Syracuse will play its final game of the 2019 season on Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET / ACC Network Extra) against Wake Forest. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng give their predictions below.
BRAD BIERMAN (Season Record: 4-5): Syracuse has fared well in its brief history of games against Wake Forest, winning a couple of times before ACC play (2006, 2011) and three times (2013-15) after under Scott Shafer. But Dino Babers first two squads both lost to the Demon Deacons, the latter surrendering 64-points, before Eric Dungey led SU to a 41-24 victory last year on the road.
But that was last year, and this season Wake (and Louisville) are batting to fall just behind Clemson in the Atlantic Division standings and attain the most attractive bowl destination possible for their programs and fans.
Unfortunately, from first glance it looks like SU is going to see from Wake Forest a lot of what it saw from Louisville last week. A dual-threat, fleet quarterback in redshirt junior Jamie Newman, an effective running game that opens up the passing attack, and speed to burn on the outside with weather no factor.
Who knows if Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito is going to play (Babers was his usual coy self at his Monday press conference), and if he does, how effective he’ll be, or backup Clayton Welch? We’re confident the running game can be solid, but the ‘Cuse defense and special teams are going to have to make standout plays to tilt the game.
Ok, so tickets are going for next to nothing (as low as $6.00) and the atmosphere in the Dome will not be loud. But those that are on hand will be treated to a most memorable finish when Andre Szmyt connects on a 42-yard field goal with 0:06 to play to give Syracuse a 45-42 upset victory over Wake Forest to salvage something positive to end an otherwise down season.
WES CHENG (Season Record: 7-1): On paper, this looks like a very good matchup for Wake Forest. The Deaons come in 29th among FBS teams with 33.0 points per game, and throw for an average of 286.5 yards a contest, good for 24th.
Those numbers would translate well against a Syracuse defense that give up 30.7 points per game, near the bottom of Power 5 programs.
But Wake Forest has suffered key injuries to Sage Surratt and Scotty Washington, two of their best wide receivers, who combined for more than 1,600 receiving yards this season. Neither was available for the Demon Deacon’s 52-3 loss against Clemson.
Still, Wake Forest recovered with a 39-27 win over hapless Duke, with converted wide receiver Kendall Hinton busting out for six receptions, 189 yards, and a touchdown.
The Demon Deacons are also without star linebacker Justin Strnad, out for the season after recording a team-high 69 tackles.
That makes things a little more manageable for an Orange team that was eliminated from the postseason with a loss to Louisville last week. Little has gone right for Syracuse this season, and I can’t see that changing with the team playing in front of a half-empty Carrier Dome on Saturday and little left to play for. Wake Forest takes this one 35-17.