Item: So far this week, we’ve predicted the first seven games of the 2020 Syracuse football season in parts I and II. On Tuesday, we left the Orange fresh off a win against Wake Forest to improve their record to 4-3. Can Syracuse end the season with a winning record? We five our final answers below.
Boston College-November 7
Last Time: The Syracuse coaching staff had nightmares watching this game tape, as the defense gave up a school-record 496 rushing yards to the Eagles, who constantly ran through giant holes in a worn out ‘Cuse defense, scoring 34 of their 58 points in the second quarter. The meager SU offense scored 17 first quarter points, but only accounted for 10 points the rest of the way.
This Time: There’s a new regime in Chestnut Hill with Jeff Haley arriving from Ohio State succeeding Steve Addazio. Haley is a defensive-minded coach and a listener, encouraging the team to skip practice Aug. 27 to instead discuss and educate each other about the ongoing story of racial injustice in the country. On the field in the Dome, defense rules as well, with Andre Szmyt’s foot again the difference maker. Syracuse 20-Boston College 17 (5-3, 4-3).
At Louisville-November 20
Last Time: After Tommy Devito left last season’s game with an unspecified injury in the fourth quarter, backup Clayton Welch valiantly tried to lead the ‘Cuse back from a 49-34 deficit to no avail. Turnovers and penalties plagued the offense late. Sophomore quarterback Micale Cunningham dazzled for Louisville all day, passing for five scores as the Cards rang up 56-points.
This Time: It’s Friday Night Lights for SU in front of a national TV audience, but the Orange are going to have to play better than last season’s debacle at Cardinal Stadium. SU will succeed on that front, trailing by just five points in the fourth quarter, but UL’s Cunningham will again be tough late denying another Orange comeback bid in front of a delirious home crowd. Louisville 34 Syracuse 22 (5-4, 4-4).
North Carolina State-November 28
Last Time: Trailing 16-10 In a game that came down to the final play on a Thursday night in Raleigh, a frustrating false-start penalty doomed the Orange on the Wolfpack 49-yard line to force a clock runoff with 2 seconds left. Tommy Devito passed for 300-yards but was sacked eight times, consistently picking himself up from the turf, as he ran out time in the end.
This Time: Like Wake Forest, these two teams have similar ACC talent, with SU having an edge based on experience at quarterback and the defensive line and secondary. Up by three points late with the ‘Pack driving, one of those D-linemen, McKinley Williams, the first Syracuse player to ever wear jersey number 0, will have a big sack and tackle for a loss to preserve a happy ending to the home portion of the season. Syracuse 20-N.C State 17 (6-4, 5-4).
At Notre Dame-December 5
Last Time: In a 2018 Shamrock Series game at Yankee Stadium, the Orange hopes faded against the No. 3 ranked Irish after quarterback Eric Dungey left with a back injury in the first quarter. Rookie Devito was no match for a swarming ND defense, while Irish quarterback Ian Book was solid with 292-yards passing. Syracuse avoided a shutout with a field goal with 10 seconds left.
This Time: The December 5 scheduled game in South Bend is the latest SU has concluded a regular season since beating the Irish 38-12 in the Dome on December 6, 2003. That game featured a stunning five touchdown performance by the late Walter Reyes. No Orange player will score five times versus Notre Dame this year, but the Irish will score five touchdowns as a team, while the Orange offense struggles after halftime. Notre Dame 35-Syracuse 7 (6-5, 5-5).