Syracuse Orange v. Louisville Cardinals Prediction & Preview (11/13/21)

Dontae Strickland
Syracuse running back Dontae Strickland rushes against Louisville. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

The Syracuse Orange is coming off the bye week sitting at 5-4 and with three games left, need just one win to secure bowl eligibility. The first test is a tough matchup on the road at the Louisville Cardinals.

  • Teams: Syracuse (5-4, 2-3 ACC) v. Louisville Cardinals (4-5, 2-4)
  • Date: Saturday, November 13
  • Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY
  • Network: ACC Regional Sports Networks
  • Spread: Louisville -3
  • History: Louisville shut out Syracuse 30-0 last year, as Malik Cunningham threw for 219 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for another on the ground.

rutgerRutger Sears
Fearless Prediction: Syracuse 34, Louisville 31
(The Juice Online’s Season Record: 8-1)

The Cardinals are 4-5 and coming off a tough 30-24 loss to the Clemson Tigers, in which their electric QB Malik Cunningham didn’t do much through the air, but rushed 22 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The Cards defense has been an issue for much of the year, however, and has one area the Orange will need to attack.

Louisville currently sits at 117th in the nation in passing yards allowed, having given up 2,471 passing yards at a clip of 274.6 per game. That is not good. For context, Syracuse’s 14th ranked defense is only giving up 316.7 yards per game- rushing and passing combined. So the yards are there to be had against this Louisville team.

You may think a run-first team like Syracuse would prefer to send Sean Tucker and a running Garrett Shrader at the Cards front seven all day, and you’d be right. But the Cardinals have a respectable run defense, sitting at 42nd in the nation and giving up 133 rushing yards per game. The advantage that Syracuse likes, however, is an already exploitable Cardinals secondary will be left in man coverage as the defensive coordinator stacks the box to stop the threat of the run game.

With a dual-threat QB like Malik Cunningham on the other side, controlling the clock with the run game may not be enough to give Syracuse the win, so they’ll have to hit some of the singled-up deep shots to keep points on the board and hold the Cardinals offense at bay.

Tucker Chasing School Record

Sean Tucker is one of the best running back in the nation, leading the country in rushing yards, and on Saturday may be able to cement his name in Syracuse University’s history books.

Tucker needs just 106 yards over the next three games to break the single-season rushing record of 1,372 set by Joe Morris in 1979. That feat could easily be accomplished against the Cardinals on Saturday, and with NFL star and Cardinals alum Lamar Jackson set to be in the house for his jersey retirement ceremony, you can bet Tucker will end up stealing some of the spotlight himself.

» Related: Syracuse rises in ACC Power Rankings after win over BC

Bowl Eligibility Within Reach

Syracuse hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2018, in which they beat the West Virginia Mountaineers handily, 34-18 in the Camping World Bowl. Two seasons of disappointment later and SU finds itself just one win away from bowl eligibility, and you have to imagine this game is their best shot.

After the trip to Louisville to face the Cardinals, Syracuse finishes out the schedule with a road game at #21 NC State, before returning home to welcome the #25 Pittsburgh Panthers. Both of those teams have been playing well all year and make for tough matchups against an over-performing Syracuse team.

I see a back and forth battle between two teams playing to save their seasons, which ends with a Syracuse victory, on the back of Sean Tucker etching his name into the Orange single-season history book.

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About Rutger Sears 28 Articles
Rutger is a freelance writer and as a Syracuse native, has an affinity for all Syracuse University Athletics. From Donovan McNabb to Mike Powell, Rutger has seen greatness in many forms don an Orange uniform over the last 30 years. He currently covers Orange lacrosse.