Doug Marrone said this week that Louisville is the best team suited to exploit Syracuse’s weaknesses than any team we’ve played so far. Now I know part of that is coach speak, but he’s got a point. Louisville is a very physical team who tries to win by dominating up front. Those are the types of teams that have given the Orange trouble under Marrone.
Louisville also has the 15th best defense in the country. They do it with physical play by their front seven, and disguising coverages to confuse the quarterback. In fact, the most points scored on them this year was 25 points, and that included a defensive touchdown.
The Syracuse offense has its work cut out for it. The offensive line must give Nassib time and open holes for Bailey, just like it did against West Virginia. If they do that, everything else should fall into place.
Defensively, they must play like they have in the two other Big East games. Get consistent pressure, shut down running lanes, and cover down field. Louisville’s offense is, well, bad to put it lightly. Syracuse should be able to take advantage of that and get good field position all game.
Syracuse must also take care of the ball like it did against West Virginia. No turnovers means Syracuse wins. Period. Especially if they can force one or two of their own.
Syracuse is a better team. They should win this game. But Louisville’s defense will allow them to stay in the game. Eventually, Syracuse should pull away. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is an x-factor however. He’s the type of big mobile quarterback that gives the Orange trouble. Remember Steve Probst from Rhode Island? Think a more talented, more athletic version of him. Syracuse will have to stay disciplined to prevent him from making some plays. The other person to be concerned about is tight end Josh Chichester. He’s an enigma, as he has loads of talent, but he never seems to match his production with his talent. Except when he plays Syracuse. He always seems to have his biggest games when he plays the Orange. Chandler Jones must continue his great play and not give Bridgewater time. Spruill will be key in covering Chichester down the middle.
All in all I expect a Syracuse victory. This game is key to the rest of the season. A win is important to prove last week wasn’t a fluke. I’m predicting Syracuse 24 Louisville 13. Go Orange!