In the days leading up to each SU football game, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in “Kickoff Countdown.”
Syracuse seems like its in for a struggle this Saturday against Rutgers, who boasts one of the top defenses in the NCAA.
It is currently fifth overall in points against, allowing just 10.8 points a game, and is second overall in run defense, limiting opponents to 60.6 points per game. The SU running game, ranked 84th at 140.6 yards per game may be in for a tough day. Against Pitt, Syracuse had 120 yards on the ground at 3.6 yards a carry.
“We’re playing an opponent that has one of the top defenses in the country,” Marrone said during the weekly Big East coach’s teleconference on Monday. “Truly they make things happen. Their rushing defense is second in the country. Their scoring defense is fifth.”
It was more of the same against Connecticut. The Scarlet Knights held the Huskies to a single field goal in a 19-3 win while intercepting Chandler Whitmer four times. They’re 5-0 and off to their best start in five years.
“The times when they need to make plays, they’ve got players who are making plays for them,” Marrone said. “They’re 5-0 for a reason.”
That may not be what Syracuse needed as it looks to build off its first win against an FBS team this season.
The Orange offense has stalled over the last two games averaging just 12 points after averaging 32 points in their first three games.
It has coinceded with quarterback Ryan Nassib’s decline. He averaged 379 yards in the first three games of the season with nine touchdowns. In the last two? Just 206 yards and one touchdown to three interceptions.
While no one expects Syracuse to score only three points against Rutgers, everyone is expecting a low scoring game on both sides.