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Garrett Shrader, Syracuse Offense, Make Quick Work of Former Big East Rivals UConn in 48-14 Shellacking

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Garrett Shrader (6) throws one of his 23 passes on Saturday against UConn. SU's QB completed 87% of his tosses.

Entering 2022, the jury was out on second-year Syracuse starting quarterback Garrett Shrader’s abilities. Through just two starts in his Junior campaign, Shrader has set a precedent for what to expect of him for the ten regular season games to follow.

In Saturday’s 48-14 drubbing of the Huskies, the Orange signal-caller was nearly-flawless, completing 20 of 23 passes for 287 yards (a career-high) and 3 touchdowns. It’s no secret that first-year offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s philosophy has elevated his starting signal-caller’s play.

For starters, the deep ball eviscerated UConn’s secondary at times, notably when Shrader connected with Canadian wideout Damien Alford on a 47-yard strike as part of SU’s 17-point first-quarter.

The ball traveled a modest 30 yards in the air, but for a quarterback whose main prerogative was to run the ball last year, this is undeniable progress.

Perhaps a larger factor at play here is trust. Shrader’s unwavering faith in Anae’s system allowed him to connect with nine different pass-catchers.

“I think Shrader did a nice job of picking and choosing his targets,” head coach Dino Babers said. “He’s been extremely accurate this year.”

The aforementioned Alford led the pack with 47 yards despite hauling in just one reception. Newcomer Oronde Gadsden and slot-specialist Courtney Jackson each posted over 40 receiving yards to round out a balanced aerial attack.

On the ground, Shrader took a step back from last week’s 95 yard performance, posting 24 yards, but he added two more touchdowns. His power and tenacity helped the Orange punch it in at the goal-line in the first quarter. He found paydirt once more in the third period with a seven-yard scamper.

Sean Tucker put on another offensive masterclass, posting 112 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The sophomore’s speed and vision continue to pop on film as the third-year back begins his trek toward the Doak Walker Award conversation.

Overall, it was a dominant day for the Orange. The team came away with points on each of its first seven drives.

Notably, after committing 18 infractions in last week’s 31-7 blowout win over Louisville, Syracuse reduced that number to just three against UConn on Saturday.

“They listened,” Babers said following the win. “They went out and played a clean game… they were focused.”

All these improvements bode well for Babers, who, entering Saturday, was just 1-5 as a head coach in the second week of the season.

It’s hard to gauge whether or not SU’s improvements from last year to the first two weeks of this season are indicative of a winning roster, but as the Orange continue to rattle off dominant wins, the rest of the ACC should be on high-alert for Shrader, Tucker, and the 'Cuse.