After an unfortunate loss to Notre Dame last week, the Syracuse Orange are now 2-3 on the year. If they think a bowl game is in the cards at all, they’ll need a win this week over the surprisingly 4-1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
That 4-0 start was a nice surprise. Or was it expected by Wake Forest fans?
It certainly was not expected. While Wake fans generally expected to see some tangible improvement this year, the two road wins at Duke and Indiana were certainly surprising. With a favorable home schedule, the team now has a legitimate shot at 8 wins. At the beginning of the season it looked more like five or six wins was the most likely outcome, so to be sitting at 4-1 right now is a bit ahead of the curve.
The Deacs have gotten different types of quality results from two different QBs this year; which would you prefer?
While Wolford can spread the ball around more to the receivers, Hinton provides a different level of threat that teams have to prepare for. Hinton's shiftiness in the running game and his deep ball make him a bit more dangerous and opens up the offense more. It looks like he'll be out again this weekend, so Wolford will have to carry the load again against Syracuse.
After four straight wins, things went south against NC State. What went wrong there?
The main problems against NC State were early on the defensive side of the ball. State threw the ball all over the field and just abused Wake's secondary, while the DL also got little pressure on the QB. The offense took care of the ball, but had to settle for FGs too many times to dig the Deacs out of the early deficit.
We have a bad habit of (unintentionally) injuring your important players every year. Has that created animosity from your fans?
Nah, the only thing that creates animosity is losing to you guys in everything important since you joined the ACC. Plus, the injury caused in 2006 might have been the most important event in Wake football history as the backup Riley Skinner came on and led the Deacs to an ACC Championship.
Have you watched Syracuse this season? Anything stand out?
I've seen bits and pieces of a couple games and the main takeaways I've had are 1) They sure do put up a ton of points and 2) Good lord that defense is bad. Not exactly high level #analysis there, but the games are certainly not boring to watch.
Wake has a quality defense. How do you think the Orange offense can challenge them?
Continue to expose the secondary. Indiana and NC State were able to rack up a ton of yards through the air and easily move the ball down the field. While Wake's run defense is very good, the DBs have been beaten pretty badly so far this season. If Syracuse can keep Duke Ejiofor out of the backfield, they will likely have a big passing day.
Is there an unsung Deacons player SU fans need to know more about?
I'll go with RB Matt Colburn. While the injury report on starting RB Cade Carney is not clear at this point, Colburn has shown some promise this season backing him up. After the Deacs were among the worst rushing attacks in the country in Clawson's first two seasons, the line is finally getting some push and giving the RBs a chance this year. Colburn has shown a knack for getting tough extra yards and his ability to give Wake sustained drives and slow down the Cuse offense will be a big key for Saturday.
Wake Forest beats Syracuse for the first time since 2006 if they _____.
Can sustain drives that keep the defense fresh and win the turnover battle.
The Orange grab their fifth straight victory over the Demon Deacons by _____.
Beating the Wake secondary early and often and make it a high scoring game.
Prediction time: What happens in this one and why?
I'm going to hedge on the weather here because I think it is a huge factor in this game. If Hurricane Matthew brings significant rain and wind Saturday night, I think Wake will win a close one. Wake's rushing offense is solid and the Deacs also have a very good run stopping defense. On the other hand, it appears Syracuse struggles in rushing yardage and is poor stopping the run as well. However, if conditions aren't too bad, I lean towards the Orange. They should be able to put up a ton of points on the Deacs and even with a below average Orange defense I don't think Wake can score enough to keep up. It will certainly be interesting to watch the contrast in styles of the former Bowling Green head coaches.