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Sean Tucker Shakes and Bakes inside the Dome, Lifts Syracuse over UAlbany

Sean Tucker celebrates a touchdown with the Syracuse offense.
Sean Tucker (34, middle) celebrates a touchdown with the Syracuse offense.

Syracuse running back Sean Tucker had an all-time performance versus UAlbany this weekend. WAER's Joe Puccio recaps the dominance of Tucker and the Orange.

Two wins would be an improvement for Syracuse football from last season. In only the third week of play, it found that improvement with a dominant 62-24 victory against UAlbany. How was SU able to score 60+ points for the first time since Wagner in 2018? Two words: Sean Tucker.

Just as the freshman running back did in the Orange’s week one win in Ohio, Tucker’s impact led Syracuse to the win. The Maryland native finished with four rushing touchdowns, a receiving touchdown, and over 250 all-purpose yards. Five scores are the tailback’s career-high in a single game and the second-most in program history behind Jim Brown and his six touchdowns in 1956.

“My o-line was blocking hard all game,” Tucker opened his press conference. “They were opening up holes for me to get up to the second level and just run by everybody.”

Tucker made running the football look as easy as basic addition. Whether quarterbacks Tommy Devito or Garrett Schrader handed the ball off or threw it to the second-year back, Tucker put on a show. He became the first player in Syracuse history to eclipse 100 rushing and receiving yards in the same game.

“It was good to see him finish his runs and see him be very explosive in the throw game,” head coach Dino Babers explained. “To turn those passes in the middle of the field into home runs, it was awesome.”

Another weapon that allowed Tucker to shine in the Dome was the dual-threat nature of the Syracuse offense. The Orange began the game with Tommy Devito under center. The redshirt junior only threw the football nine times but passed for 147 yards and a touchdown. SU switched gears and put Garrett Shrader under center. In his third game with the Cuse, the former Mississippi State signal-caller threw for 190 yards, a touchdown, and ran for two. It didn’t matter who was in at quarterback because they both showed their talents.

“We have two good ones,” said coach Babers. “We’ve got two who have some skill. We are gonna look at the tape and make some decisions.”

Garrett Shrader saw the most action in today’s ballgame. After throwing the ball a combined seven times in weeks 1 and 2, he threw 15 times in the win over UAlbany, completing 11 of them. This game proved to the coaching staff that the sophomore is capable of being the head man.

A glaring negative came in the form of penalties. SU was penalized 16 times for 163 yards, both program records in a game. What stung the Orange the most was a passing touchdown and punt return up to the Great Danes’ 1-yard line. Syracuse is lucky they had Sean Tucker and a stellar defense that held UAlbany to 10 points in three quarters. Those flags were a deterrent for the Orange, no matter the score.

“We talked about it at halftime, we talked about it at the end of the game, and we will talk about it tomorrow,” Dino Babers preached towards the end of his postgame presser. “That’s too many...we will discuss this with the family.”

Although the discipline will be something SU works on this week, the offense and defense put on a clinic. Sure, beating a winless FCS opponent doesn’t help the resumé much, but as Sean Tucker put it, this was a “huge morale boost” for Syracuse.

The 2-1 Orange finish up their three-game homestand next Friday against the Liberty Flames. GZA Countdown to Kickoff on WAER is live at 7:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. game.