Syracuse Orange v. Liberty Flames Prediction & Preview (9/24/21)

Sep 18, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) runs with the ball into the end zone for a touchdown past Albany Great Danes linebacker Bobby Ambush (43) during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information:

  • Teams: Syracuse (2-1) v. Liberty (3-0)
  • Date: Friday, September 24
  • Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
  • Network: ACC Network
  • Spread: Syracuse +6.5
  • History: Liberty knocked off Syracuse, 38-21, last year for its first win over an ACC school

In Syracuse’s last game: Syracuse took case of FCS Albany, as sophomore running back Sean Tucker rushed for five touchdowns in a 62-24 rout.

In Liberty’s last game: Malik Willis threw for four touchdowns and rushed for two more on the ground as the Flames cruised to a 45-17 win over Old Domnion.

jimJim Stechschulte
Fearless Prediction: Liberty 30, Syracuse 24

While not a name-brand college football team, Liberty provides the steepest test of this young season for Syracuse when they visit Friday night. The Flames are 3-0, follow the lead of potential first round draft pick quarterback Malik Willis, and handled the Orange in the same building last season, 38-21.

Liberty won that game with a big play offense (11 plays that gained 14 or more yards) and keeping the Syracuse offense mostly in check. Sean Tucker did run for 111 yards last season and Taj Harris had one of his most productive games last year, connecting with Rex Culpepper for nine receptions into 96 yards and a touchdown in Culpepper’s first start after Tommy DeVito was lost for the year with an injury.

» Related: Who might succeed Dino Babers as head coach at Syracuse?

While roughed up last October, the Orange defense is more experienced this time around, as there is a whole season and change of familiarity with the 3-3-5 alignment instead of just four games. The unit plays with aggression, as evidenced by their numbers in tackles for loss and quarterback sacks.

However, they have not faced a player as dynamic as Willis this season. A dual threat, Willis was responsible for six touchdowns for the Flames last week against Old Dominion and averages over 200 yards passing and 75 yards on the ground per game.

The sledding will be tough against the SU defense and Tucker should collect another 100-yard game on the ground, but Willis will provide enough juice for Liberty to pull out a win.

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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.