SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse lost a few things during their game against Louisville on Saturday night.
Starting quarterback Garrett Schrader lost his helmet twice, forcing backup Carlos del Rio Wilson to two third-down plays. The offense lost 107 yards on 18 penalties, some of which were false starts.
SU also lost three players to injuries in the first half, with only fullback Chris Elmore, linebacker Stephon Thompson, and running back Sean Tucker returning in the second half.
The only thing Syracuse didn’t lose was by far the most important. Behind a resurgent quarterback and passing game, the early lead ballooned to a large margin. It was never threatened with overwhelming defensive power.
All in all, three years of misery against the Louisville Cardinals, who were used to beating the Oranges, are over.
This time, we went in the opposite direction. Syracuse beat Louisville his 31-7 and he started the season at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday night in front of 37,110 fans. It was the first time the Oranges have beaten the Cardinals since his 2018, and the last time the two programs met in Empire State.
A key play by the Syracuse defense created room for several offensive misfires and misfortunes throughout the game. A first-half goal-line stand prevented Louisville from narrowing the game to a field goal, and three second-half turnovers sealed the game for the Oranges.
This was the fewest points allowed by the Oranges (1-0, 1-0 ACC) against the Cardinals (0-1, 0-1) since the 1992 season. Orange held Louisville to 282 total yards.
Malik Cunningham, one of the top ACC quarterbacks going into the season, was held to 152 yards on 16 completions and just 34 yards on his feet. The Cardinals’ only touchdown was scored by a transfer that ran Tyyon Evans on a Fluke 36-yard breakaway going 1:10 in the first quarter.
Schrader, on the other hand, played a dynamic game despite a loose helmet early on.
SU’s starting QB went 14-for-17 for 158 passing yards and a touchdown in the first half. He gained another 59 yards with his feet, including a 24-yard conversion on third down that led to Tucker’s second touchdown.
Schrader continued to show in the second half, taking pressure off the injured Tucker and closing out the game with 332 total yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Whether it was enough to settle fans’ doubts about his position as QB1 remains to be seen, but early indicators point to yes.
Tucker’s debut may not have been the flashy numbers some had hoped for, but the running back put in a solid performance.
Most importantly, he finished the game after being sent off just before half-time.
Despite missing a few plays, Tucker finished the game with more rushing yards (98) than the team’s 2021 game against the Cardinals (95). He also led the team in receiving 85 yards and tackled another touchdown with a 55-yard catch-and-run.
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