The Syracuse Orange take on the USF Bulls tomorrow night at 8pm in a primetime brawl in Boca Raton. It should be an exciting game between the two teams searching for their seventh victory of 2023, and a close one too - DraftKings Sportsbook has moved Syracuse back to three-point favorites after the line moved to two-points earlier in the week. The over-under is set at 56.5 points.
SU released an updated depth chart on Monday, giving us a better idea of who will be playing in the bowl. One person who isn’t is Quarterback Garrett Shrader.
QB6 announced he underwent surgery to fix a shoulder injury which he has attempted to play through since October. Redshirt Freshman Braden Davis is listed as number one on the depth chart, though TE Dan Villari and RB LeQuint Allen could also see snaps in the Wildcat as they did in the final three weeks of the regular season.
Elsewhere on offense, WR Donovan Brown has re-emerged after Isaiah Jones entered the transfer portal. The redshirt freshman is still the team’s number three receiver in terms of yardage but saw significantly less time in the second half of the season, catching only three of his 25 passes from Week 7 onwards. The extra practices hopefully have him up to speed and ready to start in the slot.
The Boca Raton Bowl will be 6th-year offensive guard Chris Bleich’s final college game. He’s been a starter for the Orange each of the past three seasons, winning several ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week awards during that time.
On the defense, all three captains are expected to play. CB Isaiah Johnson is in the same position as Bleich - running out of eligibility at the end of the year - so it was expected in his case, but the bigger news is that LB Marlowe Wax and S Justin Barron are also listed with the 1s, putting off NFL Draft considerations for at least one week longer.
Wax and Barron are the leading tacklers on the Orange defense (racking up 99 and 82, respectively) and have both been a huge factor in forcing turnovers. Wax has forced four fumbles and also picked off one pass, while Barron has three forced fumbles and an interception to his name. Additionally, Marlowe has picked up four sacks, second on the team only to Kevon Darton’s five.
Speaking of Darton: he and Caleb Okechukwu are two more defensive players whose experience will be welcomed here. Caleb is in his final year at SU as the leader of the defensive line, and Kevon, despite being constantly labeled “undersized”, has been successful at generating constant pressure as well.
We hope that if this is the final Syracuse game for any of those mentioned, they get to go out on top with one final victory.
To do so, they’ll have to contain electric true freshman QB Byrum Brown, who threw for over 3,000 yards, rushed for 745 more, and had 34 total TDs. His favorite target Sean Atkins only needs four more catches and 39 yards to hit 90/1,000 on the season.
The Bulls’ defense is near full strength, but they struggled throughout the season. With Jason Beck reportedly accepting a job at New Mexico, it seems that Mike Lynch will be the offensive coordinator for this game - a position he held in both 2018 and 2019 for the Orange. Whether he runs with the “ThunderCat” or more of the streamlined Week 13 game plan remains to be seen, but either way, we hope Nunzio Campanile’s squad finishes the fight they’ve worked so hard to get in.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.