What a way to start the season! Syracuse welcomed Louisville to the newly-named JMA Wireless Dome (with no 5G, none the less) and smacked the Cardinals around from start to finish. If you missed the game, listen to our Fizz Twitter Space recap with Carter Bainbridge to catch up on the week one win.
As we’ve done for the past three seasons, we’re here to tell you whose stock is rising in the ‘Cuse football landscape, and who slid a little after performing below expectations. There’s a lot of positives from week one, so let’s dive into it.
Shrader was the epitome of efficiency last night, completing 18 of his 25 passes for 237 yards. His career high? 238 yards. The Mississippi State transfer was in rhythm from the beginning, as he led an 11-play, 62 yard drive after the opening kickoff. He never got too rattled in the pocket, as the Orange o-line help up in pass protection. When Shrader was rushed, he pulled the ball and scrambled his way to safety. He ran for 95 yards, most of which were on broken plays
Robert Anae and Jason Beck
This tweet says it all. The tutelage of Anae and Beck made a massive difference for Shrader and the entire offense. There was more complexity in the scheme – formations, shifts and motion which put Louisville under stress. Postgame, Shrader talked about the Oronde Gadsden touchdown, highlighting the motion man which caused the Cards’ DBs to bungle their assignments. Watch DeVaughn Cooper closely on the play below.
That’s a perfect example of scheming a player open.
Oronde Gadsden II
Speaking of Gadsden, his new position of “tight end/flex-wide/football player” showcased his versatility and great frame. Lining up close to the offensive line gave him constant mismatches. He only had 3 catches for 36 yards, but he was constantly open over the middle of the field. As the season develops, Gadsden should develop into a great option for Shrader as Courtney Jackson and Damien Alford see tight coverage in ACC play.
Everyone in the 315 was suspect on SU’s defensive line coming into the contest. With Louisville’s stable of backs, Malik Cunningham’s dynamic rushing abilities and an o-line returning four of five starters, the Orange’s undersized group faced a lot of challenges, then proved all the doubters wrong. Louisville only managed 137 yards on the ground and the ‘Cuse sacked Cunningham four times.
Syracuse had a program-record 18 penalties, seven of those being false starts. The calls for the snap counts might be different, but seven false starts is inexcusable. Luckily, it didn’t impede the SU offense. Hopefully it’s fixed next week against a bad UConn team.