Andre Szmyt kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to secure a 24-21 win for the Orange Friday night, besting the previously unbeaten Flames who entered tonight’s game having won 15-of-16 games dating back to 2019.
It took a goal line stop and a takeaway from the Orange defense to even put ‘Cuse in that position. After driving the length of the field, Kingsley Jonathan held up Flames’ QB Malik Willis on fourth and one, giving Syracuse the ball back. After the Orange punted it back to the flames again, the Orange came up with a crucial takeaway. Cody Roscoe stood up Willis on a scramble, Marlowe Wax ripped the ball out, and Mikel Jones came up with the recovery.
Syracuse drove deep into the Liberty territory to setup the eventual game-winner as time expired.
Sean Tucker led the Orange with 168 rushing yards becoming the 14th player in program history to record six or more 100-yard rushing games. He’s done so in just 13 games. Tucker ran for a score. All three Orange touchdowns came on the ground, as quarterback Garrett Shrader made his first Syracuse start and rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
The Orange scored first with a one-yard touchdown rush by Shrader two and a half minutes into the second quarter. Syracuse extended its lead to two scores when Tucker found a hole on the left side of Liberty’s defense and exploded down the sideline for 27 yards at 9:51. Liberty cut the lead to 14-7 with a seven yard touchdown run with under two minutes to go in the first half.
Shrader’s second touchdown of the game, a rush up the middle made it 21-7 but Liberty responded with two unanswered touchdowns to tie the game 21-all, before Syracuse came away with the ball and the eventual scoring drive.
Roscoe had two of Syracuse’s six sacks in the game. He entered Friday night’s game ranked No. 11 in the nation for sacks per game. Wax also had two sacks to complement his forced fumble.
Syracuse improves to 3-1 on the season and next travels to Florida State for the ACC opener. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 in Tallahassee.
COURTESY SYRACUSE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS