CC Analysts Give their Predictions: Syracuse – Boston College
Syracuse hosts Boston College today in SU’s final game of the season. See if our analysts think the Orange can end the season on a high note.
How Syracuse Wins: Win the Point of Attack
With a backup quarterback, Boston College is going to need to rely on its run game to be successful Saturday. The Eagles live and die on the ground and the season finale will be no different. SU’s defense hasn’t fared well against top offensive lines this season like FSU and NC State. The Orange needs to change that against the Eagles because BC has one of the best O-lines in the ACC. With a hobbled secondary, Syracuse needs a big game from its defensive line Saturday to have any chance of ending the season on a high note.
Prediction: Boston College 34, Syracuse 17
The Orange just don’t have much to play for Saturday and I don’t see any reason why the defense won’t put up another disappointing performance. Everyone is talking about the Eric Dungey injury and rightfully so but don’t let that overshadow just how crippling the Jordan Martin injury has been. SU’s defense has imploded since Martin went down for the year and I don’t see the season finale being any different. BC is going to run the football down SU’s throat and hand Syracuse another demoralizing loss to finish the season.
How Syracuse Wins: Play for its seniors
In a year that started with so much promise, Syracuse is now reeling. With thoughts of a bowl game seeming like distant memories, it’s important that Syracuse plays with pride. After all, it is the last collegiate game ever for Orange seniors. Let’s be honest, those seniors haven’t had man great memories during their time in Central New York. The only hope Syracuse has with Zack Mahoney in at quarterback is to rally behind its seniors. If the Orange does that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it put together its best performance so far this season.
Prediction: Boston College 42, Syracuse 31
As much as I’d love to see the season end on a high note, I don’t see it happening. Syracuse’s defense has been horrible the past few weeks. A repeat performance defensively of last week will result in another embarrassing loss. At the end of the day, the loss of quarterback Eric Dungey will be too much to overcome for SU. If Dungey plays, the Orange stands a much better chance at picking up its fifth win of the season.
How Syracuse Wins: Score Early
This is Syracuse’s last attempt to improve its record from last year’s 4-8 season. If this season has shown anything about the character of this Orange team, it’s that it gets off to slow start. Against NC State, Miami and FSU, Syracuse didn’t score in the first quarter. At LSU, Miami and Louisville, SU only scored 3 points in the first half. For the Orange to get this win against BC, Syracuse must score early. If SU doesn’t, there is a large possibility the Orange will again fall behind and not be able to recover.
Prediction: Boston College 35, Syracuse 24
Ultimately, Boston College is the better team in this matchup, and playing Syracuse only gives the Eagles better home field advantage. BC has had some similar results as SU (loss to Wake Forest, win over Central Michigan, loss to NC State) and had one three-point upset of its own with a win over Louisville on the way to its 6-5 record so far this season. But, no matter any similarities, Boston College has shown that it is better. And, as if a final punch is needed with one week left in the season, Eric Dungey is likely to be sidelined once again. The Eagles should get ready to fly in victory formation.
How Syracuse Wins: Win the Possession Battle.
Syracuse likes to control the tempo with its fast pace on offense. Boston College prioritizes ball control as well, but the Eagles do it with an effective ground game. In the last four games, BC ha rushed at least 47 times per contest, and they’ve done it at a remarkably efficient level. If the Orange expects to compete, ‘Cuse will need to stop freshman tailback AJ Dillon. Dillon leads the way for Boston College; 1,239 yards at a little over 5-yards a clip.
Prediction: Boston College 28, Syracuse 21
Boston College comes out to re-affirm their bowl-eligibility and pounds Syracuse into submission on the ground. With Eric Dungey expected to miss his third-straight game, will fans see Rex Culpepper get his first start of the season? Or will Zack Mahoney continue to lead the offense. Neither have demonstrated a mastery of Dino Baber’s offense in the reps they’ve received this year, and I wouldn’t expect this week of practice to change that. If Dungey sits, Syracuse loses.
How Syracuse Wins: Show Up For Your Seniors
Unfortunately, there’s not much riding on this game for Orange fans other than sending the seniors out on a positive note. Since the post-Clemson debacle, SU couldn’t steal a game anywhere down the line or hold home-field against Wake. It’s time for Dino Babers’ bunch to put out a great effort for the upcoming graduating class and show maximum effort.
Prediction: Boston College 33, Syracuse 20
Don’t be surprised to see the Orange come out to a firing start, giving a kick-start to the seniors. But when it’s all said and done, the Eagles are the better team. Boston College is going bowling, Syracuse is not. That will show after 60 minutes of play.
How Syracuse Wins: Stop AJ Dillon
The run game is critical to Boston College, so it is essential that Syracuse grinds it to a halt in the Dome on Saturday. The Eagles have a miniscule passing game, so if the SU front seven can contain running back AJ Dillon, Boston College will be forced to rely on shaky portions of their offense. However, the Orange defense has struggled to contain the opposing run game on their current four-game losing streak. If they are hungry enough to get a win in their final game of the season, expect the defense to step up.
Prediction: Boston College 27, Syracuse 13
Without a healthy Eric Dungey, the Orange is hopeless. The offensive scheme won’t work unless he’s at the helm, especially against a nationally recognized Boston College defense. Embarrassing losses to Louisville and Wake Forest have most likely destroyed all morale for the Orange, and without a chance at a bowl game, there might be too little drive left in Dino Baber’s racecar offense.
How Syracuse Wins: Simplify the Offense
The past two weeks without Eric Dungey have looked like absolute trainwrecks for the Syracuse offense. Both Zack Mahoney and Rex Culpepper struggled to make the same plays that Dungey had made earlier in the season. With Dungey’s status still very much up in the air and a stout Boston College defense heading to the Dome, it’s crucial that the offense becomes easier for either Mahoney or Culpepper to read through and make good decisions in. Give them some of these easy tunnel screens or check-down passes to get them some early completions and boost their confidence so that they can make the more difficult to decisions when the game comes down the stretch. The offense is predicated on Dungey’s abilities, but Mahoney and Culpepper simply don’t have the same skillset. If SU wants to get its fifth win of the season, Dino Babers needs to tailor things to Mahoney and Culpepper and take some of the pressure off their backs.
Prediction: Boston College 34, Syracuse 28
Everyone knows that Syracuse is going to try to throw the ball no matter what the situation entails. With Dontae Strickland again listed as questionable this week along with Eric Dungey, that statement rings truer than it ever has and that’s an issue for SU. Boston College boasts a top-25 passing defense with one of the best ballhawks in the country in Lukas Denis (6 INTs) lurking in the secondary. For an offense that threw four interceptions and scored just one touchdown last week versus a Louisville defense that simply isn’t as good as the Eagles, that’s a huge edge for BC. Coupled with the fact that the SU defense has struggled to stop the run and freshman sensation AJ Dillon is lining up at running back for Boston College, this week is a matchup nightmare for an Orange team that I don’t think will improve on its win total from last season. It’ll be close, but eventually, the Dungey injury and Dillon’s incredible abilities will be too much for SU to overcome.
How Syracuse Wins: Building Momentum without Eric Dungey
Ever since Eric Dungey’s injury in the loss to Florida State, Syracuse looks lost. The Orange still has no running game, especially without Dungey. Plus, neither Zack Mahoney nor Rex Culpepper can get anything going through the air, as Syracuse has not had a passing touchdown since the first half of the Wake Forest game. Most of all, the defense has given up more than 700 yards of offense in each of their last two games. So far, this feels like Deja Vu to last season when Dungey got injured against Clemson and Syracuse never won another game. Forget the past and focus on a win.
Predictions: Boston College 42-10
BC is hot and the Orange is cold. This is a Boston College team that beat FSU and Louisville. I would have said Dome-field advantage would have been on ‘Cuse’s side, but then Wake Forest ran all over SU in the second half two weeks ago. BC has a strong running game and if the last two weeks are any indication, the front seven of the Orange can’t keep a team under 350 yards on the ground. The Eagles average 202.7 rushing yards per game, headlined by freshman AJ Dillon. Syracuse has also made countless mistakes, including six interceptions in the last two games, so expect Boston College to capitalize on that. This could be a very sad Senior Day.