Syracuse and Garrett Shrader take the passing game to a new level in blowout win over UConn
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After recording 236 passing yards and a 72% completion percentage against Louisville, Garrett Shrader had a passing rating of 94.1, according to Pro Football Focus. Coming off a blowout victory over the Cardinals, one of Syracuse’s conference kryptonites, Shrader showcased his offseason improvements against a 1-1 UConn team, leading to new career highs.
A season ago, Shrader rushed for over 200 yards twice. But on Saturday, the junior threw for 292 yards, the most of his career. He finished with three passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and made 87% of his shots.
Here’s how Shrader’s arm led Syracuse in their 48-14 win over UConn:
55 yard penny
Both of Shrader’s passing touchdowns against Louisville relied on either Sean Tucker’s legs or a wide receiver connection in the red zone. Facing a weaker UConn defense, Shrader fully tested his deep passing range.
His first long completion ended with Damien Alford waltzing into the end zone. At the snap of his fingers, Shrader lined up next to Tucker and faked a pass to second-year running back. Instead, he looked for a pass with all of his receivers running deep routes.
UConn’s Tre Wortham covered Alford on the outside, but he maintained outside leverage to try and force the wide inside. Alford didn’t go all the way to the middle though, instead going down the right hash on his own. Shrader immediately recognized the open space, throwing the ball to his 6’6″ receiver.
Wortham dove forward. But Alford pushed on, collecting the ball at the UConn 15-yard line. His score put Syracuse up 16-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Given Tucker’s pedigree and considering that last season Shrader was more of a quarterback, UConn was hesitant to step back into its pass coverage. Shrader saw no pressure on the 2nd and long, creating an opportunity for an easy throw.
Find the open man
In the final minute of the first half, Shrader, under a bit more pressure, backed off and signaled the option to get rid of a quick screen pass to Tucker. Cornerback Kaleb Anthony picked up Tucker as he moved to the right sideline, leaving Courtney Jackson to enter the second tier intact. Tucker’s route also distracted a UConn linebacker, opening up a passing lane for Shrader.
Shrader delivered a perfectly timed pass inches from the end zone and Jackson stepped in for the score to give the Orange a 20-point halftime lead. Opposing secondaries usually focus on Tucker, especially in the red zone. Here, Jackson’s direct route to the end zone was overlooked, as Shrader and the SU offense capitalized on another mistake by the UConn defense.
Run it back
Minutes into the fourth quarter with a 1-and-1 from the UConn 39-yard line, the Orange made the same play, on which Alford scored. Shrader backed into the deep pocket with no Huskies within six yards of him. D’Marcus Adams, in the Alford position, sprinted into the right chop and headed straight for the end zone.
When Adams reached the 30-yard line, Shrader began his throwing motion as Adams ran to Wortham’s right, a clash again favoring the Syracuse receiver. Wortham slowly backed up to his left, leaving plenty of room for the rushing Adams to open to his right.
As Shrader sent the through pass, Adams had already taken advantage of Wortham. Adams grabbed the three-yard line and rolled into the end zone, cementing Syracuse’s 48-14 blowout and Shrader’s third pass touchdown of the night.
Published September 12, 2022 at 10:36 p.m.
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