The Syracuse Orange are in North Carolina for a meeting with the Wolfpack of NC State. It’s tough to establish where Syracuse are at this point in the season. We’re already at Week 7 and Syracuse are still searching for an identity. They’ve looked good in spots, but terrible in others.
I think this is a good measuring stuck for them on the road on Thursday night. If they can put in a nice effort against the Wolfpack on the road, then Syracuse may be a pretty decent team. They enter Week 7 with a record of 3-2 with losses against Clemson and Maryland.
Both of those games were not competitive, which brings us back to the question of what kind of team the Orange are this season. Losing 41-6 against Clemson isn’t the most surprising result, but their effort against Maryland was one to forget about fast.
The Terrapins brought the hurt with a 63-20 win over the Orange. Since getting blown out in that game, Syracuse fell to Clemson and beat Western Michigan and Holy Cross. Their third win this season came against Liberty, so what are the Syracuse Orange?
They haven’t beaten anybody impressive yet, so NC State does provide them with a decent challenge on Thursday night. The Wolfpack are in a similar position. They’re heading into Thursday night with a record of 3-2 and their best wins have come against inferior opponents. Their three wins are against Ball State, Western Carolina, and East Carolina.
Not very impressive and I think NC State have more to lose at home than Syracuse. Especially considering how the injury report is shaping up for the Orange. They will be going into Thursday night banged up with a long list on their injury report. Dino Babers was expecting to be healthier by now, but will be coaching without some key players at NC State in this one. It makes it even more difficult to gauge Babers and Cuse in 2019. Head below for our free Syracuse vs. NC State pick.
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Syracuse vs. NC State Pick:
Syracuse were confident that the bye week was going to help them get healthy. That isn’t the case, as the Orange are likely getting any contributing member of the team who was on the injury report. Syracuse are expected to be without the services of safety Andre Cisco, defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu, defensive lineman McKinley Williams, and center Sam Heckel. We could go deeper into the injury report, which is long, but those are the key losses for Syracuse going into a hostile environment Thursday night.
The absence of Heckel against Clemson was evident from the 1st quarter. An elite Clemson defensive line like Clemson was able to exploit the hole without Heckel there and made life miserable on the Syracuse offense. It was difficult for the Orange to sustain any push up front offensively. Syracuse haven’t had any form a test since getting blown out by Clemson, so it could be another long night for the Syracuse offensive line against NC State. The Wolfpack do not have Clemson talent, but their defense has been playing well.
NC State are 32nd in the FBS with just 321 yards allowed per game. They’ve particularly strong against the run, with only 71.8 yards yielded per game for 6th in the nation. Getting Heckel back sure would have been nice for Syracuse, but that will not be the case in this pivotal matchup against the Wolfpack. Getting some bodies back on defense would help as well. Despite allowing just 3 points against Holy Cross, they were torched against their previous three FBS opponents.
Remove the Holy Cross game, and Syracuse have allowed 45.6 points per game in their last three contests. They shutout Liberty in the season opener, but just like Holy Cross, Liberty is not an offensive test. NC State will be going with a quarterback change in this one to FSU transfer Bailey Hockman.
Matthew McKay has not been sharp, so I think it’s a good move for the Wolfpack. Hockman entered the game against FSU and was an instant upgrade for the NC State offense. I’m not high on Syracuse travelling to NC State with injuries piling up. Look for the Wolfpack to control the game at the line of scrimmage and pound away for a 33-20 or 35-24 win on Thursday night.