The Syracuse Orange suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday (womp womp), but still stand at 4-1 on the year (1-1 in ACC play) despite falling to Clemson. The fact that we only lost by four when we were 25-point underdogs is pretty great though, no?
Each week, we’ll be using this space to look at past and future foes on the 2018 schedule, 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?
Western Michigan Broncos (3-2, 1-0)
Result: 40-39 win over Miami (OH)
WMU capped off an insane game with a touchdown run from QB Jon Wassink with three minutes remaining to take the lead for good. It was the sixth TD overall from the passer, who threw for 439 yards and five scores, to go with another 38 on the ground plus the aforementioned TD. Miami (OH) was able to answer the bell with the passing game, but couldn’t get the run going, ultimately helping dictate the result for this one.
Wagner Seahawks (1-4, 0-1)
Result: 54-47 loss to Monmouth
After relying heavily on the run through the early parts of the season, Wagner let QBs Luke Massei and T.J. Linta loose in this one to great result: 377 yards, six touchdowns and just one pick between two of them. Meanwhile running back Ryan Fulse had just 72 yards on 28 carries. The Seahawks actually led going into the fourth, but a defensive collapse led to the shootout loss.
Florida State Seminoles (3-2, 1-2)
Result: 28-24 win over Louisville
FSU’s not exactly “great” just yet, but they have been turning things around a bit these past two weeks. The ‘Noles relied heavily on the pass again, with Deondre Francois throwing for 294 yards and four scores, and Florida State actually came back from down 10 to win in the fourth. Louisville may have played a better overall game. However, a late pick and a big pass play from Francois to Nyqwan Murray sealed the comeback effort late.
Connecticut Huskies (1-4, 0-2)
Result: 49-7 loss to Cincinnati
Another game, another woeful defensive effort for the Huskies this weekend. CIncinnati’s probably good, but UConn allowed 659 yards of total offense — including 320 on the ground. The game was actually tied at seven after one quarter. And then the Bearcats simply ran over them, locking down David Pindell and giving Connecticut’s offense zero outlets to turn to.
Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3, 1-1)
Result: 45-14 loss to UCF
UCF trounced Pitt from the jump, putting up 31 points through two quarters, and then coasting toward the finish. We know the Knights are a top-15 club right now, but the Panthers’ defense — which was supposed to be Pat Narduzzi’s calling card — allowed over 550 yards of offense, while its own attack struggled to really get much going. This has been a common theme of the Narduzzi era, especially without Matt Canada on staff.
North Carolina Tar Heels (1-3, 1-1)
Result: 47-10 loss to Miami (FL)
After looking improved in the win against Pitt, UNC looked very bad against Miami last Thursday. The ‘Canes had two pick-sixes and did enough on offense to keep the thing rolling. UNC couldn’t really throw the ball (114 yards and three INTs between two quarterbacks), while the run game couldn’t necessarily pick a ball-carrier. They also lost three fumbles.
N.C. State Wolfpack (4-0, 1-0)
Result: 35-21 win over Virginia
I’m typically a Wolfpack skeptic, and it’s rarely steered me wrong (last year aside), so going to stay in that lane to some degree for now. And even still, that takes nothing away from the pro-ready and highly-accurate Ryan Finley who I will admit is the best QB in the conference and could be among the best in college football. Still, State hasn’t really faced anyone yet and does let lesser foes hang around. Line is getting a strong push, which starts to address the biggest concern going into 2018.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-2, 0-1)
Result: 56-24 win over Rice
Wake Forest bounced back nicely after Notre Dame ran through them last weekend. This defense definitely has some holes, but the offense is good enough to hang with most foes. Rice is worse than most foes, of course. But Wake deserves credit for casually putting up 56 points and throwing four TD passes. Sam Hartman’s pretty good, FYI, especially after completing 15-of-17 in this contest.
Louisville Cardinals (2-3, 0-2)
Result: 28-24 loss to Florida State
Louisville’s offense had a pulse, throwing for 306 against FSU, but the run game remained anemic and obviously the Cards also had that untimely late pick, too. The Cardinals’ defense isn’t necessarily great at generating pressure or stops right now, and is prone to allowing some big plays. Let’s see if they can improve any of these things before November’s matchup against Syracuse.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0, N/A)
Result: 38-17 win over Stanford
Credit Brian Kelly for pressing the right button at the right time with this team while switching in Ian Book for Brandon Wimbush at quarterback. In two weeks as starter, Book has thrown for over 600 yards and six scores, plus another 90 and three touchdowns on the ground. The Fighting Irish offense looks dynamic and the run game is backing up Book’s passing ability. The defense is also top-notch. Notre Dame is now a legitimate playoff contender.
Boston College Eagles (4-1, 1-0)
Result: 45-35 win over Temple
An inefficient BC passing attack still threw for three scores against Temple, but it was the run game once again that powered the Eagles with 275 yards on 66 attempts. AJ Dillon led the charge with 161 of those yards, but also left the game with an ankle injury. Should Dillon be out for any amount of time, the Eagles have weapons to stand in. But his absence — paired with questionable defensive play this season — could be a disaster should it come to pass.
Week five opponent W-L: 7-5
2018 total W-L: 34-24