‘Cuse Countdown Previews Saturday’s Matchup Against Duke
Coming off its first win of the season, Syracuse Football has had two week to prepare for Duke to invade the Dome, and the analysts at ‘Cuse Countdown are here to break it down.
John Dales: Syracuse 34 Duke 24
Syracuse has found the answer to its offensive woes, and his name is Sean Tucker. The true freshman tailback put on a show against Georgia Tech, and I expect more of the same against a Blue Devil defense that just allowed 324 rushing yards a week ago. The Orange offense still has plenty of issues to figure out, but a strong run game solves a lot of them. On the other side, Duke’s offense is nothing to write home about, and the SU defense will force turnovers like it always does. I predict the Orange have a hot start just like they did against Georgia Tech, and that leads to a second straight win.
Calvin Christoforo: Syracuse 23 Duke 17
Syracuse football did a lot right in its 37-20 win against Georgia Tech, but its major success came in the turnover battle. SU intercepted yellow jacket quarterback Jeff Sims four times, bringing the team’s season total to an ACC-leading seven. Sims leads the conference with eight interceptions on the year, but just one behind him is Duke signal-caller Chase Brice with seven. This means another great day for the Syracuse secondary. They set Tommy Devito and the revamped Orange offense up with chances to succeed, and Syracuse does just enough to pull out the victory to get back to .500 on the season.
Jacob Morris: Syracuse 27 Duke 17
The Syracuse offense finally found some form of success in the team’s win against Georgia Tech. More specifically, true Freshman running back Sean Tucker found success. Four weeks after being fifth on the SU depth chart, Tucker ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Now following a bye, Tucker and the Orange matchup with the ACC’s worst rush defense in Duke. Expect Tucker and the running attack to get going early and often in this one. Additionally, the Orange defense has been dominant all season long. The unit has forced 10 turnovers through three games, that number leads the ACC and is a top five in the nation. The Orange secondary has hounded quarterbacks and now they get a shot at struggling Clemson transfer Chase Brice. The former five-star recruit is completing just 53% of his passes with 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on the year. The Orange continue to make life hard on Brice and the offense does enough to get the job done.
Johnny Gadamowitz: Syracuse 27 Duke 17
The Orange will not shy away from what got them their first win of the season 2 weeks ago against Georgia Tech; the run game. Freshman RB Sean Tucker has ascended to the top spot on SU’s RB depth chart, and figures to be there to stay. He ran for 112 yards in the home opener, and I see no reason why he can’t hit triple digit rush yards two games in a row. Combine that with the improved offensive line play, which only allowed 1 sack last time out, and there’s no reason the Orange won’t be sitting at .500 by the end of the weekend.
Cameron Ezeir: Syracuse 30 Duke 27
This entire game is predicated on quarterback play. There’s one glaring similarity between Duke’s Chase Brice and Syracuse’s Tommy Devito: both have awful QB-INT ratios. Brice has two touchdowns to six interceptions; Devito has two touchdowns to two interceptions. The redshirt juniors differ in the yardage category though. Brice has eclipsed 200 yards in all three games; Devito has yet to reach that mark. However, the Orange are 1-2 and the Blue Devils 0-3. I think these quarterbacks have so much room to grow and as cliche as it might sound, they’re due. Syracuse just snagged their first win and Devito threw his first touchdown pass last week. Brice led Duke to a one-score defeat against the 19th ranked team in the country. Sit back, relax, and get ready to watch these QBs dual things out in the dome without any expectations. I think it comes down to the wire and it’s Devito who sets up the Lou Groza award winner in 2018, Andre Szmyt. The redshirt junior nails a field goal at the buzzer to keep Duke winless.
Nick Zelaya: Syracuse 31 Duke 17
After an ugly start to the season, the Orange found a spark while playing inside the newly renovated Dome against Georgia Tech. Syracuse is coming off a bye week and looking to carry momentum from its win over the Yellow Jackets into Saturday’s matchup where, once again, the Orange will play in an empty Dome. Duke is hungry for win number one, but a team who has thrown eight interceptions over the last three games will not fare well against an Orange defense that leads the country in interceptions with seven. Even with the health of All-American Andre Cisco in question, this Syracuse secondary has been lethal towards opposing quarterbacks, and will put pressure on Blue Devils QB Chase Brice the entire game. In two games with Clemson, Brice is a combined 8/16 with 79 passing yards and one interception against the Orange, but expect him to throw a couple picks this Saturday. Duke will still have to wait for that first win, and Syracuse will improve to .500 on the season.
Sam Lebowitz: Syracuse 24 Duke 17
On paper, these are two very similar teams. Both Syracuse and Duke have seen their defenses do their job until late in games when exhaustion sets in. That’s because both squads have struggled offensively, forcing the defense to spend more time on the field. The Syracuse offense, most notably the run game, finally woke up two weeks ago against Georgia Tech. After a week off, it’s finally time to see if Sean Tucker was a fluke. On the Duke side, they likely will not have to contend with Andre Cisco, which should help a more experienced quarterback in Chase Brice. Brice has shown flashes for Duke since transferring from Clemson but has not really turned it on yet. His natural ability to sling the ball deep will be helped by not having to deal with the nation’s best ballhawk. I think at the end of the day, this one is going to come down to whichever team controls the football more. If Syracuse can build off the win against Georgia Tech and put together some quality drives to keep the defense rested for the fourth quarter, I think they can pull this off.
Chris Sacchi: Syracuse 20 Duke 17
Last season, Syracuse went down to Durham, North Carolina and defeated Duke in blowout fashion, 49-6. While I expect this year’s game to be much closer inside the Carrier Dome, the Orange have a couple of key advantages to lead the way in another win. With or without Andre Cisco, the Syracuse defense has excelled at forcing opponent turnovers this season, racking up 10 in three games. Meanwhile, Duke QB Chase Brice leads a unit with 15 giveaways in four games. Also in SU’s favor is an improved rushing game, led by Freshman running back Sean Tucker (112 yards and two touchdowns last week.) The Blue Devil defense is yet to prove it can shutdown an opposing ground game, allowing an ACC-worst 193.5 per match.