The Syracuse Orange (2-4, 0-2) host the no. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, 2-0) at the Carrier Dome on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET. If you’re not attending in person, this one’s on ESPNU for your viewing pleasure. Virginia Tech opened up as 16.5-point favorites, but that line’s drifted up to 19 or so as the week’s gone on.
Ignoring Vegas’s thoughts, though, what does the TNIAAM staff think will happen on Saturday?
The Invisible Swordsman
Virginia Tech 38 - Syracuse 24
Justin Fuente has calmly taken over the mantle at VT and has put together a solid Hokies team that plays solid defense, and mistake-free offense. Jerod Evans has proven so far that he can throw medium and long passes with accuracy, which means BIG trouble for our beleaguered defensive backfield. Our offense has sputtered over the past few weeks (well, sputtered for a Dino Babers' offense), and while I think we'll see a better performance without the remnants of Hurricane Matthew around, I still don;t think we can keep pace in this one. Our old Big East enemy walks away with a win.
Virginia Tech 41 - Syracuse 30
Look, I'm probably being overly optimistic with the final score, but I think the Orange will get some points early and then tack on a late score when the 2nd unit for the Hokies is in the game. Expect Bud Foster to be aggressive against the weakened Syracuse offensive line, but this could open up a chance for the short pass and run. As we've seen the last few weeks, the pressure will take it's toll and the Orange offense will struggle in the middle of the game allowing Va Tech the opportunity to seize control.
Virginia Tech 48 - Syracuse 20
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, I expect Syracuse to (somewhat) keep pace offensively with Virginia Tech for the first quarter or so before completely falling apart after halftime and watching as the Hokies pull away. Syracuse will, once again, simply be too overmatched on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech averages 39.0 points per game, while Syracuse averages 25.7. Even including the Hokies’ early-season blowout loss to Tennessee, Virginia Tech still gives up, on average, just 15.6 points per game, 10th best in the country. Syracuse, on the other hand, gives up 36.0 points per game, tied for 107th in the country. Expect Dungey and the offense to look completely inept by the second half and the defense to be shredded by Jerod Evans and Travon McMillian. It will be pretty ugly to watch, but hey, I’m sure the men’s basketball team will exact some revenge on January 10.
Virginia Tech 48 - Syracuse 21
As mentioned previously, Tech QB Jerod Evans is a mobile threat, and that’s going to cause some problems for the Syracuse defense. The Hokies defense is also quite good, and is especially proficient at shutting down big plays (tops in the entire country, actually). Since the Orange offense needs those big plays to score, this presents some problems. Turnovers will likely dictate how this one eventually goes south for SU, with their pace eventually negated by a Virginia Tech’s aggressive defense and some quick-score ability on the other side of the ball.
Virginia Tech 42 - Syracuse 21
Feel like we know the drill. Syracuse will get on the board first and look good. Virginia Tech will adjust. Syracuse's offense will go bye-bye while the Hokies offense takes off. Just like that it's 28-14 at the half. The second is more of them and less of us. Let's just survive to get to Boston College...
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