We know the Syracuse Orange’s 2017 football schedule is difficult, and there are still more challenging opponents ahead of us than there are behind us. We’ll be using this space to look out at what our past and future foes accomplished this past week, and assess what’s ahead for the Orange.
So how’d Syracuse’s opponents fare in week five? And how might that affect SU going forward?
Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (2-3, 1-0)
Result: 26-15 win over Sacred Heart
Since an 0-3 start, CCSU has bounced back to win two straight, including Saturday’s conference opener vs. Sacred Heart. There’s rarely much to take from FCS games vs. FBS foes and this goes double for when it’s the first game of the season.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (2-3, 0-1)
Result: 38-20 loss to Florida Atlantic
Blue Raiders quarterback Brent Stockstill hasn’t played since the win against Syracuse (of course...), and as a result, the MTSU offense as struggled. Against FAU, the team was down 24-6 at the half and failed to ever really recover. As long as Stockstill’s out, this team has little chance to get to six wins. No matter where SU finishes, this loss is going to hurt quite a bit when we look back on it. Probably more than the rest do.
Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3, 0-1)
Result: 28-8 loss to Boston College
Since the high-water mark of a victory over Kansas, CMU has crumbled under the weight of injuries to its receiving corps. That’s meant back-to-back losses now to Miami (Ohio) and BC following the Chips’ big loss to Syracuse. At this point, it seems that the team from the KU game is the anomaly. A win’s a win, however.
LSU Tigers (3-2, 0-1)
Result: 24-21 loss to Troy
As discussed, that moral victory we were pretty proud of vs. LSU is dead in the water. Troy -- a very good Sun Belt team in their own right — walked into Death Valley and punched the Tigers right in the mouth. Syracuse couldn’t do that with “more” talent. You don’t schedule losses because they’re losses. But you also don’t schedule losses because you have no control over what happens to those teams afterward.
Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3, 0-1)
Result: 42-10 win over Rice
Of course Pitt decides to not be garbage the week before facing us. The Panthers’ offense has struggled all season before finally topping the 28-point mark in an impressive triumph over Rice. QB Max Browne finally delivered on some promise, with four touchdown passes and 410 yards. Let’s hope he can’t repeat that against a better (than Rice) Orange defense this weekend.
Clemson Tigers (5-0, 2-0)
Result: 31-17 win over Virginia Tech
With an offense held in check by the Hokies’ defense, it was Clemson’s own defense that took charge on Saturday night. The Tigers turned Virginia Tech over three times, including one INT for a touchdown. While Clemson was a very good team last year, it was predicated on skill position play. This year’s team can beat you in whatever fashion presented to them. That’s horrifying.
Miami Hurricanes (3-0, 1-0)
Result: 31-6 win over Duke
All that talk (here) that Miami was a team ready to be upset should be fading by now. The Hurricanes don’t have a dynamic run game, but with Malik Rozier it doesn’t seem like that’s a concern. Miami was able to generate turnovers, attack Daniel Jones all game and get after the Duke run game too. They had 11 tackles for loss on Friday and five sacks. Miami can do that to most teams on its schedule.
Florida State Seminoles (1-2, 1-1)
Result: 26-19 win over Wake Forest
FSU’s defense and run game were key in a game where freshman quarterback James Blackman struggled (again). While the ‘Noles did enough to get past a non-explosive Wake team, there are signs of trouble everywhere. The Deacons threw for over 270 yards against that secondary. John Wolford ran as he pleased. Florida State faces Miami next.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-1, 1-1)
Result: 26-19 loss to Florida State
The Demon Deacons performed admirably against FSU, but not enough to grab a program-changing win. The fact that Wake is in position to pull off something like that is a testament to Dave Clawsen’s progress since arriving in Winston-Salem. The Deacs appear to have a passing game, and the defense can keep blue-chip talent in check. A possible win over Wake gets more an more tenuous by the day.
Louisville Cardinals (4-1, 1-1)
Result: 55-10 win over Murray State
As mentioned above, FCS games don’t mean much. But Louisville still did a fine job pushing the Clemson loss into the rearview. Lamar Jackson did exactly what you’d expect, and the Cardinals’ defense gains some needed confidence.
Boston College Eagles (2-3. 0-2)
Result: 28-8 win over Central Michigan
BC has a run game and a defense, which is enough sometimes. While the defensive line is typically the strength for the Eagles, Saturday was a strong showing for the secondary. The Eagles are inhibited by a terrible passing game, but wins like this prove they can drag teams into the mud with them and get a victory.
Week three opponent W-L: 8-4
2017 total W-L: 34-22