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Syracuse football: what to watch for vs Army

Can Dino’s squad keep marching towards the top 25?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Syracuse at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange (3-0) look to continue their strong start to the 2023 season when they host the Army Black Knights (2-1) on Saturday.

Here’s what we’ll be watching for in this one:

Mike: No Dirty Deeds

The thing you can always count on when facing one of the academies is discipline. The Army cadets will play very physical, sure, but they won’t give you any chances for extra yards - especially via late hits. The Orange objective should be twofold: return the favor by playing their own clean game, and use this advantage to test the limits of the receiver corps. without the threat of retaliation.

Dom: Keep Army’s defense honest

Army’s reputation as a physically imposing team will be a defining factor, but as equally as important thing to note is the Black Knights’ 33rd-best total defense — which includes holding the 26th-best mark in the country in opponent passing yards. In the Purdue game, Garrett Shrader was able to scramble out of the pocket for 195 rushing yards while LeQuint Allen rushed for 82 yards and caught 62 more. The Orange will need a similar performance from their two offensive stars to keep Army on edge.

Kevin: Discipline on Defense

Even though Army is no longer running the triple option that we’ve been accustomed to seeing, they are still going to use a lot of quarterback runs. Syracuse’s defense needs to be aggressive without overcommitting to the initial look. Army will attempt to catch Orange defenders being over-aggressive in their pursuit. It’s going to be important to funnel Army inside and then rally to the ball.

Christian: Who wants it

After last week’s performance, this is a perfect “prove it” game for Syracuse’s wide receivers. A lot of fans were disappointed with the amount of dropped balls that the wideouts had against Purdue. With Oronde Gadsden out for the season, the Orange need a new No. 1 receiver to take his place. No one managed to snag that title against the Boilermakers. Now, as ACC play dawns, this is the last chance for someone to separate themselves as the new favorite target.

Max: Keep the Dome rockin’

Unlike Syracuse’s first two home games, the outcome of Saturday’s game won’t be decided at halftime. Instead of playing the fourth quarter in a half-empty Dome, the Orange defense will need every ounce of the crowd’s energy to come out on top. Army hasn’t played in a hostile environment all season, and if the Loud House lives up to its name, SU’s opponent should have trouble moving the ball in crunch time.


What are you looking for in this week’s game?