The Syracuse Orange is now 4-0 (“27 years!”) after beating the UConn Huksies 51-21 on Saturday. Obviously we were supposed to win. But it’s still nice to take care of business when you’re expected to.
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 four? And how might that affect SU going forward?
Western Michigan Broncos (2-2, 0-0)
Result: 34-15 win over Georgia State
WMU continued to use a pretty balanced attack on an overmatched opponent. Jon Wassink was an efficient 20-of-25 passing for 234 yards and three scores, while the team had 294 yards on the ground as well. Georgia State didn’t put up much of a fight all game, down 20-9 at half and shut out in the fourth quarter.
Wagner Seahawks (1-3, 0-1)
Result: 41-14 loss to Sacred Heart
Wagner trailed 28-7 at half and that was really it in their NEC opener vs. Sacred Heart. The Seahawks allowed almost 500 yards of offense — with just 293 for themselves, plus 17 first downs. Ryan Fulse continued to look pretty good against non-Syracuse foes, though, collecting 161 yards on the ground.
Florida State Seminoles (2-2, 0-2)
Result: 37-19 win over Florida State
Up against a very good NIU defense, Florida State actually looked resurgent on Saturday. The ‘Noles had 473 yards of offense, and Deondre Francois threw for 352 of those to pair with two scores. FSU also turned the ball over four times, yet still had the game in hand heading into the fourth quarter. It was an impressive bounce back that says Florida State may not be dead just yet this year.
Clemson Tigers (4-0, 1-0)
Result: 49-21 win over Georgia Tech
Clemson wasn’t pushed around at all by Georgia Tech’s option-based attack, sporting a 28-7 lead at half and that was really it. The Tigers were brutally efficient on the ground themselves, averaging 6.9 yards on 36 carries (248 total), and equally effective through the air with Trevor Lawrence once again took the lion’s share of reps at QB. They also had four sacks (no easy feat against a Tech team that runs this much) and 10 tackles for loss.
Pittsburgh Panthers (2-2, 1-1)
Result: 38-35 loss to North Carolina
Pitt’s defense looked very bad in Saturday’s loss to UNC, giving up 313 yards through the air while Antonio Williams carved them up on the ground (114 yards on just 16 carries). Kenny Pickett stans are also probably a bit concerned after a 19-of-33 performance that produced just 175 passing yards (with two TDs) — though the run game’s 228 yards probably made them feel a little better.
North Carolina Tar Heels (1-2, 1-0)
Result: 38-35 win over Pittsburgh
As mentioned, UNC moved the ball really well against Pitt, which was a good sign for the Heels now that they’re starting to get some players back from suspension. Nathan Elliott’s passing day was impressive to pair with Williams’s rushing performance. The North Carolina defense also got some solid pressure all game, with three sacks (and five TFLs overall). We’ll see how much “better” UNC is, or whether it was just a one-week spike courtesy of Pitt.
N.C. State Wolfpack (3-0, 0-0)
Result: 37-20 win over Marshall
After avoiding a potential loss to WVU last week (due to Hurricane Florence-related cancellation), NC State went and took care of business against Marshall this weekend to stay undefeated. Ryan Finley was incredible through the air, passing for 377 yards. Marshall did throw the ball pretty well themselves, with 270 yards but were also picked off twice (including one taken back for a touchdown). Still don’t know what the Wolfpack’s potential is at this point.
Result: 56-27 loss to Notre Dame
Wake Forest was able to run the ball well against ND (259 yards), but the passing game was nearly shut down, accounting for just 139 yards on the day. The defense also struggled throughout, as one would assume based on the score above and based on the 566 total yards of offense. Wake also struggled to generate much pressure despite the pass-centric attack from the Irish. Just a rough afternoon all around.
Result: 27-3 loss to Virginia
Louisville couldn’t do anything against the Hoos, absolutely cratering for just 214 total yards. The run game was never supposed to be a strength, but 66 yards is even worse than expectations. At this point, the Cardinals have a lot more questions than answers, with a QB controversy, no rushing attack, a porous offensive line and a puzzling defense. Not complaining on this end...
Result: 56-27 win over Wake Forest
Notre Dame changed up its quarterback situation from Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book, and the move paid immediate dividends. Book was 25-of-34 for 325 yards and two touchdowns, and the Irish ran for another 241 yards along with that. The defense — which we already knew was good — collected three sacks and 10 TFLs. If ND has a real offense to pair with an excellent defense, they take a real step toward potential national title contention.
Result: 30-13 loss to Purdue
BC ran through the first three games, and then came a winless Purdue team that quickly figured out how to shut the assumed high-flying offense down. The Eagles threw for just 144 yards, and only ran for 85. AJ Dillon had 19 rushes for 59 yards — his least effective game since taking over as the starter. The defense showed an ability to rush the passer (something for us to watch out for), but also allowed 296 yards through the air. Keep an eye on Boston College now after tow straight rougher outings for the D.
Week four opponent W-L: 6-6
2018 total W-L: 27-19