The talk all week leading up to Saturday has been, “Is the Wildcat offense Syracuse ran against Pitt sustainable against Georgia Tech?” We got a resounding no for an answer as the Yellow Jackets buzzed past the Orange 31-22, clinching bowl eligibility in the process.
The game was always going to be a case of “the more desperate team is probably going to win”, and Georgia Tech had every reason to be. If the Yellow Jackets had lost tonight, chances are they wouldn’t be going bowling because the two-time defending national champions are on the horizon for them next week. Meanwhile, Syracuse has a 4-7 Wake Forest team ahead of it. Maybe next week the Orange will play with and Dino Babers will coach with the same desperation that Brent Key and GT had tonight.
Is Dan Villari SU’s QB1 now? Frankly, you could make the argument the Orange didn’t even have a quarterback today. Garrett Shrader’s situation was as unclear as ever. He dressed, only to not see action until the final play of the first half which was… a kneel down. In the second half, Shrader appeared sporadically for a play at a time, but never saw consistent playing time. Braden Davis lined up as… a wide receiver when he saw the field, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson didn’t travel, and Luke MacPhail did not see the field. Villari actually threw the ball 12 times for an average of… four yards per completion. Who knows what the situation under center will be next week.
Georgia Tech was not only the more desperate team, but it was also the more disciplined one. On a run in the first quarter, SU committed both a holding and unsportsmanlike penalty that forced it to settle for a field goal. Anwar Sparrow jumped offsides on a Yellow Jacket 4th-and-1. Right out of the chute at halftime, SU fumbled the football then allowed GT to score one play later. All of those just cannot happen.
One game left in the regular season for Syracuse. It’s quite possibly Game 7 of the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the World Cup Final all in one for Babers’ tenure on the hill. If you win you can line up the pins, lose you go into a question-filled offseason.