The Invisible Swordsman
Syracuse 42 - NC State 39
Here's the deal. I have seen enough of Syracuse's offense to know better than think they can post 42 points in any game, let alone against a vulnerable Wolfpack defense. I also have seen enough to know better than think NC State can score 39 on our underrated defense. But Saturday will be one of those days where both teams will be pressing for a critical win, and I see aggressive game plans from both sides. The game will be fast and loose, and in the end our boys will pull out an entertaining victory that will set us up for a nail-biting finish to bowl eligibility!
Syracuse 26 - N.C. State 17
Syracuse wants this game. Syracuse NEEDS this game. The question becomes: can the youthful Orange finish the job? I'm going with yes, simply because I like what I've seen out of Syracuse's defense (save for Jameis Winston). Plus, N.C. State is on a four-game slide and has lost identity on both sides of the ball.
In other words: Syracuse has shown just enough and N.C. State has shown basically nothing in the last month. A.J. Long bounces back and the front seven on defense gets it done tomorrow.
Syracuse 24 - NC State 13
If the Orange want any chance at getting to a bowl, they have to win tomorrow -- there's no getting around that. At home against what I believe to be an inferior NC State team, I tend to think they'll figure out a way to get it done. Last week's performance felt more like an anomaly for AJ Long than a sign of things to come. That was a tough spot -- Saturday night in Death Valley against a great Clemson defense -- to put a true freshman quarterback in. He'll bounce back, doing more than enough to keep Syracuse's hopes for a successful 2014 season alive.
Syracuse 24 - N.C. State 14
Even with Thursday night's injury list revealing that Syracuse might only have like three offensive linemen available for Saturday's game, and even with the offense's struggles and the impressive play of N.C. State's Jacoby Brissett, and everything else that is working against Syracuse in this weekend's game, I still think this team has some fight in it. N.C. State is the most winnable game left on the schedule, and one of just two home games remaining, so this one is crucial. Maybe Syracuse gets beat down by Duke, and maybe they can't sweep the back-to-back road trips against the eastern football rivals to end the year, but I think SU takes this one.
Syracuse 24 - NC State 21
Syracuse still can't figure out ALL of the issues on offense, but Saturday's game at least gets them on the way to fixing things. The Orange score A touchdown in the red zone, overall run an efficient gameplan and stay out of the defense's way as they score seven points of their own. But the Wolfpack stick around for the full game, making things as frustrating and stressful as possible. Still, SU finds a way late and sets up Cole Murphy with the game-winner late before the defense comes up with one final stop. No player-specific praise, but the team effort wins out and 'Cuse gets itself a bit closer to bowl eligibility... THANK YOUR PREFERRED DEITY OR LACK THEREOF.
Syracuse 23 - NC State 20
Couldn't you just see this game going in 47 different directions? Could be a blowout. Could be a a nail-biter. Could be a lot of ways in between. I have faith in the Syracuse defense to handle their business but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach to this offense. I see a lot of hot, barely-legal Cole Murphy action ahead but that doesn't mean we won't be able to put enough points on the board to get the win. It's probably not gonna be fun and it's probably going to be aggravating but I still think the Orange will eek it out.
How about you?