Orange Watch: Predicting games 4-7 of the 2020 Syracuse football season

Syracuse Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito
Sept. 14 2019; Syracuse NY, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito (13) prepares to snap the ball during the Syracuse's 41-6 loss to the Clemson Tigers at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: On Monday, we began our annual forecast of the entire (11-game) regular season in schedule order with games 1-3. We predicted the Orange to get off to a 1-2 start, but can the Orange rebound in games 4-7? We explore further below.

Duke-October 10

Last Time: Syracuse scored the second-most points in a game last season throttling the Blue Devils 49-6 in Durham, gaining its first win over a Power 5 team in the process. All-American safety Andre Cisco did what he does best with a 48-yard scamper for a pick-six, and Moe Neal and Jarveon Howard each rushed for 115-yards and a touchdown.

This Time: Following the first of two open weeks, the Orange have the luxury of not traveling for four weeks with a second straight home game against the Blue Devils. The fluid nature of players returning from injury, and/or players contracting COVID-19 as the season progresses is realistic, necessitating lineup/depth chart changes on the fly. This will turn out to be a defensive affair with an Andre Szmyt field goal the difference. Syracuse 24-Duke 21 (2-2).

Liberty-October 17

Last Time: In a surreal scene, Liberty coach High Freeze watched on his back in bed in the press box recovering from back surgery. In Tommy Devito’s debut as the starter, SU blanked the Flames 24-0 in the 2019 season opener in Lynchburg, Va. Afterwards, instead of an on-field handshake, Dino Babers acknowledged Freeze with a hand wave towards the press box booth.

This Time: This is the only 2020 game that is being played as scheduled, but many SU fans wish the lone non-conference contest was changed to another opponent. Liberty has been an embarrassment off the field. Two players transferred in June alleging racial insensitivity, followed by the recent resignation of school president Jerry Falwell Jr. after the exposure of extra-marital affairs involving his wife and other men. Syracuse 35-Liberty 3 (3-2, 2-2).

» Related: Predicting games 1-3 of Syracuse’s 2020 football season

At Clemson-October 24

Last Time: Before the 2019 season began, there was optimism that the Orange would be 2-0 before hosting No. 1 Clemson in a Saturday night prime time game. That evaporated after Maryland hung a 63-20 loss on SU in game two. Heisman Trophy favorite Trevor Lawrence led the Tigers to a 41-6 Dome rout accounting for four touchdowns.

This Time: Even with new punter James Williams (freshman from Georgia) shocking the Tigers and crowd at Memorial Stadium with a fake punt, first down pass to keep a touchdown scoring drive intact that gives SU a surprising 14-10 lead, the top-ranked Tigers and Lawrence shrug it off and get in gear. Clemson scores four touchdowns in the second half against a tired Orange defense on route to taking command of the game. Clemson 38 Syracuse 14 (3-3, 2-3).

Wake Forest-October 31

Last Time: What a way to end a season, albeit one-win shy of bowl eligibility. With Wake Forest driving to the potential game-winning touchdown in overtime, defensive back Trill Williams ripped the ball away from Wake’s Kendall Hinton, and put the cherry on top of the thriller with a 94-yard touchdown sprint to give SU a 39-30 victory. The Orange finished 5-7, 2-6 in the ACC.

This Time: Getting the Demon Deacons at home again is a plus facing a team with similar ACC talent. Head coach Dave Clawson welcomes back quarterback Sam Hartman who broke his leg during the 2018 season, but Wake lost playmaker Sage Surratt when he opted out of playing in 2020. After Clayton Welch helped lead SU to its OT win last year, Tommy Devito sparks the Orange this season with three touchdown passes. Syracuse 28-Wake Forest 20 (4-3, 3-3).

Be sure to check in tomorrow as we reveal our predictions for the remainder of the season!

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.