Big East vs Big Ten: Syracuse Travels To Take on Minnesota in Week 4 College FootballSyracuse vs. Minnesota
Time: 8 PM EST Sat
Spread: SYR -1
M/L: SYR -115, MIN -105
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
From my Syracuse Season Preview:
Sometimes things don’t quite go as expected when it comes to college football offense and defenses, because for the Orange, it was expected that their offense would excel last season, yet offensively they ranked a very poor 84th in the nation, averaging only 24.2 points per contest. Their defense, conversely, was expect to struggle, and it was slightly better than the offense, ranking 73rd in the nation, allowing only 28.5 points per game.
What you notice, however, is that while the defense was good, it wasn’t quite good enough (or maybe the offense, wasn’t!), because the Orange averaged a defeat and ended up with a losing record.
Doug Marrone has decided to take a different approach in 2012 and has gone to a more ground oriented game, which should help QB Ryan Nassib thrive more, as he still managed to pass for 2,700 yards last year with very little help from the backs. Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley, and freshman Adonis Ameen Moore will do the work running the ball this year, but true freshman Aston Broyld could also be a huge bonus as he is a versatile QB capable of both running the ball and putting it in the air. It will take time for him to adjust to Marrone’s offense, but once he does, he could significantly aid the Orange’s offense.
The Orange have gone 1-2 so far this young season and Ryan Nassib has improved, just not by enough. The 6’2″ senior from West Chester, PA has a QB rating of 147.2 and has nine TDs to go along with 3 INT and 3 sacks. He’s getting only 7.75 yards per pass, but is still completing 66 percent of his passes, and also had a 482 yard game in the 42-41 loss to Northwestern on opening night.
Nassib followed up that loss with a 322 yard night against USC, and another 335 yard night against Stony Brook, the Orange lone win of the year. He’s rushed for one TD against USC and he posted a 171.5 rating in the 28-17 victory over Stony Brook last week.
The win against Stony Brook ended a seven game losing streak for the Orange.
Syracuse has won their last 2 games against current FCS members, and the last loss was in 1958 to Holy Cross. At the half against the Seawolves of Holy Cross, the Orange had run six less plays and they had been out gained 261-220. Stony Brook three and out Syracuse on their first possession. When the Seawolves took the attack, the Orange secondary was beat for a 63 yard run that gave Stony Brook a 7-0 lead.
Syracuse trailed 17-14 at the half but reeled off two unanswered TDs in the second half.
But it’s going to take wins against bigger schools than FCS members to get the Orange some respect.
And Minnesota should be a good match for the Orange.
They’ve won their first three games of the season, after a dramatic triple OT winner over UNLV on opening night. Since that time, they hammered New Hampshire, and edged out Western Michigan by five.
This showdown will air on the Big Ten Network and the Golden Gophers are going to rely on their stellar defense, which allows only 19 points per game, bolstered mostly by the fact they only allowed a touchdown to New Hampshire on the 8th.
Their rush attack has been effective, ranking 35th in the nation with 209.7 yards per game. It is paced by two work horses in Donnell Kirkwood and MarQueis Gray, who have 98 carries between them for nearly 500 yards. The duo has combined for three of the four rushing TDs scored by Minnesota this year, and Gray had a 75 yard TD run against New Hampshire, one of his two TDs in the game, as he also threw for 100 yards on six completions. The senior dual threat quarterback has posted a QB rating of 168 in his time throwing the ball, while backup Max Shortell has done well too with a 65.2 percent completion ratio on 23 attempted passes for 260 yards total. Gray accounts for roughly two-thirds the passing yardage, but his ability to run the ball is what is going to keep Minnesota in this game.
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