Syracuse will host Central Michigan this Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng gave their predictions below:
BRAD BIERMAN: For the second straight week, there’s a specific individual member of the opposing program headed into the Dome receiving a lot of highlighted attention.
After all eyes were focused on Scott Shafer’s return with Middle Tennessee State last weekend, into the Dome Saturday is the reappearance of Central Michigan (2-0) defensive lineman Mitch Stanitzek, who was last seen in these parts being escorted off the field after his ejection for a violet helmet-to-helmet blow delivered to Syracuse (1-1) quarterback Eric Dungey in the Orange’s 30-27 OT win in 2015.
Stanitzek missed virtually all of last season with an injury, and of course Dungey has not made it completely through each of his two seasons at the ‘Cuse, but both sides say they have moved on and are strictly focusing on this season’s next game Saturday, which is critical for SU’s bowl chances, and an opportunity for CMU to follow-up a win at Kansas by beating another Power 5 team on the road.
The Chippewas will throw the ball offensively and test the Orange secondary with Michigan transfer Shane Morris at quarterback (693 yards in two games), but he’s down a couple of starting wide receivers and tight end due to injury. SU will again try to establish some sort of running game to mesh with Dungey directing the quick-pace of passing the ball (78 attempts in two games). Steve Ishmael is tied for the most catches among FBS receivers with 26, and figures to get plenty of attention by the CMU defense.
In the end, we see a back-and-forth game with a late score the difference. That would be Syracuse winning 35-32 on a Cole Murphy 37 yard field goal with just over a minute to play.
WES CHENG: While everyone, rightfully so, is talking about Michigan transfer Shane Morris’ 467 passing yards in a 46-27 win over Kansas in week 2, Syracuse should take comfort in KU quarterback Peyton Bender.
Though he threw two costly interceptions in the loss, he also threw for 323 yards, spreading the ball to nine different receivers. Kansas’ ground game also moved the ball well against the Chippewas, rushing for 147 yards and 4.3 yards per rush.
Those numbers should have Syracuse salivating at the opportunity to get its offense back on track. While Scott Shafer did a number against his old team, holding the Orange to under 400 total yards, and less than 200 through the air, this isn’t the aggressive blitzing defense that SU saw last week.
Quarterback Eric Dungey does need to be careful, though. CMU already has eight interceptions to its name this season, three coming from Josh Cox.
This matchup will come down to which defense can make a stand at the right time. My money is on a bounce back week from Syracuse in a narrow seven-point win.