(WSYR-TV) — Hey, it wasn’t a three-point game!
Close games have become the norm for the Syracuse Orange this season. After losing three-straight games by three points, and winning one the week before that, Syracuse was locked in another battle Saturday in Blacksburg.
Despite more second guessing of Dino Babers’ decision making from fans, Garrett Shrader was able to pace Syracuse to their fourth win of the season. A 41-36 decision in Syracuse’s first game at Virginia Tech since 2003.
Shrader, who put up more than 400 yards of total offense, hit Damien Alford on a 45-yard touchdown to give Syracuse the lead. Shrader rushed for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is now second in program history for QB rushing scores, only trailing Eric Dungey and his 15 rushing TDs back in 2018. Sean Tucker added 112 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Below the elation, frustrations from #OrangeNation in this game, and perhaps the entire Babers era, came to a head at the end of the second quarter. With his team in position to score a touchdown and possibly take the lead, Babers called back-to-back timeouts on the goal line so his team wouldn’t get called for a too many men on the field penalty. SU then sent Garrett Shrader on the field to go for it. He was stopped but Virginia Tech called a timeout before the snap and SU then opted for the field goal. Andre Szmyt, who has had a rough season, missed the 19-yard attempt.
Here are some of the responses from social media:
Virginia Tech started the game working the clock and driving down the field. The Hokies scored on drives of 12 plays, 75 yards and 10 plays, 75 yards. On the other end, Syracuse had their first drive of the game result in points too. On a 4th-and-1, Sean Tucker found daylight running for 28 yards and the touchdown.
Syracuse appeared to have tied the game in the second quarter after Garrett Shrader ran in from 9 yards out. The TD capped off a 12-play, 98-yard drive, but the PAT from Szmyt was blocked and returned for two points, making it a 19-13 lead before the end of the first half fiasco.
Syracuse was able to right the ship in the third quarter when Shrader scored his second touchdown of the day. This TD Shrader scored from 21 yards out and settled down the Orange.
It didn’t take long for the Hokies to respond. Malachi Thomas capped off a 5-play, 46-yard drive with a two-yard TD, his second of the game. Which gave Virginia Tech a 26-20 lead.
Dino Babers went back to Garrett Shrader and the run game. Shrader’s third rushing touchdown game SU their first lead of the game 27-26.
After VT hit a FG to retake the lead 29-27, Thomas found daylight and scored his third rushing touchdown of the game. On a day where ‘Cuse defense did not play their best, VT and Malachi Thomas took advantage. Thomas’ 47-yard touchdown seemed to put this game out of reach before the Shrader heroics.
Shrader threw the team’s first passing touchdown in the redzone late in the fourth quarter to make it a two-point game. He finished the game with 236 yards through the air to go along with two passing touchdowns.
Syracuse, now 4-4, will host Boston College next Saturday.