SYRACUSE — Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker continued to run through the Syracuse University football record books on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a second straight heartbreaking loss for the Orange.
Shrader and Tucker combined for 331 net rushing yards but No. 19/20 Wake Forest outlasted Syracuse, 40-37, in overtime in front of 38,554 fans at the Carrier Dome.
The Orange fell to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and has suffered back-to-back losses on the final play after dropping its ACC opener at Florida State, 33-30, on a last-second field goal the week prior. SU will next host Clemson at 7 p.m. Friday.
“It’s tough because these are very close games, games we know we can win, and it’s a tough atmosphere (in the locker room),” SU linebacker Mikel Jones said. “We know we’re going to use these mistakes to keep getting better, and we have a big opportunity coming up this Friday to show the ACC and the fans what we’re capable of.”
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman connected with A.T. Perry in the back corner of the end zone on the second play of their OT possession for the game-winning score. Perry made a sensational catch, twisting his body around while falling to the turf, and maintained his balance enough to secure the grab.
Andre Szmyt kicked a 38-yard field goal for SU on their overtime series to give the Orange a brief 37-34 edge before succumbing on the other end to the unbeaten Demon Deacons (6-0, 4-0).
Syracuse forced the extra session when Shrader found Tucker for a 28-yard passing touchdown with 21 seconds left in regulation to cap off a thrilling 94-yard drive in just over three minutes that tied the game at 34 apiece following the extra point.
Syracuse coach Dino Babers initially sent his offense back out for a potential game-winning two-point conversion try, but the Orange was penalized for a delay of game and opted to go for the game-tying extra point afterward.
“The biggest thing is that there wasn’t a sense of urgency for us to go back out on the football field, certain cats were taking their time and we needed to speed that thing up,” Babers said. “It was disappointing. I didn’t want it to go to overtime.”
Shrader finished with a career-best 178 rushing yards and a touchdown on 29 attempts while completing 15 of 27 passes 160 yards and two additional scores. He scored on a 5-yard run to give SU a 21-10 edge in the second quarter and found Anthony Queeley for a 24-yard TD pass early.
Shrader became just the third SU quarterback since 1979 to provide consecutive 100-yard rushing performances.
Tucker added 153 rushing yards on 26 carries and ran for a 13-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to push SU ahead, 27-26, to respond on the ensuing series after Wake Forest took its first advantage.
He also got the scoring started for SU with a six-yard first quarter touchdown and added three catches for 29 yards, including the game-tying touchdown catch near the end of regulation.
The second-year freshman running back has surpassed 100 yards in four straight games, one shy of matching Curtis Brinkley for the team-record streak established in 2008. Tucker has amassed 791 rushing yards thus far and remains on pace to surpass Joe Morris (1,372 in 1979) for SU’s single-season rushing record.
The Orange finished with 376 rushing yards overall for its highest team total in seven seasons, despite playing without three of its top six offensive linemen for most of the game.
“I just need to stay hungry, run harder, and do everything better than I did this week to help my team get a win,” Tucker said.
Hartman went 19-for-32 for 330 passing yards and three touchdowns to lead Wake Forest. Perry finished with 137 receiving yards and caught all three TDs while Jaquarii Roberson added nine catches for 135 yards.
Hartman also scored a one-yard rushing touchdown with 48 seconds left in the second quarter to cut the SU edge to 21-17 going into halftime. He connected with Roberson for a first down pass on 3rd-and-23 earlier in that drive after Babers accepted a holding penalty called on WFU.