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Syracuse football: Four things to watch vs Wake Forest

Can the Orange stop the bleeding?

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Things were much better when the Syracuse Orange were 6-0, but now the squad is trying to stop some a four-game losing streak when they travel to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Wake is also in the midst of a losing streak so what are we looking for on Saturday night...

Christian: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Wake Forest grabbed some key points in last season’s contest by testing Syracuse’s safeties on over-the-top balls down the middle of the field. A.T. Perry enjoyed that strategy very much and although Jason Simmons picked up an interception from one of those passes, it would make sense that the Demon Deacons would attempt the same strategy. This is a unique challenge as the Syracuse safeties have not been tested by speedy and athletic wide receivers this season. Hell of a time to be tested for the first time this season.

Kevin: Flex Seal Offense

Syracuse hasn’t scored a touchdown the last two games. Sean Tucker has been unable to break lose without seeing a penalty flag fly and Oronde Gadsden has one reception since the Notre Dame game. There isn’t a lot of time between games to do an overhaul of the offense so I’m looking for some kind of temporary fix to stop the leaks. It could be some new plays or formations, maybe a tweak on the offensive line, or just some life back in Garrett Shrader’s legs. No matter what the Orange need to find a way to use an ACC Network sponsor product to get a win.

Mike: First Downs First - Keep the Defense Fresh

I don’t expect the Orange offense to suddenly pull a complete 180, but they need to at least give the Mob a fighting chance. SU has a combined 13 3-and-outs these past two games, and that’s simply unacceptable. The defense is stretched far too thin for them to be constantly run back onto the field. While not every drive needs to produce points, very few will until the offense can figure out how to just work 10 yards at a time. I don’t care how they do it; Tucker in the Wildcat, two RB sets, #SendVillari in a multi-TE formation, just something different.

Andy: Can the offense evolve beyond QBs’ legs?

It’s pretty obvious that Shrader hasn’t felt right as his speed and power in the run game has been non-existent in the last 6 quarters of football he’s played for the Orange. Carson Del Rio-Wilson looked uncomfortable trying to run for yards in his outings. At this point, the offense has to realize that designed QB runs and QB runs as a fallback read just aren’t an option for this team if they want to win games. There’s clearly a recipe to fix this: Anea has been a big fan of motions and jet sweeps in the offense, so using those to set up more quick screens or outside runs could be an easy start. But unless Shrader found the magic spray that heals all soccer injuries, asking him to keep the Orange alive with his legs is unrealistic.

That’s what we’re watching for, now it’s your turn to let us know