Yeah, this one is my favorite of the year so far.
Syracuse has earned their first win of the year. They now travel to Minnesota to play in their first true road game of the season. Minnesota is a program rebuilding like Syracuse. They are also undefeated. Can the Orange pick up a big road win and get even on the season?
Yes, Minnesota is undefeated at 3-0. But the illustrious teams they have beaten were 1-AA New Hampshire, Western Michigan, and an OT win against UNLV. Gangbusters. That's not to say that this Minnesota team isn't dangerous. Oh... what's that? Their starting QB is out? Oh. Well, backup Max Shortell will be playing, and is actually a better pocket passer than their starter. However, he is not nearly as elusive in the pocket and mobile. That means if the Syracuse defense can pressure him and get through the Gophers' offensive line, Syracuse will be in a good position to win the game. Syracuse just needs to take care of the ball (Minnesota is top ten in pass efficiency defense with six picks). Absolutely dumb mistakes hampered Syracuse's efforts in the last game against Stony Brook. Additionally, Syracuse is last in the nation at punt return yardage allowed. Syracuse's offense is one of the best and will find success at Minnesota, but if they prevent turnovers and huge punt returns when they can't advance the ball, Syracuse will win this game handily. If not, well Syracuse will keep Minnesota undefeated and will drop to 1-3. I'll pick Syracuse in this one to earn a nice road win over the Gophers 34 to 17.
Tonight's game is an evening affair under the lights at 8:00pm, available on the Big Ten Network. Not sure what I'll be doing, and John will be drinking on a beer tour, so either way catch the game if you can but don't expect much out of us tonight.