Syracuse snags win over Liberty on last second field-goal

Syracuse upsets Liberty and moves to 3-1

Andre Szmyt’s kick and Sean Tucker’s run game help the Orange improve to 3-1.
Published: September 25, 2021
Syracuse Football team celebrates after kicker Andrew Szmyt scores a field goal for a walkoff win against Liberty University at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY on September 24, 2021. The Orange come away with the win, 27-24 Friday night.
Syracuse celebrates after kicker Andre Szmyt drills a walk-off field goal to beat Liberty on Sept. 24, 2021.

Syracuse pulled out a big win over Liberty on Friday night after a nerve-wracking second half. Redshirt junior placekicker Andre Szmyt knocked in the game-winning 35-yard field goal as the time clock expired. SU’s win over the Flames marked their second win in a row for the first time in 2021.

The game started with an uneventful first quarter compared to the rest of the night. Both offenses had small successes early, but neither team reached the endzone in the first 15 minutes. Tensions were high heading into the second quarter to see who would score first.

In the first two minutes, Syracuse struck first with a rushing touchdown from sophomore quarterback Garrett Shrader. The score highlighted a strong game for Shrader in the first start of his Syracuse career. Redshirt junior Tommy DeVito started the first three games of the season for the Orange.

“Coach brought us down a couple hours before the game, it was in the hotel, he set us down face to face and said he gave me the green light. I was ready to go,” Shrader said. “I was happy to hear that and I’m thankful for the opportunity. But I’m really glad we got the win.”

Shrader also assisted freshman running back Sean Tucker in getting the Orange their second touchdown of the game. Syracuse clung to a 14-0 before Liberty scored their first touchdown with less than two minutes left in the first half.

Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Syracuse's Sean Tucker (34) looks at Liberty's Javon Scruggs (1) while running towards the end zone for a touchdown on Friday night.

The third quarter was tough for SU, as Liberty scored two unanswered touchdowns to tie the game 21-21. Close to driving in their fourth touchdown of the night, the Flames were stopped by sophomore linebacker Mikel Jones and Syracuse’s defense on fourth and goal.

To end the game, Shrader earned a first down with his legs and set up good field position for Szmyt’s game-winning field goal attempt. The kick was good, and the Orange sealed the night, 24-21.

“I think this win for the community, and this win for the university, and the student body tells you exactly how much the twelfth man is valued,” Head Coach Dino Babers said.

Tonight was the third time Syracuse and Liberty played in the last three years, and the second time Syracuse came out on top to end their non-conference games.

Syracuse hits the road for the first time in three weeks and heads to Florida State for their ACC Opener next week. Kick-off is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Syracuse's Mikel Jones (3) and Marlowe Wax (2) celebrate with teammates after sacking Liberty's quarterback Malik Willis.
Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Liberty's Noah Firth (81) catches a ball over Syracuse's Garrett Williams (8) on Sept. 24, 2021.
Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Syracuse's Sean Tucker (34) leaps past a diving Liberty Flames player on Friday night.
Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Liberty's Chris Megginson (4) Syracuse's Damien Alford (82) and Liberty's Robert Rahimi (6) reach for an errant pass.
Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Syracuses's Sean Tucker (34) evades Liberty's defensive line on Sept. 24, 2021.
Syracuse Football vs Liberty Flames
Syracuse's Joe Rondi (61) celebrates with the student section after beating Liberty 24-21 on Friday night.