Syracuse will try for their first ACC win of the season when it hosts Boston College on Saturday afternoon (12:00 p.m. ET / ACC Network). Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Steve Auger give their predictions below.
BRAD BIERMAN (Season Record: 3-3): As illogical as it sounds with the way the season has transpired, Syracuse can still remain eligible to go to a bowl game by beating or losing to Boston College Saturday afternoon.
That’s crazy, but true. Not that we think the Orange is going to find enough offense to win three of the last four games, especially with two contests coming on the road where the ‘Cuse is just 5-17 in its brief ACC history.
BC is continuing a stretch of playing four of its last five on the road, including SU, Notre Dame and Pitt, while hosting Florida State so one of these teams will be feeling a lot better about itself by staying out of the Atlantic Division basement.
It’s not hard to predict that Eagles running back A.J. Dillon will receive plenty of carries. We all remember what happened when he played on the fast Dome surface in 2017 – 193 yards rushing and three touchdowns – and he comes off setting school career rushing marks in last week’s blowout loss at Clemson.
The Orange defense is again missing a couple of key players to injury, and the offense has averaged just over 13 points in four conference games, can it score more than two touchdowns versus the Eagles?
Since re-establishing contact with Boston College in the ACC, the ‘Cuse is 4-2 against its longtime Northeast rival, and if there was ever a time for a win, the first in the ACC and over a Power 5 team, it’s now, there’s urgency. This may turn out to be the last victory of the season, but we think somehow SU holds on for a 24-21 victory over Boston College.
STEVE AUGER (Season Record 1-0): Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
Through the first eight games of the season, Syracuse’s offense line has been a major albatross in unleashing an offense that, theoretically, should be better with Tommy DeVito starting at quarterback since DeVito is purer passer than Eric Dungey. Additionally, Trishton Jackson and Abdul Adams only added to the returning weapons at DeVito’s disposal.
So instead of kicking the offensive line while it’s down, lets’ discuss another unit that has been equally putrid: The Boston College defense.
Through eight games, the Eagles are last in the ACC in scoring defense (32.0 PPG), total defense (487.1 YPG), and passing defense (298.5 YPG). And only Georgia Tech gives up more yards on the ground than the Eagles (188.6 YPG).
So how does BC do at rushing the passer? Clearly, a potential spot for the Eagles to exploit given Syracuse’s pass blocking issues.
The answer is that BC gets to the quarterback about as well as they play defense. The Eagles only have eight sacks on the year; good for last in the ACC. And they are the only ACC team not to record double-digit sacks at this point in the season.
Opponents rack up plenty of first downs against the Eagles too. BC’s 23.1 first downs per game is only better than Florida State. And when it comes to getting off the field on third down, no team does it worse than BC. The Eagles allow a league-worst 45.8 percent conversion rate. Teams have also converted 8-of-11 fourth downs against BC. Only Georgia tech and Miami are worse.
One area where BC does fare well is with interceptions. They have nine; good for second in the league. But, they only average 2.8 return yards per interception; third worst in the ACC.
If ever there was a panacea for what ails the sputtering Syracuse offense, it comes to town this weekend in the form of BC’s defense. As long as the Orange keeps Tommy DeVito off his back and mildly contains AJ Dillon, Syracuse should net its first ACC win of the season, 27-21.