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Syracuse Edges Out Purdue 32-29 in Instant Classic, Improves to 3-0 For First Time Since 2018

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Syracuse defensemen Justin Barron (23) and Marlowe Was (2) join forces for an open field tackle in the second quarter of SU’s 32-29 win over Purdue. The pair combined for 13 total tackles in the game.

When the fourth quarter started, nobody could have predicted what would transpire over the next 15 minutes. Syracuse and Purdue erupted in the fourth quarter for a combined 42 points, trading blows until the very end. Eventually, SU quarterback Garrett Shrader connected with one of his favorite targets to complete an electrifying game.

In Syracuse’s 32-29 thrilling win over Purdue, Oronde Gadsden II was heavily involved in the passing attack, hauling in six receptions for 112 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore wideout seemingly established himself as Shrader’s go-to pass-catcher in high-octane moments with another score earlier in the fourth.

Gadsden froze the Boilermakers defense as he tip-toed up the Purdue sideline.

Although Shrader has not favored one receiver in particular throughout SU’s first two contests, there was an undeniable connection between the pair Saturday afternoon.

“Oronde Gadsden can catch the ball. You can cover him if you’re lucky,” head coach Dino Babers said. “The thing that excites me the most is his ability to get the feet in. Shrader found a way to get his team into the end zone today. I’ll follow that any day.”

After the first Gadsen touchdown, the Orange and Boilermakers traded blows until the very end.

Initially, Syracuse extended their lead with a defensive touchdown from defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu. The redshirt-junior intercepted a pass from Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell and returned it 25-yards.

Syracuse defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Purdue. This play and the ensuing PAT would give the Orange a 25-15 lead.

A little over a minute later, O’Connell would get his revenge with a 55-yard touchdown strike to Charlie Jones. The Iowa transfer gave the SU defense fits all game long, with eleven receptions for 188 yards. This play cut the SU lead to just three with 6:41 remaining.

The rest of the game featured a missed field goal by Purdue kicker Mitchell Fineran, a well-executed two-minute drill by Aidan O’Connell and company, as well as a kickoff from the Boilermakers on their own ten-yard line thanks to a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct calls.

“This is a spiritual-type feeling. To win a game like that, the highs and lows… if I want to ride a rollercoaster, I want to ride the fastest one. That third and fourth quarter was like a rollercoaster,” Babers said.

Syracuse is now off to its first 3-0 start since 2018, the year in which the Orange captured a Camping World Bowl win over West Virginia.

On another note, Syracuse running back Sean Tucker was considerably quiet this afternoon. The sophomore was held to just 52 yards on 18 rushes.

When Tucker gets going, this Syracuse offense will be hard to stop as conference play fast approaches. Next up for the Orange, is a tantalizing battle against Virginia. This will be the first time newly-hired SU offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck face-off against their former team.