Garrett Shrader connected on a 45 yard touchdown pass to Damien Alford with 19 seconds left as Syracuse stunned Virginia Tech 41-36 to snap its three game losing streak. You can watch the play in the video at the top of the page. With the win, the Orange improved to 4-4 (1-3) on the season. Virginia Tech dropped to 3-4 (1-2).
When Malachi Thomas ran it in from 47 yards out to give Virginia Tech a 36-27 lead with just 5:36 remaining, Syracuse appeared on the verge of its fourth straight loss. A long return from Trebor Pena into Virginia Tech territory allowed the Orange to score in less than three minutes on a 12 yard pass from Shrader to Courtney Jackson.
The defense stepped up and got a stop on Virginia Tech's next possession to give the ball back to the offense with 1:04 left. After Shrader converted a fourth and four with a six yard run, he completed back to back passes including the 45 yard game winner to Alford to lead the Orange to victory.
Shrader finished the game 16-34 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 174 yards and three more scores. Sean Tucker had a big day himself with 112 rushing yards and a touchdown. Syracuse ran for 314 yards overall on its way to 550 yards of total offense.
The game almost came down to missed opportunities for the Orange. In the second quarter looking to tie the game at 14, an Andre Szmyt extra point was blocked and returned for a two point score by Virginia Tech. Late in the first half, Syracuse botched a first and goal at the one with eight seconds left, inexplicably calling two timeouts to prevent a chance at a touchdown. To make matters worse, Szmyt then missed a chip shot 18 yard field goal when the ball bounced off the upright.
Despite that, the Orange kept fighting and clawed its way to the close win.