SU football moves to 2-0 with decisive win over Western Michigan
SU football cruises to win over Western Michigan
The Orange’s 48-7 victory is tarnished by star receiver Oronde Gadsden II leaving early with an injury.
The Syracuse football team was able to overcome some early adversity to cruise to a 48-7 win over Western Michigan at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday afternoon.
For the second straight week, the Orange didn’t have to worry about playing their starters deep into the game. The outcome was secure by the midway point of the second quarter, even though SU started shakily.
Excitement was high as the Orange stormed the field for their second game of the season but the crowd was soon silenced after kick-off. On the second play from scrimmage, Syracuse gave up a 75-yard touchdown to Broncos running back Jalen Buckley just 30 seconds into the game.
Crowd morale did not increase as the Orange offense took the field. In their first possession of the game, there was a dropped pass in the endzone by wide receiver Damien Alford, followed by another incomplete pass to his teammate shortly after. The Orange had to settle for a 36-yard successful field goal attempt to make it 7-3.
Then, things got worse. After a completed catch by star tight end Oronde Gadsden II, he went down appearing to be in pain. Trainers took the field to help him back to the locker room. Shortly after, he appeared back on the sidelines in a boot on his right foot and crutches.
“Next man up,” redshirt freshman wide receiver, Donovan Brown said in response to Gadsden’s early exit. “We prepare for stuff like this.”
After Western Michigan’s opening strike, the Orange eventually found their stride. Sophomore running back LeQuint Allen Jr. punched in a short touchdown run to give SU a 10-7 lead just over minutes into the game.
Then, it was Brown’s time to shine.
On Syracuse’s next possession, a scrambling Garrett Shrader found Brown, who outran tacklers and angled toward the near sideline on his way to an electrifying 86-yard touchdown that made it 17-7 with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
Brown was not the only wide receiver with something to prove tonight. Redshirt junior Isaiah Jones, had five receptions and 86 receiving yards. Redshirt sophomore Umari Hatcher earned 83 receiving yards of his own on five catches.
From there, the Orange continued to slice their way through the Broncos defense. Allen added two more rushing touchdowns to help the home team to a 38-7 advantage as the first half ticked away.
Western Michigan tried to salvage something at the end of the second quarter, but sophomore quarterback Jack Salopek missed his target and saw the ball fly right into the arms of senior safety Jason Simmons Jr.
Simmons patiently waited for a lane to open on the return. When it did, the Orange had an 84-yard pick-six and a commanding 45-7 lead going into the break.
Syracuse racked up 496 yards of total offense, with most of the damage coming in the first half. At the tip of the iceberg was Shrader, who had two total touchdowns of his own today, earning himself 286 passing yards and 31 rushing yards.
The early emphasis was on the passing game, as Shrader diced Western Michigan throughout the first 30 minutes. Things weren’t as easy on the ground, as SU finished with 153 rushing yards on 37 carries.
The Orange have outscored their opponents 113-7 through two weeks of play.
The execution of the offense was no surprise to head coach Dino Babers, either. Despite losing Gadsden, he felt his players were bound to play at that level.
“Consistent not occasional,” said Babers as he referred to the execution levels of his offense. “They have a J-O-B. They’re expected to operate at that level.”
In an unfortunate event of injuries, offensive lineman David Wohlabaugh Jr. was also helped off the field by trainers, appearing to favor one leg as he hopped over to the sidelines. Babers said seeing a lineman go down is tough and that not everyone has the ability and capacity to be one.
“Oronde, is definitely the most dependable guy we got in terms of chemistry that I know in terms of where he’s gonna be but we’ve got a long list of guys that can go out and play,” said Shrader.
Babers expects Wohlabaugh Jr.’s injury to be a long-term issue, while Gadsden will be evaluated in the coming days.
Next Saturday, the Orange will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on the Purdue Boilermakers at 7:30 p.m.