Syracuse will try to open the season 4-0 when it hosts Connecticut at the Carrier Dome on Saturday at noon. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng gave their predictions for the game.
BRAD BIERMAN (Season Predictions, 3-0): Wouldn’t you have enjoyed being inside the Syracuse football compound this week as the offensive coaching staff and that unit were watching wide-eyed on the big screen or their personal devices as Connecticut (1-2) surrendered 56, 62, and 49 points, respectively, in losses at home to Central Florida and at Boise State, and a win over FCS Rhode Island (the last time SU faced Rhode Island in 2015, the final was 47-0)?
The timing of this game fits well with the more important ACC meeting at Big Dog Clemson the following Saturday, giving Dino Babers and his assistants another opportunity to assess the 21 first or second year players (including redshirts) who made the participation report against Florida State last week.
We have a feeling, as we wrote in the preseason, that Randy Edsall will have his team fired up to play on the site where he suited up for Frank Maloney (1976-79) and assisted Dick MacPherson (1981-1990), and his team will respond trailing only 14-10 at halftime.
But after just missing on several scoring opportunities over the first 30 minutes, the Orange offense finds its groove with Tommy DeVito getting plenty of reps and throwing for two touchdowns before exiting with the ‘Cuse up 38-14, the Huskies scoring 10 late points to make the final score Syracuse 38, Connecticut 24, the first 4-0 start since 1991, and only the third in 32 seasons.
Afterwards, Edsall, in the hallway outside his team’s locker room, will praise the job his counterpart Babers has done at his alma mater, proclaiming, “The program is in great hands.”
WES CHENG (Season Predictions, 2-1): Here’s an interesting stat: Connecticut is the only team in the country to allow more than 2,000 yards on defense through the first three games of the season.
The Huskies are one of the most inexperienced defenses in the country, with several true freshmen starting in the secondary. That has led to a defense that is now ranked 129th after giving up 167 points through three games.
That should leave Syracuse’s uptempo offense drooling for the opportunity. Expect Syracuse to take control early, which will allow their younger players a chance to showcase themselves. In particular, Syracuse will try to get careful looks at running back Jarveon Howard in the backfield and Taj Harris through the air.
The only hope is that head coach Dino Babers knows when to sit quarterback Eric Dungey. He was kept out a bit too much against Western Michigan and then kept in a little too long against Wagner. Surely, he can strike a good balance this week as Syracuse improves to 4-0 on the season and gets in the “receiving votes” category in next week’s top 25 in a 42-14 win for the Orange.