Syracuse football dominates in yards gained, but Gophers make big plays

Syracuse football (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Syracuse football (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Suiting up in the team’s first bowl game since the 2018 season, Syracuse football was hoping to notch its 8th win of the 2022 term, but the Orange was missing a flood of its players when the ‘Cuse battled Big Ten Conference member Minnesota on Thursday afternoon in New York City.

A lot of young Orange players saw considerable action in the 2022 Pinstripe Bowl from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., and freshman running back LeQuint Allen Jr. showed that he should have a promising future on the Hill.

However, it’s brutally tough to replace guys such as running back Sean Tucker, linebacker Mikel Jones, cornerback Garrett Williams, cornerback Duce Chestnut, defensive back Ja’Had Carter and offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron, among others.

Numerous Syracuse football stars opted out of the bowl game, as they have declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. Other Orange players are in the NCAA’s transfer portal.

So I credit the ‘Cuse roster that did compete on Thursday in the Big Apple, but Syracuse football couldn’t muster up enough big plays to keep up with the Golden Gophers. Minnesota (9-4) would prevail, 28-20.

Syracuse football did manage to complete its 2022 stanza with a winning record.

With this setback, the Orange finishes at 7-6 after the ‘Cuse went 5-7 in 2021 and 1-10 in 2020. In the most recent season, Syracuse football jumped out to a 6-0 start and resided in the top-25 polls, but then the Orange proceeded to go 1-6 the rest of the way.

Against the Golden Gophers, Syracuse football held a massive advantage in total yards gained, at 477 to 213, according to ESPN statistics.

However, as the Orange clawed back from an initial 14-0 deficit to cut the margin to 14-10 in the third quarter, quarterback Garrett Shrader threw a dagger pick-six, making the score 21-10.

The ‘Cuse would collect a field goal, putting the game at 21-13. But then Minnesota would tally an extensive kick-off return and quickly score a touchdown to grow its lead to 28-13.

That pick-six and long kick-off return were two massive plays executed by the Golden Gophers that really proved challenging for Syracuse football to overcome.

Shrader would add an eight-yard touchdown run to cut the margin to 28-20, which would be the final result.

From a statistical standpoint, the Orange was fairly dominant. It had a nine-minute edge in time of possession. Shrader threw for 330 yards, rushed for 38 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground.

Allen is going to be a star. He rushed for 94 yards and also had 60 receiving yards. Wide receiver Devaughn Cooper hauled in 114 receiving yards as well.

What began as a glorious ride for Syracuse football in 2022 turned sort of sour in the second half of this season, but the Orange still did improve upon its victory total from a term ago.

Next. Syracuse Football: Historic career of Sean Tucker comes to end on the Hill. dark