Published on 9.10.2010 by Brian Harrison
The Fightin' Jake Lockers will face a true defensive test now.
Starting the season on the road is never easy. Make that two games and it’s even tougher. Then add in the fact that its clear across the country and you have some issues to contend with before you even set foot on the football field. But can Syracuse do some damage against Jake Locker and his Heisman hopes?
Syracuse enters the game after an impressive win, 29-3 over Akron. However, yes it is just Akron, an admittedly bad team. But even a bad team can find the end zone. Akron was unable to. The Syracuse defense was stingy and is clearly better than the Washington defense. Linebackers Darrell Smith and Dough Hogue are chomping at the bit to try and get at Locker. Same with the gentlemen up front like Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich. This will be the strength of the team, and the best match up of the day watching Syracuse’s defensive line versus the admittedly good offensive line of Washington. The Washington offense is good, with Jake Locker able to pass and rush the ball in designed plays. If you recall he absolutely torched us a few years ago in the Carrier Dome. He played well last week against BYU (20/37, 266, 1 TD, 0 INT), but his team only converted 5/15 third down attempts. If the defense can get to Locker and even just make him hurry throws, Syracuse has a chance at some real success. Washington’s running backs aren’t too bad either. Chris Polk (16att, 92yds, 5.8avg, 0 TD) will be the primary running back but he was limited by BYU’s defense. Syracuse’s run defense will be slightly better. The difference is containing Locker and his rush abilities. Washington is just an average team without Locker. Shut him down and it doesn’t matter if his receivers are open. Same as it ever was. I like Syracuse’s chances to pull the upset in this game despite the history of playing badly on west coast trips. However, I just can’t in good conscience pick Syracuse in this game. Is it more than likely an upset could happen? Without question. But do I have enough faith in the Syracuse secondary to pick them overwhelmingly? Not at this juncture against one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. Like I said though, an upset is not out of the question at all. I’ll take Washington though in a close game. 24 to 17.
This game will be available on Fox Sports’ regional coverage, or in the Time Warner viewing area on TWCS starting at . As always you can stop by Twitter and catch me or Orange::44 correspondent John Brennan during the game. Despite me picking Washington Syracuse has a nice chance for a statement game and impress the nation, even in a loss. But here’s hoping that your Saturday night will be even sweeter because of a victory.