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Syracuse Orange football: So close, but far from perfect

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For about three quarters of the time, I thought this was really the case. a. Where Syracuse Orange completely shatters the narrative about its past failures, untimely punishments, and very, very imminent losses.

I guess some things are not as they should be.

SU led 21-10 at halftime, but later closed on offense and Clemson rallied for 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter.

Was it still impressive that Orange showed up and a program started hot against the National Power Center? Definitely. But in a way, it hurts even more that ‘Cuse’ is coming soon. Again.

At first glance, this looked like the usual Death Valley experience: SU took 4th place in FG range and was stopped, then Clemson landed and scored. It was a long day in the South Carolina sun.

But then the aggression started. Garrett Shrader hooked up and hooked up with Sean Tucker. Gang jumped out. And suddenly it looked like DJ Uiagalelei was back in his 2021 form. He flipped the ball three times, including this six-in-one striptease started by Duce Chestnut and Marlowe Wax and finished by Ja’Had Carter:

“He is a quarterback,” Head Coach Dino Babers said after the game. “He had an outstanding freshman year, a bit of a downgrade in his second year, but I’m glad to see him come back.”

Orange eventually forced the Tigers to make a QB change and chose true freshman Cade Klubnik. The new look fired up Clemson and began to erode the Syracuse defenses that had previously feasted on underhand guns.

They were stuck on the field more than they should due to their offensive struggles. For some infuriating reason, Tucker had only 5 carries all afternoon – meanwhile, an average of 11 yards per touch. Babers insisted that limited use of Tucker was part of the game plan.

“Most of these have been read,” Babers said. “So they took the ball from Sean’s hand and put it in Shrader’s hands.”

The second half collapse was caused by several instances where ‘Cuse players lacked any discipline. Penalties, the issue that has been talked about all year but never properly addressed due to the winning streak, was that Orange cost a decisive win today.

At least some of it has to do with coaching. You cannot allow your players to best capture their emotions in the situations they are in. Elijah Fuentes-Cundiff delivered an unforgivable late blow to Klubnik, giving the Tigers life on a stalled drive. I won’t throw him under the bus too much as he is a true freshman who was forced into the game due to injuries, but that was probably the turning point.

That doesn’t even go into how Dino allowed 25 seconds to flow from the clock before he took his final break. This is something he should know if he is going to do it. before it becomes a game.

The other elephant in the room should be the lack of a second WR option. Oronde Gadsden once again made up more than half of SU’s reception areas (86 out of 167). In the last game of Syracuse, the Clemson defense was so locked into Gadsden that they left Courtney Jackson wide open in the corner of the end zone.

Shrader never even saw him, tripled to seal the deal. Watch his body language and you’ll notice how he doesn’t shy away from #19.

“It’s a terrible feeling,” Mikel Jones said of the loss. “We worked hard and again fell short here.”


  • Ja’Had Carter – 9 eliminations, 1 INT, 90 yard fumble rescue TD
  • Marlowe Wax – 7 captures, 1 fight for loss, 1 forced rescue, 1 rescue rescue
  • Garrett Shrader – 18/26, 167 passing yards, 1 TD, I INT; 71 rushing yards, 1 TD