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Virginia Tech Preview & Prediction: Syracuse

By Sam Stromberg | October 25
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QB Garrett Shrader scores a TD against Virginia Tech back in Syracuse's 41-36 victory (photo via

Syracuse Orange (4-3, 0-3)

Head Coach: Dino Babers

Offensive Coordinator: Jason Beck (2nd-year as QB coach, 1st-year as OC, formerly QB coach at UVa and BYU; notable QB’s he has developed include Taysom Hill, Kurt Benkert, Bryce Perkins, and Brennan Armstrong)

Defensive Coordinator: Rocky Long (1st year, famous for bringing the 3-3-5 defensive scheme to prominence)

The ‘Cuse started off the 2023 campaign with an impressive 4-0 start, beating Virginia Tech common opponent – Purdue — by 15 points. The Hokies lost to the Boilermakers just a week prior by seven. Things seemed to be going very well for the Orange. QB Garrett Shrader has been OK in 2023. On the ground, Shrader has done some damage. Some Hokie fans may remember his performance in 2021, the last time Syracuse visited Lane Stadium, leaving with a victory. Shrader shredded the Hokies on the ground that October afternoon, and will look to do the same this October evening. At 6’4” 225, the senior Shrader has all the experience in the world and will certainly be a tough assignment for this Virginia Tech defense.

The Orange have since lost three straight, coming at the hands of Clemson, FSU, and UNC, all of which were not very close.

Shrader’s 2023 stats: 1,371 passing yards, 8 TDs, 5 INT’s; 358 rushing yards, 6 rushing TDs

Syracuse lost potential first team All-ACC performer WR/TE Orande Gadsen II to injury at the start of the year. A big blow to the Syracuse passing game, WR’s Umari Hatcher, Isaiah Jones, and Damien Alford have been forced to fill that void. Hatcher, a Woodbridge, VA, native stands at 6’3” and leads the team in yards, receptions, and touchdowns. Alford stands at 6’6”. It’s safe to say, the ‘Cuse have size at receiver.

Sophomore RB LaQuint Allen has had a solid showing thus far in 2023, leading the team with 511 yards on the ground and seven TD’s. They are not scared to drop it down to Allen as well, as he has 23 receptions on the year. Allen notably had an impressive showing against FSU two weeks ago, going for 126 yards total. Allen is one of the better backs Virginia Tech will face this year.

Offensive line play has been overall mediocre for the Orange, giving up nearly three sacks a game. The line has done a good job in creating open space for LaQuint Allen, though. Shrader often evades pressure on his legs.

Defensively, Syracuse tends to run the 3-3-5, with three down lineman, three linebackers, and five defensive backs. UNC and FSU both exposed Syracuse through the air, in their blowout wins. Virginia Tech should look to do the same, taking some downfield shots to Felton, getting Tuten involved around the edges, and finding Lane and Gosnell in the middle of the field. I think Virginia Tech can find some serious success if it commits and pursues this. If there is a DB who has impressed for Syracuse, though, it would be none other than CB Alijah Clark, the 6’1” junior. Clark possesses speed and ball hawk ability that has been shown. Clark, as a CB, is also one of the better tacklers on the team.

Below Clark sits LB Marlow Wax, one of the best players and leader on this defense. Wax has 53 tackles and three forced fumbles. Alongside Wax is 6’4” 240-pound LB Leon Lowry who leads the team in sacks with 3.5. Lowry is a fast, physical player who will come off the edge at times.

Final Thoughts and Prediction

Syracuse is due for a win, especially coming off of an bye. However, Virginia Tech has found an identity with Kyron Drones leading the offense. I like where VT stands in the past game offensively, but the Hokies must contain the run defensively. Lane on a Thursday night under the lights, hopefully, may help as well. Hokies win and cover 3.

Virginia Tech 28 - Syracuse 20

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Been a Hokie fan ever since I can remember. Immensely passionate about journalism and Virginia Tech sports. Go Hokies!

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