The Syracuse Orange football team is still in search of win No. 6 on the season, and they’ll have two more opportunities to get it this season. The first option is a trip to Raleigh to face off with the NC State Wolfpack this Saturday. State’s ranked and needs a win to stay in the running to win the ACC Atlantic Division title (at least until Wake wins another game). So they’ll be plenty motivated to win this one, same as the Orange.
Before these teams kick off at 4 p.m. ET from Carter-Finley Stadium (or the ACC Network, for those of us watching at home), we’re giving our predictions for the game. And for the betting-inclined among you, NC State is currently getting -11.5 from DraftKings (odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details).
NC State 38, Syracuse 23
Syracuse is going to hit something early in the passing game to enable them to move the ball on the ground in the first half. Unfortunately Devin Leary’s going to spread the ball around to his trio of receivers and keep the Orange chasing the game. The game will get away from Syracuse in the third quarter when they suffer from the self-inflicted wounds we’ve become too familiar with this season. The good news is that it’s a much more competitive game and the Orange set themselves up for an All or Nothing final game against Pitt.
NC State 30, Syracuse 21
While I don’t think Syracuse is truly as bad as they looked against Louisville last week, I also believe in the Pack’s rushing defense (10th in the country) and think teams have figured some things out around Garrett Shrader as well. State’s passing game should spread the SU defense thin, and I’d argue things have looked rocky there for most of the last month already. Basically, this team needs Shrader to get going on offense, otherwise it’s going to be a long afternoon. Something like what we saw vs. Boston College won’t work against a team as talented on both sides of the ball as NC State is.
NC State 30, Syracuse 14
This is Syracuse vs. NC State. This is traditionally one of the dumbest games of the year. How Syracuse is playing right now makes me think we’re in for another slobberknocker of a good time. If the Wolfpack can shut down the run, especially with a banged up offensive line, there’s not much of a shot of putting Syracuse points on the board, inherently getting the defense tired, and leading to a more lopsided score late.
NC State 38, Syracuse 17
Damn Andy and I suck at this whole prediction thing, huh?
So NC State is good at passing the ball. That’s a problem for a Syracuse defense whose secondary players are getting more and more exposed as the weeks trickle along this season. In a way, this will probably go down in a similar fashion to the Wake Forest game. Not much of a run game to speak of, but enough aerial threats that the secondary gets burned a few too many times. The big difference here is that NC State’s defense (although they didn’t show it last week against Wake) is much better than the Demon Deacons. Can Shrader make something happen in the passing game to take the eyes of his legs and Tucker’s legs? I doubt it.
NC State 35, Syracuse 20
There’s a part of me that worries I’m giving the Syracuse offense too much credit after struggling to put up 20 points against far worse defenses than what the ‘Pack are bringing to the field (BC, Louisville), but I have faith that Gilbert will come out with an aggressive script to try and set the tone in a game where the Orange are going to need to match NC State’s passing attack scoring. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the secondary struggle as the season goes on, and the pass rush still relying on defensive lineman over blitzes. I think Tony White is able to create moments of chaos, but not enough to force turnovers, and the offense once again stalls out in the second half.
Now it’s your turn...
Who wins the game between Syracuse and NC State?
This poll is closed
Syracuse, and it’s BOWL O’CLOCK!
NC State, and "hello darkness, my old friend..."