Syracuse is 5-2 and will try to clinch a bowl bid for the first time since 2013 when it hosts North Carolina State on Saturday. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng gave their predictions for the game.
BRAD BIERMAN (Season Predictions, 5-2): Eric Dungey or Tommy DeVito.
For those not attending in-person Saturday night under the Dome lights, it will be must-watch programming to see how the quarterback position plays out a little after 7:00 p.m. ET.
No matter who sees the majority of snaps, look for Syracuse to throw the ball to set up the running game, while the Orange defense looks to contain Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley who struggled last week against Clemson throwing for only 156 yards and two interceptions.
Both coaches, Dino Babers and Dave Doeren, mentioned on this week’s ACC coaches’ teleconference that the mindset in their respective locker rooms is about the proverbial one game at a time.
Babers said the ‘Cuse understands that after a 4-2 first half of the season it is now 1-0 in the second half, while off a 41-7 loss against the Tigers, Doeren says his team is buying the philosophy of finishing this week 1-0 with a win over a team that’s played back-to-back overtime games.
We don’t think this game goes to overtime, and we think both SU quarterbacks will play, with Dungey the starter as he heads into what’s likely to be six games left in his Syracuse career. In a game of defensive stops a turnover or two and some spectacular touchdown passes, SU pulls out a 34-30 win to celebrate bowl eligibility into the chilly Syracuse overnight hours.
WES CHENG (Season Predictions, 5-2): My prediction to this game hinges on the state of the Orange secondary. We’re getting to the time of the year when teams start to struggle with injuries, and SU is no exception, with defensive backs Chris Fredrick and Scoop Bradshaw questionable.
Both will need to be healthy to cover junior wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, who to date has racked up 547 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Yes, Ryan Finley struggled against a staunch Clemson defense, throwing for just 156 yards with two interceptions (and no touchdowns), but the Orange defense is also surrendering more than 400 yards per game.
If Syracuse is thin in the secondary, expect Finley to have a bounce back game, with the Wolfpack taking a 35-31 win on the road.