It really happened, Fizz Nation. SU did indeed stifle NC State inside the Dome last night 24-9 and secure just its second bowl berth since 2013. For a program that gauges success on postseason appearances, yesterday’s victory was the exclamation point on a dream start to 2022. Let’s take a look at the figures that helped the Orange power past the ‘Pack.
SU’s undisputed star of the game against NC State and its breakout performer of the year has been tight end/wide receiver Oronde Gadsden II. Gadsden’s ambiguous position – originally listed as a tight end and lined up like so, but now listed as a wideout – hasn’t stopped him from putting up the most electrifying receiving performances we’ve seen in years. Gadsden’s final line (8 rec, 141 yards, 2 TD) was the first 140-plus yard, two-score game for a Syracuse pass-catcher in 1,078 days.
The last time a ‘Cuse wideout put up such a prolific game was in 2019 against Boston College. With a disappointing season in full swing, junior Trishton Jackson put up eight grabs for 148 yards and two scores against the Eagles. Unfortunately, BC and future Packer AJ Dillon exploded for 58 points and nearly 500 rushing yards in a blowout over the Orange. Jackson pulled the trick two other times in 2019 and ties Alec Lemon (three from 2011-12) for the most such games by a single SU player since 2000.
Despite a 15-point victory, SU left some meat on the bone offensively. The Orange opted for a field goal from the NC State five, turned the ball over twice, and helped the Devin Leary-less Pack hang around much longer than they should’ve. Credit the stingy ‘State defense for holding up its end of the bargain. SU won anyway despite its turnovers and snapped a 13-game losing streak that spanned 12 years in which the Orange turned it over two or more times and didn’t force a takeaway.
The last time SU pulled off the feat came all the way back in 2010 against Akron. Doug Marrone’s Orange cruised over the Zips 29-3 to kickstart an eventual bowl season despite a Ryan Nassib interception and two fumbles.
After a 14-carry, 98-yard performance, Sean Tucker has effectively chilled concerns over his slow end to September. SU’s star sophomore followed up his 232-yard bonanza against Wagner with another solid game and a contest-clinching 25-yard score with 2:20 left in the game. Tucker just barely missed another 100-yard day, but his performance shot him up a notable leaderboard. With 2,766 rushing yards in Orange, Tucker moves into 6th place all-time on Syracuse’s career list, passing Floyd Little.
With seven games (including a bowl) presumably remaining in Tucker’s SU career, it’s possible he could pass several of the remaining names ahead of him.
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Though we have no way to confirm it, 121 decibels is apparently the level an announced sellout crowd of 49,057 reached inside the Dome.
For reference, that’s on par with sirens and, by some metrics, poses a risk to hearing. The Wolfpack were tangibly affected by the noise; NC State rolled up four false starts and had to burn two timeouts on one disastrous second-half drive. Head coach Dave Doeren gave the Loud House props after the game. Safe to say SU’s 12th man did its job and then some.