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Garrett Shrader hit Oronde Gadsden II for a 25-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining to lead Syracuse to a 32-29 victory over Purdue on Saturday.
That touchdown throw capped a wild fourth quarter of dramatic swings up front. Syracuse led 10-9 after three quarters and outscored the Boilermakers 22-20 in the final period. Orange improved to 3-0, their best start since 2018. Purdue fell to 1-2.
Aidan O’Connell’s 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Payne Durham with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter gave the Boilermakers a 29-25 lead and appeared to seal it for Purdue.
O’Connell, who completed 38 of 54 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns, threw for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rescue the Boilermakers from a 10-point deficit. Charlie Jones caught 11 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.
But before those heroics from O’Connell, Syracuse scored two touchdowns in nine seconds and led 25-15 midway through the fourth quarter.
Shrader’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Gadsden on fourth-and-one gave Syracuse an 18-15 lead after Shrader ran for a 2-point conversion. That touchdown happened with 8:17 left in the game.
On Purdue’s next possession, SU’s Jatius Geer wrapped up O’Connell as the Purdue quarterback attempted a pass. The ball wobbled into the hands of Orange defensive end Caleb Okechukwu, who jogged 17 yards into the end zone.
Syracuse led 25-15 at the time, but O’Connell connected with favorite receiver Jones for a 55-yard touchdown that pulled the Boilermakers within 25-22 with 6:41 remaining in the game. A missed 41-yard field goal by Mitchell Fineran with 2:54 remaining could have tied it.
The teams had met only once before, when in 2004 Purdue beat Orange 51-0 at Ross-Ade Stadium.
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THE TO GO
Purdue: The Boilermakers were without running back King Doerue, who is suffering from a calf injury. Doerue rushed for 68 yards of 18 attempts with three touchdowns in Purdue’s first two games. Without him, the Boilermakers struggled to get a lot going, but usually got a lot in the air from O’Connell. The Purdue quarterback had plenty of time in the first half and threw for 175 yards on 21-of-27 attempts. Syracuse put more pressure on him in the second half, but O’Connell still successfully threw deep.
Syracuse: Shrader had been one of the nation’s most accurate passers in his first two games this season (38-48, .792), but Purdue put sustained pressure on him early on, forcing Shrader to struggle and quit mainly an air attack. He completed 4 of 10 passes for just 35 yards in the first half. He was much more effective in the second half, completing 9 of 19 passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Purdue shut down Syracuse running back Sean Tucker, who rushed 18 times for 42 yards.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Purdue hosts Florida Atlantic on Saturday night.
Syracuse continues its four-game homestand against ACC foe Virginia on Friday night.