Orange faces early season test vs. Purdue

SU football faces early season test

With a pair of impressive wins, Garrett Shrader and the Orange aim to go 3-0.
Published: September 15, 2022
Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader displaying his mobility in the victory against Louisville
Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader displayed his mobility in the season-opening win against Louisville on Sept. 3.

The last and only time Purdue and Syracuse faced off in football in 2004, the Boilermakers put a 51-0 beating on the Orange.

Eighteen years later, the two historic programs face off again in what should be a more competitive match this Saturday in the JMA Wireless Dome.

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell and the Boilermakers visit Syracuse for the first time in program history for a noon game that will be the Orange’s biggest test of its 2-0 season so far.

Boilermakers’ dynamic duo

Led by sixth-year O’Connell and transfer wide receiver Charlie Jones, Purdue (1-1) leads one of the country’s most dynamic 1-2 passing duos.

Jones comes into this game as the nation’s fourth most productive receiver with 286 yards. His speed and elusiveness make him equally as dangerous on offense and special teams as a returner.

Syracuse cornerbacks Garrett Williams and Duce Chestnut, the self-proclaimed best cornerback duo in the ACC, will have their hands full, slowing down Jones and baiting O’Connell into turnovers.     

Promising Purdue secondary

While this Purdue team relies on its ability to move the ball through the air, it also has an impressive secondary. Fan Nation Purdue beat reporter DJ Fezler broke down how the Boilermakers have some playmakers of their own in the secondary that quarterback Garrett Shrader should be wary of.

Chris Jefferson and Cam Allen, the Boilermaker’s starting safety combo, each registered a pick-6 in Purdue’s 56-0 romp of Indiana State last week. Those two, alongside the physically imposing 6-foot-3 starting cornerback Cory Trice, will be tasked with slowing down Shrader, who has been in the conversation as the best quarterback in college football so far. Shraders’ 79% completion percentage through two games ranks third best in the country among qualified quarterbacks, and his eight total touchdowns have shown his ability to be an effective dual-threat quarterback.

The rise of Garrett Shrader

While Sean Tucker has been the star of the Syracuse offense in past years and will continue to be force-fed the ball, another star has emerged. Shrader’s rapid development, coaxed by the off-season coaching additions of offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck, has elevated this team to potential top-25 status and serious contenders to make the trip to Charlotte, N.C., for the ACC Championship.  

Orange receiver Courtney Jackson spoke on what has allowed Shrader to perform so well early in the season.

The Orange has an experienced, veteran group even with the season-ending injuries to starters Chris Elmore and Stefon Thompson in week one.  And after some recent losing seasons for the Orange, SU football leaders feel the urgency to win now. 

“I always say my senior class — me, Berg [Matthew Bergeron], Kel [Mikel Jones], G [Garrett Williams] — we’ve been here a couple of years now, and we’ve seen the ups and downs, different seniors and leadership groups come through here, and, you know, we all came in here as winners,” Jackson said.” Sometimes, you can get used to not winning so much, and I think we all want to win, and I think that trickles down to everybody in the program.”