All offseason, we talked about how difficult the Syracuse Orange’s 2017 football schedule was. And while that still holds true, it wasn’t really an auspicious start for many of those opponents. Those teams went 8-3, sure. But very few of those wins were all that impressive.
Each week, we’ll check in with the teams on Syracuse’s schedule, and potentially re-evaluate the road ahead (or later in the year, behind us).
Result: Loss, 28-6 to Vanderbilt
We knew MTSU’s defense would be a work in progress, but the offense — led by QB Brent Stockstill -- figured to fine in the meantime. Vandy held them to just over 200 total yards and one garbage time score. Syracuse doesn’t have the Commodores’ defense, but it doesn’t look like Middle Tennessee has the potent attack we expected either.
Result: Win, 30-27 (3OT) over Rhode Island
When we previewed CMU’s season way back in May, it looked like roster turnover was going to make this a rebuilding year for the typically pesky Chips. Well, that seems like it’ll come to fruition given the fact that it took three overtimes to beat a middling FCS team.
LSU Tigers (1-0)
Result: Win, 27-0 over BYU
BYU looked pedestrian in its week zero opener, and this game was far worse for them. LSU’s passing attack is still a work in progress (Danny Etling had 171 yards through the air), but the rushing attack led by Derrius Guice is lethal. The Tigers had 296 yards on the ground, and averaged five yards per carry on the game. LSU’s defense also held BYU to minus-five rushing yards. Yikes.
NC State Wolfpack (0-1)
Result: Loss, 35-28 to South Carolina
State doubled South Carolina’s yardage (504 to 246), had 17 more first downs and held the ball for 13 more minutes. But two turnovers and a host of other gaffes created a loss that never should’ve been for the Pack. Was the defense overhyped in preseason? Maybe. But when you look at the Gamecocks’ offensive numbers, they’re still not staggering. NCSU’s secondary did look a bit iffy, however.
Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0)
Result: Win, 28-21 (OT) over Youngstown State
Pitt lost quite a bit on offense this year, and also didn’t upgrade much on the defensive end. So Youngstown State taking them to overtime is the result that should mean terrible things for the Panthers. The Penguins had over 400 total yards, including 311 through the air. Pitt could turn this around, but hopefully SU gets them before they do so.
Clemson Tigers (1-0)
Result: Win, 56-3 over Kent State
Clemson methodically torched KSU, out-gaining the Golden Flashes by 445 total yards on the afternoon. Kent State had just one passing yard, and five first downs. Meanwhile, the Tigers ran for over 350 yards. This team will look different this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be worse.
Miami Hurricanes (1-0)
Result: Win, 41-13 over Bethune-Cookman
Miami put on an offensive showcase, with 555 total yards, including 322 on the ground. Mark Walton was impressive at running back with 148 yards and two scores. Newly-minted QB Malik Rozier also acclimated himself well with 217 passing yards and three TDs. The ‘Canes defense didn’t necessarily live up, however, with BCU amassing 350 yards. That was supposed to be this team’s strength. It still might be, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Florida State Seminoles (0-1)
Result: Loss, 24-7 to Alabama
FSU didn’t perform terribly against Alabama, amassing similarly meager offensive numbers (269 total yards for ‘Bama vs. 250 for the ‘Noles), and getting more first downs. But the Tide simply sat on them in the second half. Florida State had just 40 yards rushing, and last year’s protection issues are still very much there. Worst of all, QB Deondre Francois left the game late with a leg injury that could potentially keep him out a bit.
Result: Win, 51-7 over Presbyterian
Wake usually wins with defense, but it was the offense that really put on a show in week one vs. Presbyterian. The Deacons averaged 5.5 yards per carry en route to 248 yards on the ground, and added another 239 yards through the air. Both Kendall Hinton and John Wolford looked reasonably accurate and capable at quarterback, which may not clear up that spot, but does reassure them there are quality options available.
Louisville Cardinals (1-0)
Result: Win, 35-28 over Purdue
New-look Purdue passed on Louisville at will, throwing for 293 yards and four touchdowns on 57 throws. But the Cards also picked the Boilermakers off three times. It was a tight game, but to no fault of Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who amassed nearly 500 total yards to pair with his two scores (though he did have one fumble). UL has some issues (turnovers, penalties) to work out, but despite the self-sabotage, they got the job done.
Boston College Eagles (1-0)
Result: Win, 23-20 over Northern Illinois
BC needed a last-second miss by NIU to avoid going to overtime, but did resemble a college football team during this game. One-time Syracuse QB target Anthony Brown threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense looks stout once again. Play-calling for the Eagles is still questionable, but that could evolve as they figure out what they have in their young passer.
Week one opponent W-L: 8-3
2017 total W-L: 8-3