As we countdown to kickoff in September, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each week over the summer. SU will open its 2017 season when it hosts Central Connecticut State on Sept. 1 at the Carrier Dome.
IN NEED OF A TURNAROUND: Following a 2-8 record in the 2013 season and his third straight losing season, Central Connecticut head coach Jeff McInerney resigned, paving the way for New Haven coach Pete Rossomando to take over the Blue Devils. Prior to joining Central Connecticut, Rossomando was NCAA Division II Coach of the Year, compiling a 42-13 record. Things have not gone as smoothly at his latest stop, with the team going a combined 9-24 over the last three seasons, including 2-9 in the 2016 season. The Blue Devils face another tough non-conference slate this season, with an opening game against Syracuse and also an away game against Youngstown State.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: The Blue Devils lost two All Northeast Conference performers in Shane McQuillan and kicker Ed Groth. McQuillan was part of an offensive attack that set a school record with 2,939 passing yards for the season. Still, Rossomando returns plenty of offensive weapons, including WR Joey Fields and running back Cameron Nash. Fields finished 2016 with 46 receptions for 732 yards and six touchdowns, while Nash had 149 carries for 632 yards and four touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, captain linebacker Randall Laguerre also returns, having racked up a league-high 116 tackles.
PREDICTION: The game should be, if nothing else, fun to watch because both teams enjoy putting the ball in the air. The Blue Devils amassed 3,944 yards of total offense last season, while as we all know, Syracuse set several offensive records in 2016. SYRACUSE 49, CCSU, 17.