Syracuse pulled a nail-biter out on Friday night, with a 22-20 win over Virginia. Check out the Fizz’s instant reaction from the Dome press box, complete with exclusive comments from Oronde Gadsden and Dino Babers’ press conference. Fizz staffers Ian Unsworth, Francesco Simone, Liam Griffin and John Eads all chimed in with their thoughts.
Slow Day for Tucker
The last time Sean Tucker had two consecutive games of under 75 yards was in 2020, when SU lost to Clemson and BC in late October/early November. On Friday, 34 in Orange did not look like himself. Tucker averaged 2.9 yards per carry on 21 takes, and his longest run was nine yards. Most of his touches came on runs up the middle. The fans asked for off-tackle runs, those came, and didn’t work either. Virginia’s run defense had been bad until last night, and one has to wonder if the play design became a factor.
The other thing which hampered the run game was a terrible day from the Syracuse O-Line. Garrett Shrader was sacked six times, and many a time was forced to scramble out of the pocket. UVA only had eight sacks coming into this game. Dakota Davis at right tackle was a turnstile, letting any rushers fly by. Center Carlos Vettorello was called for multiple holding penalties and struggled to get to the second level in the run game.
The SU defense needed a M*A*S*H unit on the sidelines on Friday. Derek McDonald didn’t dress for the game, and then Terry Lockett went down with what looked to be a right knee injury. Justin Barron was ejected for targeting in the third quarter and will miss the first half of the Wagner game (which the Orange can appeal). And after a solid first half, Ja’Had Carter was in street clothes for the second half.
Turnovers were bound to come at some point in time. But four was unacceptable. Three fumbles, one from Tucker, the first of his career, one from Courtney Jackson and one from special teams ace Trebor Pe√±a kept UVA hanging around when the ‘Cuse had a chance to pull away. That should be cleaned up next week.