|Posted on October 9, 2021 at 7:25 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Syracuse Orange (3-2) returned home to the Dome after a last-second loss to the Florida State Seminoles (1-4) to face the undefeated Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-0).
Syracuse is 5-3 versus Wake Forest as Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) foes, with the Orange winning at home on November 2, 2013 (13-0), on the road on October 18, 2014 (30-7), at home on September 12, 2015 (30-17), on the road on November 3, 2018 (41-24), and at home on November 30, 2019 (39-30 in OT).
The losses by the Orange came on the road in Winston Salem, NC, on October 8, 2016 (28-9), at home on November 11, 2017 (64-43), and in their last bout which happened at home on October 31, 2020 (38-14).
Wake Forest would come away with something on their first drive, when junior kicker Nick Sciba would connect from 22 yards away, giving the Demon Deacons the first lead of the game, 3-0, about three minutes into the contest, at the 12:06 mark.
Syracuse responded with their own score on their first drive of the game, which was also the first end zone trip for either team in the match-up, when second-year freshman running back Sean Tucker ran it in from six yards out, giving the Orange their first lead at 7-3 at the 8:28 mark of the opening quarter.
This rushing touchdown by Tucker gave Tucker at least one rushing touchdown in five of Syracuse's six games played this season. It was his eighth rushing touchdown of this season and ninth score overall as he had a 72-yard catch-and-run play at home versus the Albany Great Danes in the third game of the team's 2021 campaign.
Each team would punt away their second drives of the game.
Then, on the Demon Deacons' third possession, Orange redshirt-freshman cornerback Garrett Williams would stay with his receiver by the sideline and prevent an opportunity,
Senior defensive end Cody Roscoe and redshirt-sophomore defensive end Caleb Okechukwu, roommates, would team up to take down Hartman on the next play, forcing Wake Forest to punt for the second-straight possession.
Shrader saved the third drive of the match-up for the Orange when he eluded a sack attempt and then outran another defender to gain 13 yards on a 3rd-&-7 situation.
At the end of the first 15 minutes, Syracuse led Wake Forest 7-3.
Syracuse continued their drive into the second quarter, beginning the quarter with a 2nd-&-4 attempt from the Wake Forest 32-yard line.
Tucker would take the first play of the second quarter for eight yards on the ground, fighting for the first down.
Shrader would catch the Demon Deacons' off-guard as he took to the air on the very next play, sending the ball to a wide-open Anthony Queeley, a redshire-sophomore wide receiver, for a 24-yard score that extended the Orange out to a 14-3 lead at the 14:21 mark of the second quarter.
Wake Forest would respond immediately, however, when redshirt-sophomore quarterback Sam Hartman sent the ball downfield to redshirt-sophomore wide receiver A.T. Perry, a play where Perry reeled it in amongst defenders and spun around, fighting to and getting the ball over the goal-line for a 46-yard scoring play to give the Demon Deacons their first touchdown of the contest, making it 14-10 Orange with 11:53 to go before half.
Prior to the fourth drive of the game for Syracuse, senior fullback Chris Elmore proved that rhinos can flip as he gathered the ball on Wake Forest's kickoff for a 14-yard gain that included a flip for the student-athlete dubbed the "rhino".
The Orange would attain four first downs on their fourth drive of the first half, including three in a row, the first and third coming from Shrader keepers of four yards and 15 yards, respectively, and the second being a 15-yard completion from Shrader to redshirt-senior wide receiver Devaughn Cooper.
Shrader would keep it again from five yards out, scoring his first rushing touchdown of the game and eighth rushing touchdown of the season, moving Syracuse out to a double-digit advantage, 20-10, with 6:49 before half. He has now amounted at least one rushing touchdown in all of the last four games for the Orange.
By three minutes to go before half, Syracuse gave up an opportunity, allowing Hartman's pass to be completed over the middle downfield on a 3rd-&-23 attempt, where Hartman found redshirt-junior wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson for a 25-yard gain to the Syracuse 19-yard line.
Hartmand and the Demon Deacons would capitalize on this drive that they kept alive on third-and-long when Hartman ran the ball in on 3rd-&-1 for a one-yard touchdown that shrunk the Demon Deacons' deficit to one possession, 21-17, with 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the score that would remain going into the locker room.
Shrader would gain over 100 yards rushing in the first half alone.
The Orange would open the second half with a three-and-out, losing 10 yards and ending their drive with a punt from their own 13-yard line.
Wake Forest would do the opposite, getting all the way to Syracuse's 10-yard line on their first drive of the second half.
However, Roscoe would link up with sophomore linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku to sack Hartman for a 12-yard loss that would bring up 4th-&-20 for the Demon Deacons, taking them out of the Orange redzone to their opponent's 22-yard line.
Sciba would connect on his second field goal of the game, this from 40 yards away, to bring Wake Forest within one point, 21-20, at the 7:57 mark of the third quarter.
Syracuse's second drive of the third quarter would go five plays and end also in a punt inside five minutes remaining on the third-quarter clock.
The Demon Deacons to take their first lead of the game since 3-0 on their second drive of the third quarter when Hartman aired out to Perry once again, this time for a 69-yard score as Perry shook off a single defender between him and the Orange end zone, making it 26-21 Deacons at the 4:32 mark of the third quarter, following a missed pass attempt by Hartman on a two-point conversion try.
Syracuse would have a consecutive drive of five plays, but unlike the prior, this one would conclude in the Wake Forest end zone, with Syracuse running the ball four times (two by Shrader, two by Tucker) and passing once. The pass from Shrader to redshirt-freshman wide receiver Courtney Jackson would get the Orange 29 yards and into the Demon Deacons' redzone, at their 14-yard line. Tucker would get the remaining 14 yards on the very next play, strolling into the end zone for the second time in this game, ninth rushing touchdown of this season, and 10th touchdown overall for him in 2021.
The Orange, after Shrader was given little protection on a two-point conversion attempt to follow the Tucker touchdown, would regain the lead, 27-26, with 2:23 left in the third quarter, a lead that would hold going into the fourth.
An offensive pass interference call moved the Demon Deacons back to their own 25 for a 1st-&-25 attempt in the fourth quarter.
Wake Forest would get themselves in a 4th-&-2 situation on this drive when Hartman completed the ball to redshirt-sophomore tight end Blake Whiteheart for a 20-yard gain, but the play would be reviewed and overturned by the officiating crew, making it 4th-&-22 instead, resulting in a punt by the Deacons.
After a carry by redshirt-sophomore running back Cooper Lutz on 3rd-&-12 that got the Orange 10 yards, head coach Dino Babers elected to attempt a 45-yard field goal as opposed to going for it on 4th-&-2 from the Deacons' 27-yard line. The decision backfired as redshirt-junior kicker Andre Szmyt missed with under eight minutes to play.
Wake Forest would march down the field after starting on their own 27 on a Syracuse turnover on downs, with Hartman going 5-for-7 and the team running the ball four times, including a 10-yard run up the middle by redshirt-junior running back Christian Beal-Smith. Hartman would find Roberson in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion to follow, giving the Demon Deacons a 34-27 lead with 3:28 to go.
On the next Syracuse drive, Lutz would lose the handle right before he went out-of-bounds and redshirt-senior rover defensive back Traveon Redd would grab the ball in the air for the fumble recovery.
The Orange would get the ball back, however, with 2:21 to go.
With 28 seconds to go, Babers used his third and final timeout, needing 28 yards to attempt to tie the game.
That was all Tucker needed as Shrader found him over the top and Tucker took off, taking a bump, and bouncing into the end zone.
Syracuse brought the offense back onto the field in what looked like a two-point conversion attempt for the win, but Babers took a delay of game instead and Szmyt tied it up at 34-34 with 21 seconds remaining.
A sack by redshirt-freshman linebacker Steve Linton on Hartman would end regulation, moving the Orange into overtime in an attempt to hand the top-25 ranked Demon Deacons their first loss of the season.
Shrader was sacked by sophomore rover defensive back Chelen Garnes, bringing up fourth down on Syracuse's overtime drive. Szmyt would cash in from 38 yards out to give the Orange a 37-34 lead.
But the Demon Deacons would respond with a score of their own, theirs a touchdown from Hartman to Perry, their second hookup of the game, this from 22 yards out, securing the victory for Wake Forest, 40-37.
The touchdown was reviewed and upheld, keeping the Demon Deacons unbeaten at 6-0, with a 4-0 record in the ACC, while the Orange fall to .500 at 3-3, with an 0-2 record in ACC play.
Despite the loss, Syracuse out-gained Wake Forest on the ground 354 yards to 96, averaging 6.1 yards per carry to Wake Forest's 2.6.
But the Demon Deacons outdid the Orange in the passing game, as in the last play, gaining 330 yards through the air to 160 for the Orange.
Hartman ended the game 19-for-32 for the 330 aforementioned yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, along with one rushing touchdown.
Shrader went 15-for-27 for 160 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, adding 178 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. The 178 yards on 29 attempts by Shrader gave him 6.1 yards per carry.
Tucker reached the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth-consecutive game and now in five of six games played in 2021 with his 153 yards on 26 attempts (5.9 yards per carry), reaching the end zone twice on the ground.