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Syracuse - Miami Preview

Syracuse rekindles their rivalry with The U.
Syracuse is coming off the biggest upset of the last 30 years. It's a career changing program and a win that in theory brings about confidence, swagger, and more winning. That theory will be put into play as Syracuse now travels to Coral Gables to take on #8 Miami, the undefeated team leading the Coastal Division of the ACC. Can Syracuse earn their first back to back wins versus Top 10 teams?
Syracuse travels down to muggy Miami where Syracuse has not had the best of luck. Syracuse last played Miami in 2003, and it did not go well for the Orange. Syracuse needs to have the exact same game plan as they did against Clemson. Keep the chains moving, run a bunch of plays to tire out the Miami defense, and limit Miami big plays. It's simple. But it's easier said than done. As we know from Syracuse playing against LSU and NC State. But the good news is that Steve Ishmael is playing his best right now. If the Offensive Line continues to protect Eric Dungey, and he is able to protect the ball, Syracuse will be in a good position. The weather may be a factor in this game however. The Syracuse run game is not able to consistently move the chains, and Eric Dungey will have to make passes and occasionally run for that first down. But if there is heavy rain or bad weather, Syracuse will be at a huge disadvantage of Dungey isn't able to throw the ball up to his best ability. That being said, I think Syracuse is in a good position if Syracuse is able to keep Miami in check. Avoid penalties and turnovers, and Syracuse can make some noise. I initially picked Syracuse as losing this game before the season started for obvious reasons. And while I think the team will play well and show up, I think Miami is the best team in the ACC right now, and a lot of things will have to go Syracuse's way for them to win this game. I'm taking The U in a close battle, 30 to 27.
This game will be available nationally on ESPN / WatchESPN at 3:30pm. John will be in the home office, and I'll be around for a good chuck of this game until I have a game of my own this evening. Syracuse should play well, and possibly pull off this upset. So in classic Big East tradition, GO ORANGE! 

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The fans rushed the field and everyone got to celebrate this unbelievable win.
I couldn't believe Syracuse was leading. Or tied. Or winning in the 4th quarter. But Syracuse did just enough. Syracuse was able to make plays and stop Clemson from making them. Syracuse held on and earned the biggest program win in over 30 years. This is a program changing win. A monumental upset that will probably end up being the biggest upset of the season. I still don't believe it. I had to watch the game again Sunday just to believe it. But Syracuse took down the defending National Champions. #2 Clemson falls in the Dome 27 to 24.
Syracuse on the opening drive, marched right down the field and scored. While, not a crazy stat game, Eric Dungey (20/32, 278yds, 3 TD, 0 INT) had no turnovers, and put the ball where it needed to go. The real offensive stars of the game were Ervin Phillips and Steve Ishmael, who grabbed some critical balls and kept the chains moving. An excellent performance all around, save for coughing up the ball to allow Clemson to tie the game in the first quarter. Weirdly enough, despite the speed of Syracuse's offense, Syracuse had the advantage in time of possession of 34:52. Syracuse was able to convert 8-19 on 3rd, and 2-2 on 4th. They also had more yards with 440. Just an excellent performance against the Clemson defense.
Syracuse allowed some plays from both Kelly Bryant, and Zerrick Cooper, but they didn't allow any big plays. Hunter Renfrow had some big catches, but they didn't really do any damage. And that was key. Syracuse didn't allow any big plays from Clemson, a team that really isn't a regular big play team. Typically they just grind out games because they have more talent. Syracuse was able to keep them under wraps, and it helped that Bryant really couldn't run. And Cooper was the backup. Despite being on Clemson, he wasn't the starter for a reason. Either way, Syracuse was able to prevent Clemson from advancing the ball in the end zone on several drives. Syracuse limited Clemson to 2-11 on 3rd down and 0-1 on 4th (a terrible fake by the punter).
Special Teams
Syracuse was able to make their two kicks, and Clemson missed a couple of theirs. Coverage was good and Syracuse didn't allow too much for Clemson, while giving Syracuse decent field position when kicks and punts could be fielded.
Just a perfect offensive strategy for Syracuse. SU called the right plays for whatever Clemson threw at them. Syracuse put themselves in a great position to be able to win the game. And they executed the plan. Dido Babers and the staff outcoached Clemson and their staff.
A- (3.56)
It was a masterful performance in a game no one gave Syracuse a shot in. It is the biggest upset for Syracuse in over 30 years. This was an epic win, and everyone correctly celebrated it with the magnitude it deserved. Syracuse played their best game and every piece played their part.
Syracuse now has no time off as they travel to undefeated #8 Miami. Syracuse hasn't played The U in a lot of years, but when they did play it didn't go well for Syracuse then either. SU will again have to show up and limit mistakes. But that is for another day. For now, we can all marvel and enjoy this huge win for a little while longer.

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Cue the Smiling Child...

An upset of historic proportions.
Editor's Note: Work was crazy this week so I didn't get a chance to do the Pitt recap and even post a Clemson preview. But I wasn't picking Syracuse either way. Easily the biggest upset in the last few decades. History was made. I still can't believe it.

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Pittsburgh - Syracuse Quick Predictions

We welcome back an old frienemy.
Syracuse is at an interesting position no only in their season, but in the broader sense of the program. It's year 2 of Dino Babers' tenure, and it's the midpoint of the season. This is specifically when Dino himself points to where the system he uses fires on all cylinders and is really the point where everyone grasps what they are supposed to be doing within that system. However, that also might not be the case when facing the hardest schedule in the nation while also possessing not the greatest defense. It's Homecoming, which makes it even harder as a lot of alumni eyes will be on this team this weekend in person and up close. So what can Babers and his team do this weekend to convince the faithful that this is the direction we want the program going in? The simple answer is win.
Pittsburgh comes into the Carrier Dome with the exact same record as Syracuse. Unlike Syracuse, they have beaten who they were supposed to (Rice, 1-AA Youngstown State), and lost to big boys #4 Penn State, #9 Oklahoma State, and Georgia Tech. Their QB play has been unimpressive, with their starting QB, transfer Max Browne has started but rarely finished games. He didn't throw a TD in any of the Pitt losses. Ben DiNucci, Redshirt Freshman QB replaced him in all of those games. The pressure will be on Syracuse's safeties to break up passes and prevent big plays. Really, not allowing Pittsburgh big plays will be key. If Syracuse is able to apply pressure and keep Pittsburgh from establishing a run game, Syracuse should have a good chance to win this game. After the shootout last season, it seems unlikely that Pittsburgh has the firepower to put up those numbers. Bur really, Syracuse still has most of the offensive pieces from last year's team that put up 61 points last year. If Syracuse is able to run the ball and get some pressure off of Eric Dungey to work in the pocket, Syracuse should have a really nice day on offense. Syracuse is somehow favored in this game. And on paper, you can see why. Pittsburgh hasn't had much success on offense this year, except against Rice. Syracuse is poised to pick up a win this weekend in front of a fairly big home crowd. I'm taking the Orange 41 to 30.
This game is available regionally on the ACC Network at 12:30pm. Check your local listings here. For those in areas it isn't on TV, you can catch the game on WatchESPN. I'll be in the Dome this weekend, while John will be at a wedding. An odd reversal from the usual. Either way, I'll have coverage from the Dome. Check the Tweets. If you're making the trip, enjoy Homecoming. GO ORANGE!

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Another close game, but not a win.
Syracuse gave it a good effort, but again came up short. Although Syracuse was playing the hottest team in the division besides Clemson. Syracuse comes up short on the road again, 33 to 25.
Eric Dungey (30/47, 385yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 Rush TD) had a good day, although he did turn the ball over again. Both Ervin Phillips and Steve Ishmael had standout days and have become reliable targets for Dungey. They did well on 3rd downs (7-17) and 444 total yards. 
Syracuse allowed 462 yards and really had trouble stopping the run all day. NC State was just too much on the ground. Syracuse got worn out and could not get the stops to prevent NC State points when they needed to.
Special Teams
Cole Murphy missed his only field goal attempt, but it was a really long attempt, so no fault there. Otherwise, kicks were good, and coverage was fine.
Syracuse had 12 penalties on the day for 93 yards total. That is a lot. Additionally, Syracuse has got to get more creative on both sides of the ball if they want to start stealing some victories. 
C+ (2.5)
Syracuse again gave it a good effort, but came up short against a read hot team in the division. Syracuse could only try and keep up as NC State dominated the first 15 minutes.
Syracuse now heads back to the Dome for Homecoming. Against old foe Pittsburgh. Syracuse has a chance to get a victory and get some momentum. Syracuse needs to play well obviously. But also, performing well in front of the alumni base is always advisable. They are they ones that donate after all.

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