Another week, and another blowout for Syracuse. SU took a step up in competition, moving from the FCS with Colgate to the MAC with Western Michigan. It didn’t seem to matter.
Jalen Buckley gave Orange fans a scare with a 75-yard touchdown run on the Broncos’ second play from scrimmage, but after that, it was all Orange. Syracuse scored on every possession of the first half, and pulled many of its starters to begin the third quarter, a group headlined by Garrett Shrader.
So, Syracuse is 2-0 for the second straight year. Let’s hand out some report cards:
Dino Babers A
This was a well coached game. The only real blemish was the first Western Michigan drive of the game. Could Buckley’s long touchdown run have been a product of Syracuse not being ready when the game started? Maybe, but it’s hard to make that judgment on one play.
Babers won two challenges in the first quarter, including one in which he questioned whether or not the officials had the right down, which is certainly a new one.
The best decision that Babers made was taking Shrader out of the game to begin the second half, along with much of his starting offense. Shrader campaigned to stay in the game for a drive against Colgate, but this time Babers made sure he was on the bench to start the third quarter.
It was, without a doubt, the correct decision. There was no reason to risk Shrader’s health up by 40, and the Orange didn’t
Garrett Shrader A-
Speaking of Shrader, he was as good as you can ask for. He threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, plus ran for one. He completed over 63% of his passes.
The only negative part of Shrader’s game was a couple of big hits he took at the end of runs. One was meaningless, it came on a short run where Shrader simply had to get down earlier. The other was as he ran over a defender on his way into the endzone.
It’s been a story ever since Shrader has been Syracuse’s starting quarterback. He has to protect himself because of how important he is to this team. The Orange need their quarterback, and the more hits he takes, the less likely they are to have him.
Isaiah Jones A
Oronde Gadsden got hurt on Syracuse’s first drive of the game. At that point, the Orange were down 7-0 and missing their best receiver. A reason it didn’t seem to matter was Jones’ performance.
After two touchdown catches in his first game back since suffering a season ending shoulder injury vs Purdue last year, Jones led SU with 86 receiving yards on five grabs. If Gadsden misses time, Syracuse will need someone to step up in the receiving game. Jones looks like that guy.
LeQuint Allen B
It was a strange game for Allen. He ran for a career high three touchdowns, the first time in his career he’s had multiple in a game. However, when he got carries anywhere outside the Western Michigan five yard line, he didn’t have much success.
Allen ran for just 20 yards on 8 carries, an average of 2.5 per carry. For whatever reason, he didn’t seem all that explosive. Obviously, it didn’t matter for the Syracuse offense, but if you had to find negatives from the performance, this could be one of them.
Injury Bug F
This is the biggest negative take away. Gadsden was injured in the first minute of the game and spent the rest of it in crutches on the sideline. He was limping around against Colgate, so he clearly has been dealing with something for a while and may have reaggravated it.
Then, David Wohlabaugh Jr., who has stabilized Syracuse’s right tackle spot in the early going, went down with a left leg injury. He was helped off the field and didn’t return. Those are two extremely important players. If they miss time, it will have a major impact on the Orange’s offense. It didn’t matter against Western Michigan, but it will down the line.