yracuse Football: Here’s why to win over Liberty is a season-defining victory.
Syracuse football entered its non-conference matchup against Liberty on Friday night on the Hill as the underdog,
according to oddsmakers and the broad consensus among national experts, pundits, and even many Orange fans.
Simply stated, most people expected the Orange to lose this matchup against the Flames,
who blasted the Orange a year ago for their first-ever win against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.
Liberty also boasts a dynamic offence headed by Malik Willis, an NFL prospect and Heisman Trophy candidate. On Friday evening,
a group of scouts were allegedly present inside the freshly refurbished Carrier Dome.
It remains to be known if the Orange players utilised their home underdog status as motivation.
Perhaps they did. Perhaps they didn’t.
In any event, the ‘Cuse established a two-touchdown lead,
only to see it vanish, with a new starting quarterback under centre and a defence eager to show off its skills.
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Syracuse football scored a massive win against a tremendous opponent.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Flames had a chance to take the lead, but the Orange defence stopped Willis on a fourth-and-one from their own goal line, and subsequently recovered a crucial takeaway.
Syracuse football would reclaim possession of the ball and have a chance to clinch the deal.
Garrett Shrader, a Mississippi State transfer making his first start as quarterback for the Orange,
made a big run on the game-winning drive, and running back Sean Tucker did what he does best.
Syracuse’s attack did a good job of controlling the time.
With one second remaining, head coach, Dino Babers requested a timeout.
My heart was pounding in my ears.
Then, with time running down, record-setting placekicker Andre Szmyt nailed a 35-yard field goal to give the Orange (3-1) a historic 24-21 victory against Liberty (3-1).
Syracuse football had a fantastic non-conference schedule in 2021, winning three games and gaining a lot of momentum.
The Orange’s next game is a road trip to Florida State on Saturday, Oct. 2, in their ACC opener.
The Seminoles are in disarray, and I think Syracuse football has a legitimate opportunity to improve to 4-1 following next Saturday’s conference matchup.
That, to me, should pique interest in a possible bowl spot for the ‘Cuse.
Given that the Orange only won one game in the previous stanza, it’s very impressive.
While some supporters on social media disappoint by the Liberty result,
there are many reasons why this is a significant win for Syracuse football.
To begin with, it moves the ‘Cuse one step closer to postseason contention.
In addition, the Flames dominated the Orange in Central New York in 2020, amassing over 500 yards of offence.
According to a news release from cuse.com, Liberty has only lost once in its previous 16 games going back to 2019.
In both major surveys, the Flames finished barely outside the top 25.
Tucker had a career-high 168 running yards and a score on the ground.
Shrader has to improve his throwing game, although he didn’t throw any interceptions and ran for two touchdowns.
And, wow, Syracuse’s football defence is a force to be reckoned with.
According to cuse.com, the defence limited Willis to just 219 passing yards,
and the defence produced critical plays when they were needed most, paving the way for an upset over Liberty.
I started it on Friday evening on social media, and I’ll say it again today.
I’m not sure what will make you happy if you can’t get excited about our beloved Orange’s performance.
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