Connell came back. Two touchdowns in the final eight minutes, including a 55-yard strike to Charlie Jones, brought the Boilermakers back before another touchdown with under a minute to go gave Purdue the lead.
The Boilermakers had three offensive possessions after Syracuse went up by ten, and went touchdown, missed field goal that would have tied the game, touchdown. It was a wild fourth quarter.
Up until that point, it was a slow, classic Big Ten football game. There were only 12 combined points midway through the third quarter in a game that ended with 61. The Syracuse offense struggled all afternoon to convert on third downs, and Garrett Shrader had a lot of trouble through the air before the fourth quarter.
Sean Tucker also had an uncharacteristically quiet game rushing for just 42 yards on 18 carries. The third-year running back also had two catches for 23 yards.
“It’s frustrating not to see him [Sean Tucker] do what he’s done, but Purdue had a good gameplan…every time we acted like we were going to give Tucker the ball, good things happened,” Babers said.
On the Purdue side, the main takeaway in the fourth quarter was penalties. The Shrader TD to Isaiah Jones to give Syracuse a 10-9 lead only happened because of multiple Boilermakers infractions on third downs that led to SU scores. Late in the fourth quarter, Purdue committed four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that gifted the Orange 60 yards in penalty yardage on kickoffs and helped set up the final drive for the Orange that ended up winning the game.
“This is a spiritual-type feeling,” Babers “To win a game like that, the highs and lows… if I want to ride a rollercoaster, I want to ride the fastest one. That third and fourth quarter was like a rollercoaster.”