What a rush. Yesterday was an absolute rollercoaster of a game for Syracuse fans. Dino Babers said as much in his postgame presser. From up 10 to down four, with 45 seconds left, the Orange pulled the contest from the jaws of defeat, complete with some of the most mindless penalties we’ll see all year from Purdue’s veterans and coaches. It’s time to evaluate week three of stock up, stock down.
Oronde Gadsden II
This is the third straight week Gadsden has been in our stock series. And he’s always gone up. Syracuse hasn’t had a receiver reach 100 yards since Taj Harris against Rutgers last year. None of those catches mattered because the ‘Cuse only got in the red zone once. The last time SU had a receiver went for 100 yards against a quality, power five opponent in a win… was Trishton Jackson in 2019 against Wake Forest. That feels like an eternity ago.
Gadsden was the only Syracuse receiver to get open when it counted. Courtney Jackson, Devaughn Cooper and Damien Alford were nowhere to be found for the majority of the day. With Sean Tucker struggling to get the ground game going, the Orange offense needed some sort of outlet to release the pressure on Garrett Shrader. Gadsden is now the guy on the outside.
Jones had two good games, but on Saturday he was a difference maker from start to finish. The captain of the ‘Cuse defense led the Orange with 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He also forced four quarterback hurries. His energy was palpable, firing up the Dome crowd with every third down. The old “big time players, big time plays” mantra rang true.
Both teams tried them, and both teams failed miserably. Robert Anae’s first trick play was a double reverse pass, and freshman RB LeQuint Allen airmailed a wide-open Shrader. The second was a flea-flicker, which Shrader threw into double coverage and eventually into the arms of Purdue corner Reece Taylor. Luckily for the Orange, the pick was nullified by a penalty. The Boilermakers also gambled with a double pass, and receiver TJ Sheffield chucked the ball out of bounds, drawing an intentional grounding call.
SU’s Zone Coverage
Tony White’s 3-3-5 is set up to stop the big play, keeping all intermediate passing plays in front and letting the linebackers stop the run. There was no running game to speak of for Purdue. So all the Orange had to do was worry about the short pass, and the long pass. For the majority of the 60 minutes, the Boilers’ passing game cut up on the ‘Cuse. Aidan O’Connell threw for 424 yards, attacking the middle of the field behind SU’s linebackers and the soft spots on the outside when the ‘Cuse played zone. Syracuse might not face another team that can throw like Purdue, but it’s a little worrisome that a one-dimensional team still moved the ball effectively.