Sep 23, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) runs with the ball for a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Szmyt’s five field goals allow Syracuse to top Virginia

Andre Szmyt tied the Syracuse record by making five field goals, including the decisive boot with 1:14 remaining, as the host Orange nipped Virginia 22-20 on Friday evening.

Syracuse (4-0, 2-0 ACC) benefited from a third-down facemask penalty on Virginia (2-2, 0-1) on the final drive. Shortly thereafter, Garrett Shrader’s 12-yard scramble set up Szmyt for the winning kick.

The Cavaliers drove to near midfield on their last-minute drive, but Brennan Armstrong’s final two passes fell incomplete.

Shrader finished 22 of 33 for 277 yards with an interception and a rushing score for the Orange, who won despite committing four turnovers. Oronde Gadsden II led Syracuse with seven catches for 113 yards.

Armstrong went 19 of 38 for 138 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Perris Jones contributed 87 rushing yards and a touchdown for Virginia, which committed two turnovers, missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked.

Trebor Pena ignited Syracuse by returning the game’s opening kickoff 57 yards. The Orange offense needed only five plays to cover the final 41 yards, capped by a 17-yard TD scramble by Shrader.

The Cavaliers then missed field goals on consecutive possessions as Brendan Farrell was wide right from 50 and then from 48. Following the second miss, the Orange drove 11 plays and Szmyt kicked a 26-yarder to make it 10-0.

Armstrong fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, setting up Syracuse deep in Virginia territory. The Orange generated no offense on that drive, but Szmyt drilled a 32-yard field goal for a 13-0 cushion.

The senior kicker booted another field goal late in the first half to make it 16-0.

Keytaon Thompson got Virginia on the board on the opening drive of the second half, plunging in from 1 yard out. Pena fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Cavaliers were back in the end zone two plays later, this time on a 4-yard run by Jones.

The Orange then converted three third downs — including a third-and-18 — as part of a 14-play drive that Szmyt punctuated with a 40-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter.

The score remained 19-13 until Virginia scored on fourth-and-goal from the 4 with 5:51 remaining in the contest. Armstrong found Lavel Davis Jr. over the middle for the TD, and the extra point put the visitors in front.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) scrambles with the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Pitt, shooting for 10-win season, meets Syracuse

While Pat Narduzzi is focused on the 2021 season, there are two other years the coach of No. 17 Pitt is keeping in mind heading into Saturday’s road game against Syracuse.

The first is 1981. The second is 2018.

Regarding 1981, that was the last time Pitt won 10 games in a regular season. The Panthers sit at 9-2, 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, heading into their regular-season finale.

“It’s been a long time,” Narduzzi said. “To me, that means something. In 40 years, there’s something to prove when we go up there this weekend.”

As for 2018, Pitt wrapped up the ACC Coastal Division with one game to play that year — the same scenario the team is in now. The 2018 Panthers ended up losing their regular-season finale to Miami before getting hammered by Clemson in the ACC title game and then falling to Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

Narduzzi did not rest his starters in that game against Miami and doesn’t plan to do it this time around either, even with the ACC championship game awaiting in early December.

“(Whether we’ll rest our starters) would be a natural question: ‘Let’s go up there and keep them all healthy and play our backups and get ready for the championship game,’” Narduzzi said. “I would love to do that, but I don’t see us doing that.”

Pitt has not been held below 27 points in any game this season and enters the weekend averaging 43.9 points — third best in the nation — and 370.1 passing yards, which ranks fifth in Division I FBS.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver Jordan Addison hooked up for 202 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 48-38 triumph over Virginia. Pickett was announced this week as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding player, while Addison is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, an honor that goes to the most outstanding receiver.

“This is a doggone good football team that’s going to have an opportunity to play in the title game of the ACC,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “And they definitely deserve it.”

The Orange (5-6, 2-5), meanwhile, need a win to guarantee their first bowl berth since 2018. They have absorbed consecutive losses to Louisville and North Carolina State by a combined 82-20 margin, giving them one last shot to prove the doubters wrong before the regular season concludes.

“I remember when the season started,” Babers said to reporters. “I remember who was on the hot seat. I remember we weren’t supposed to win more than three games. I read all your articles, everybody in here. And then all of a sudden, we decided we weren’t going to be bad, we were going to be good, and everybody changed their expectations.

“Our expectations in here have never changed, and our goal has always been the same.”

One highlight of Syracuse’s season has been the play of running back Sean Tucker, who last week broke the school’s 42-year-old record for rushing yards in a season. The freshman has 1,467 rushing yards, 49 yards shy of Central Michigan’s Lew Nichols for the FBS lead.

Pitt has won 14 of the last 16 matchups, including a 21-10 win last season. Pickett threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in that victory.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Damien Alford (82) is tackled by Boston College Eagles cornerback JT Thompson (33) in the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Tucker, Syracuse rush past Boston College

Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader combined for 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground to help Syracuse rout regional rival Boston College 21-6 at home in an Atlantic Coast Conference clash on Saturday afternoon.

Tucker had 26 carries for a career-high 207 yards and a touchdown for the Orange (5-4, 2-3 ACC), who earned their second straight win. The freshman running back entered the day leading the nation in all-purpose yardage with 1,298 yards.

Shrader was 5-of-14 passing for 65 yards under center while rushing for 78 yards and a score on 16 carries. The sophomore quarterback had five total TDs in Syracuse’s come-from-behind 41-36 win at Virginia Tech last Saturday.

Boston College freshman quarterback Emmett Morehead finished 6-of-15 for 87 yards in his collegiate debut after replacing starter Dennis Grosel in the second quarter.

The junior Grosel returned late in the fourth and finished 9-of-17 passing for 93 yards.

Zay Flowers totaled 116 yards receiving on six catches while Pat Garwo III rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries for the Eagles (4-4, 0-4 ACC), who have gone winless since opening the season with four straight wins.

The Eagles led 3-0 at halftime and doubled their lead at 9:42 of the third quarter on a 24-yard field goal by Connor Lytton.

After a 37-yard gain in the opening half, Tucker broke free for a 51-yard touchdown run up the middle to put the Orange ahead 7-6 with 7:53 left in the third.

Shrader gave Syracuse a 14-7 lead with another big run on a 48-yard rumble down the sideline for a touchdown at 4:27 of the third.

After a three-and-out for BC, Grant Carlson returned an Eagles punt for a 46-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 with three minutes left before the fourth.

BC handed the keys to Morehead on its first drive of the second quarter. Morehead’s first pass attempt on 2nd-and-8 fell incomplete before the freshman hit Flowers for a 4-yard gain on 3rd down for his first career completion.

Lytton’s 31-yard field goal put BC on the board with 12:26 to play before halftime.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Justyn Ross (8) catches the ball in front of Syracuse Orange linebacker Marlowe Wax (2) during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson hangs on as Syracuse misses late FG

Syracuse’s Andre Szmyt missed a 48-yard field goal with 43 seconds left as Clemson held on for a 17-14 victory over host Syracuse on Friday night.

It was fifth game this season decided by a touchdown or less for Clemson (4-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), the six-time defending league champion.

The Tigers have won eight of their past nine meetings with Syracuse (3-4, 0-3), which lost its third consecutive game, all by three points.

Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei completed a season-high 21 passes on 34 attempts for 181 yards and a touchdown. However, the Tigers once again had to rely on their defense, which entered the night ranked second in the nation in opponents’ scoring at 12.5 points per game.

Syracuse running back Sean Tucker, who has rushed for 100 yards or more in six of seven games this season, had 132 yards by halftime Friday. He was held to only 25 in the second half.

The game was close throughout. Clemson broke a scoreless tie by driving 87 yards in 13 plays early in the second quarter for a 19-yard touchdown reception by Joseph Ngata in the far right edge of the end zone.

Syracuse responded on its ensuring possession, driving 91 yards for a tying touchdown. Tucker set the Orange up with a 39-yard run to the Clemson 2-yard line, and quarterback Garrett Shrader dashed untouched around the left side on the next play, knotting the game with 5:33 left in the first half.

Clemson came back to grab a 14-7 lead with nine seconds remaining in the half, driving 58 yards in 13 plays in just 1:58. The Tigers converted a fourth-and-5 on the drive when punter Will Spiers — who played quarterback in high school — lofted a 17-yard pass to tight end Davis Allen for the first down.

Justyn Ross then snagged a 15-yard pass to set the Tigers up at the 2, and running back Kobe Pace bulled in on the next play. Pace led Clemson with 76 yards on 14 carries.

After a scoreless third quarter, Clemson extended its lead to 17-7 with a 40-yard field goal by B.T. Potter with 9:22 left in the game. Syracuse struck back quickly, getting a 62-yard touchdown pass from Shrader to Trevor Pena on its next possession to pull within 17-14 with 7:18 left.

Syracuse then drove from its own 7-yard line to the Clemson 30 where Szmyt, who earlier in the game became the school’s all-time leading scorer, came up short with 38 seconds remaining.

Shrader completed 17 of 37 passes for 191 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Trebor Pena (29) goes to recover a muffed punt return as Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights long snapper Billy Taylor (47) come in during the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers wins defensive battle vs. Syracuse

Defensive back Max Melton forced a pair of turnovers as visiting Rutgers did enough in the second half to record a 17-7 victory over host Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.

The Scarlet Knights improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2014 – their first season in the Big Ten and most recent appearance in a bowl game.

Rutgers eventually got enough done in a game in which neither team scored until there was 6:46 remaining in the third quarter. The teams were a combined 5-for-29 on third downs.

After guiding eight scoring drives in last week’s 61-14 rout of Temple, Noah Vedral (22 of 28 for 145 yards, touchdown) guided three scoring drives that resulted in points being scored in different ways.

Kyle Monangai scored on an 11-yard touchdown for the game’s first points and Vedral connected with Jovani Haskins for a 30-yard TD in the final seconds of the third. Valentino Ambrosio made a 27-yard field goal for Rutgers’ final points.

Melton blocked a punt in the first half and then sealed the win with an interception with 41 seconds left.

Syracuse (1-1, 0-0 ACC) was unable to do much offensively — no matter who it used as quarterback.

Tommy Devito completed 15 of 26 passes for 149 yards while Garret Shrader played two series in the first half. He was 4-of-6 for 42 yards.

Taj Harris finished with eight receptions for 122 yards and Sean Tucker rushed for 54 yards and a TD. The Orange maintained possession for only 24:04.

Syracuse missed two chances to score the game’s first points in the final minute of the first half. On first-and-10 from the Rutgers 38, Shrader’s pass to an open Courtney Jackson was incomplete. Right before halftime, Andre Szmyt missed a 43-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

After Syracuse coach Dino Babers was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Monangai gave Rutgers a 7-0 lead with 6:46 remaining. On the ensuing drive, Devito completed a 51-yard pass to Harris to set up Tucker’s game-tying 24-yard score with 5:54 remaining.

The Scarlet Knights regained the lead at 14-7 with 24 seconds left when Vedral found a wide open Haskins up the middle for a 30-yard TD.

Immediately after Ambrosio’s miss, Devito was stripped in the pocket by Mayan Ahanotu and the fumble was recovered by CJ Onyechi at the Syracuse 10. A little over two minutes later, Ambrosio booted a 27-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) takes a direct snap in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

RB Sean Tucker powers Syracuse past Ohio

Sean Tucker rushed for a career-high 181 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to power visiting Syracuse in a 29-9 win over Ohio in a nonconference matchup on Saturday night in Athens, Ohio.

Syracuse (1-0) won for the seventh time in its last eight season openers and claimed its eighth straight victory against the Mid-American Conference. Quarterback Tommy DeVito completed 11 of 17 passes for just 92 yards, but he added 49 rushing yards and a score on the ground.

Ohio (0-1) lost the head coaching debut for Tim Albin, the program’s long-time offensive coordinator who was elevated to the head role in July following the retirement of Frank Solich. Kurtis Rourke hit on 21 of 28 passes for 142 yards with an interception and even caught a 38-yard pass for the Bobcats, who managed just nine points on three trips into the red zone on the night.

Jerome Buckner hauled in seven catches for 102 yards, De’Montre Tuggle added 65 yards rushing, and Stephen Johnson kicked three short field goals of 22, 30 and 25 yards for Ohio.

Syracuse pulled away with a pair of third-quarter scores to take a 22-6 lead into the final frame. Andre Szmyt kicked a 20-yard field goal, and then Tucker found paydirt on a 6-yard touchdown run for the 16-point lead with 40 seconds left in the quarter.

Ohio pulled to within 22-9 with 11:21 left on Johnson’s third field goal, but Syracuse answered with Cooper Lutz’ 11-yard touchdown run with 5:15 left for the 29-9 final score.

Orange receiver Taj Harris had six catches for 29 yards and broke his tie with Marvin Harrison for sixth place on the Syracuse career receptions list. Syracuse finished with 280 rushing yards on 44 carries, and averaged 6.4 per attempt.

Ohio out gained Syracuse 171-139 in the first half and had a better than a seven-minute edge in time of possession … but trailed 12-6 at the break.

The Bobcats’ first drive took 12 plays and eight minutes off the clock but ended with a missed 50-yard field goal. Syracuse took the lead just five plays later when DeVito kept the ball on a read for a 6-yard touchdown run.

On the following kickoff, returner Tuggle muffed the return and was tackled on his own 1-yard line. Ohio’s next play was a dive to Tuggle, and he was swarmed under for a safety, and Syracuse led 9-0 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats got on the board with 13:33 left in the half on Johnson’s 22-yard field goal. Syracuse answered with Szmyt hitting from 29 yards, and Ohio closed the half with Johnson’s 30-yard field goal with just 19 seconds remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback Bailey Hockman (16) passes the ball in the third quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State looks to lock in against skidding Syracuse

North Carolina State struggled defensively in consecutive losses to North Carolina and Miami.

The last two games, however, have gone better for North Carolina State’s defense. The Wolfpack look to continue producing on the defensive end Saturday afternoon when they visit last-place Syracuse.

The Wolfpack (6-3, 5-3 ACC) enter Saturday with two straight wins after allowing a combined 92 points to the Tar Heels and Hurricanes. Before that two-game stretch, NC State had not allowed more than 29 points since a pair of high-scoring games in the first two weeks of the season – a win over Wake Forest and a loss to Virginia Tech.

Since losing to Miami, the Wolfpack have allowed 36 points while beating Florida State and then top 25-ranked Liberty. On Saturday, the Wolfpack eked out a 15-14 win over the Flames when linebacker Vi Jones blocked a 39-yard field goal with 1:18 remaining.

The blocked field goal came on a night when NC State’s defense allowed 279 yards while registering three sacks and three takeaways. The defense compensated for an offense that struggled at times by converting 4 of 14 third downs and committing nine penalties.

“Defense, obviously, was really, really good tonight,” Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said. “The three takeaways, the fourth-down stop, blocked field goal to win it, they carried us. It was awesome to see those kids rise up against a really good Liberty offense.”

NC State’s next challenge is not letting up against an opponent ravaged by injuries and has the least effective offense in the ACC. Syracuse (1-8, 1-7 ACC) lost quarterback Tommy DeVito to injury five games ago and has sputtered offensively with an offense that ranks last in the conference in scoring (16.2 points), rushing yards (86.7) and passing yards (163).

“They are always a tough team when we play them up there,” Doeren said of Syracuse, which scored 51 points against the visiting Wolfpack in 2018. “It’s a team that will play hard and have an edge to them.”

In Friday’s 30-0 loss at Louisville, quarterback JaCobian Morgan exited with an apparent head injury after being sacked in the third quarter. Morgan completed 5 of 12 passes for 40 yards and one interception while getting sacked three times before the injury.

Morgan’s status remains unknown for NC State, but Syracuse is desperate to halt a six-game losing skid. The Orange have been outscored 207-93 since beating Georgia Tech on Sept. 26.

In last Friday’s loss, Syracuse finished with 137 yards, got seven first downs, and crossed midfield just three times. The defense, which started five freshmen, allowed 26 first downs and was on the field for more than 41 minutes.

“Those guys got twice as many plays as us, our defense was out there twice as many times,” Orange coach Dino Babers said ‘It gets to be disappointing, obviously, not being able to produce on one side of the ball. It gets extremely frustrating.”

North Carolina State leads the all-time series 11-2. The Wolfpack totaled eight sacks in a 16-10 win at Raleigh last season.

–Field Level Media