2014 Syracuse Orange Team Preview
Head Coach: Scott Shafer
2013 Record: 7-6 overall, 4-4 ACC Atlantic
2013 Bowl Result: Beat Minnesota 21-17 in the Texas Bowl
2013 Returning Starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship Game: Field 30/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Championship Game: 66/1
Odds to Win 2014 ACC Atlantic Division: 33/1
Regular Season Wins: over 5.5 -150 / under 5.5 +120
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The Syracuse Orange went 7-6 last season in their first year in the ACC. Fot the most part, Syracuse got beat handily by almost every good team they played except for a six point loss against Penn State. and beat the middling to bad teams on the schedule. They did pull off a mild upset over Maryland. Syracuse was held under 20 points six times, but the defense did post two shutouts. The Orange beat Minnesota 21-17 in the Texas Bowl.
Fifteen starter are back for the Orange under second year head coach Scott Shafer.
Syracuse was #105 nationally in passing out of 125 teams at 182 yards per game. The rushing attack averaged 195 yards per game. The Orange scored 23 points a game, despite scoring over 50 points twice. Eight starters return under coordinator George McDonald.
Senior quarterback Terrel Hunt took over after four games last season for the ineffective Drew Allen who has since graduated. Hunt returns though after completing 61.2% of his passes for 1,638 yards with 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, and rushed for 500 yards on 106 carries with 7 touchdowns. Hunt will be the full-time starter in 2014 but must cut down on the turnovers.
Leading rusher Jerome Smith is now with the Atlanta Falcons after rushing for 914 yards with 12 touchdowns, along with a touchdown catch. Tyson Gully is also gone after rushing for 456 yards and 4 touchdowns, and making 15 catches with a touchdown. George Morris II (79 carries, 334 yards and a touchdown) and Devante McFarlane (48 carries, 292 yards and a touchdown) will split most of the carries, but Hunt could rush for at least 700 yards if given a full season behind center.
Receiver Ashton Broyld made 52 catches for 452 yards but none of them went for touchdowns. Jarrod West had 26 catches for 397 yards and a touchdown. The Orange must replace Christopher Clark who led Syracuse in touchdown catches with 3. Brisly Estime and tight end Josh Parris will also get catches. The Orange also welcome a group of five true freshmen receivers that could contribute immediately.
The offensive line returns four of five starters led by tackle Sean Hickey.
Syracuse allowed 367 yards per game on defense last year and 25 points per game. Seven starters are back for coordinator Chuck Bullough. Like the offense, the defense was feat or famine as they had two shutouts and held 5 other teams to 17 points or less. However, they also gave up 48 points or more four times.
The defensive line must replace star tackle Jay Bromley. Ends Robert Welsh and Micah Robinson do return as starters.
Middle linebacker Marquis Spruill does depart but outside linebackers Cam Lynch and Dyshawn Davis do return to anchor the unit.
All four starters return in the secondary led by safety Durell Eskridge who had 78 tackles to lead the team and 4 interceptions.
Kicker Ross Krautman missed most of 2013 with an injury but has made 49 of 63 field goals in his career. Punter Riley Dixon averaged 42 yards per punt and planted 21 inside the 20. Morris and McFarlane will return kicks. Estime will return punts again.
Outlook / Schedule
Syracuse has home non-conference games against Villanova and Maryland, and travels to Central Michigan. Syracuse does play Notre Dame in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In ACC play, Syracuse hosts Louisville, Florida State, North Carolina State and Duke. The Orange travel to Wake Forest, Clemson, Pittsburgh and Boston College. A four game gauntlet of Maryland, Notre Dame, Louisville and Florida State would be tough for any team. Even getting to six wins and going to a mediocre bowl game will be a difficult goal to achieve.
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