Fresh off dramatic victories their last time out, Syracuse and visiting Virginia convene Friday evening for a prime-time Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.
Syracuse (3-0, 1-0 ACC) remained unbeaten with a thrilling 32-29 triumph against Purdue last weekend. Garrett Shrader found Oronde Gadsden II for the decisive touchdown with seven seconds left, capping a 22-point fourth-quarter performance by the Orange.
Shrader and Gadsden hooked up six times for 112 yards and two scores as part of a team performance that coach Dino Baabers believes could propel his program forward.
“This is a spiritual-type game here,” Babers said. “To win a game like that, to have the scoreboard go back and forth from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, through the highs and lows. … There were turns, there were deep valleys and then there were big climbs.”
Virginia (2-1, 0-0) is coming off an exciting victory of its own — a 16-14 win over Old Dominion in which Brendan Farrell kicked the winning 26-yard field goal as time expired.
Brennan Armstrong threw for 284 yards — 118 to Keytaon Thompson — and Xavier Brown ran for 88 yards on nine carries for the Cavaliers. Brown, a freshman tailback, is averaging 7.2 yards per carry on 17 attempts this season.
“As I told him in the locker room afterwards, I’m not a discriminator of age or whatever it may be,” Virginia coach Tony Elliott said. “If you’re the best guy, you’re the best guy. And right now, he’s running with the most tenacity out of all the guys.”
The Orange have a dynamic running back of their own in Sean Tucker, who ran for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Tucker rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the first two games this year, although he authored a quiet Week 3 performance with just 42 yards on 18 carries.
Friday will mark the sixth all-time matchup between the teams, with Virginia leading 3-2. The last meeting, in 2015, was a triple-overtime thriller in which the Cavaliers emerged with a 44-38 home victory.
–Field Level Media