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SU Offense on a Roll, Orange Aim to Go 4-0 against UVA

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Syracuse players celebrate after a 32-29 victory over Purdue to improve to 3-0.

For the first time since 2018, Syracuse is undefeated through the first three weeks of the season. Everything offensively is clicking for the Orange. Quarterback Garrett Shrader was named ACC Quarterback of the week for his three touchdown performance against Purdue, receiver Oronde Gadsden II is tied for first in the ACC in touchdowns this season with three, and SU is fourth in the conference in scoring offense. Plus, Gadsden is coming off of a two touchdown performance last week, one of which sealed the victory for the Orange.

Someone who has not been getting going through three games is running back Sean Tucker. Shrader has more rushing yards and touchdowns than Tucker. On top of that, the sophomore’s longest run this year is just 13 yards. Head coach Dino Babers wants that to change.

“It’s something that we are definitely putting under the microscope because we feel like it needs to change,” Babers said. “Defenses are coming out to stop him. He’s doing other things well, but still those numbers need to be better than what they are.”

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Sean Tucker looks to find space in a 32-29 win over Purdue.

While Syracuse would love to get the program’s single-season rushing yard record holder back on track, the offense is still producing. It’s an entirely new system for SU this year with former Virginia offensive coaches Robert Anae and Jason Beck leading the charge. That’s why the next opponent seems all-too-familiar for the assistant coaches: the Virginia Cavaliers.

Anae and Beck spent six years working together with the Cavaliers and helped the UVA offense flourish. Virginia quarterbacks under Beck and Anae from 2013-2020 averaged 3,200 passing yards and just over 500 rushing yards. Anae was also a three-time Frank Broyles Award nominee for the best assistant coach in the country in his time at Virginia.

The Virginia offense has had quite the turnover from 2021 to 2022. Last season, with offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck, the Cavaliers had the fourth best scoring offense in the ACC. Flip the script to 2022, and Virginia is third-to-last in the conference in that same category. UVA quarterback Brennan Armstrong led the ACC in passing yards last year, but through three games sits at third-to-last. The Virginia offense had some woes against Illinois, where it put up just three points, converted on one third down, and punted nine times, but against Old Dominion last week, UVA had over 500 total yards in a 16-14 win. Head coach Tony Elliott still felt his offense needed improvement.

“We left 20 points on the board [against Old Dominion],” Elliott said. “We’re down inside the ten, inside the five several times and we fumble on the two. So I’m being conservative.”

A high-flying Syracuse offense and a conservative Virginia offense go head-to-head this Friday inside the JMA Wireless Dome. Gametime is set for 7 with Countdown to Kickoff at 6:30 on WAER.