College Football Week 7 Picks and Predictions: Syracuse Orange at N.C. State Wolfpack
Odds courtesy of 5dimes
Syracuse lost badly at home against No. 3 Clemson last week, falling 49-14 in a game the Orange were not expected to compete in. Tajh Boyd picked the Orange defense apart, passing for 455 yards and five TDs. Terrel Hunt was unable to get the Orange’s own pass game going, completing just 8-of-24 passes and the Orange converted just 4-of-20 on third down. The backfield had good success if any positives could be drawn, as the Orange rushed for 323 yards, led by Jerome Smith’s 125 yards.
That has been the story more or less this season for Syracuse, though, who ranks 48th in the nation in rushing yards with 192.4 per game. The result is a relatively effective offense which has generated 32.8 points per game. Jerome Smith has 342 yards on the year and four others (including QB Hunt) have at least 100 yards. The Orange have scored 13 rushing touchdowns and the receivers have accounted for 9.
Prior to last week’s loss, the Orange had won in back-to-back weeks over Wagner and Tulane. The ACC stretch of the schedule won’t be soft, though, with Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Maryland to follow this week’s game.
NC State is trying not to look past this week to next week’s matchup against No. 6 FSU. The Wolfpack are 3-2 and should have no problem defeating the under dogged Orange this week, but last weeks 28-13 loss to Wake Forest served as a slap in the face to an NC State team that is expected to be among the tougher in the ACC this season.
The Wolfpack have balanced their offense well, with a pass offense ranking 51st and rush offense ranking 52nd, and the defense seems improved. Fans will remember the Wolfpack defeated FSU last season, which was a big game for the program taking the notice of fans around the country.
QB Pete Thomas has come back strong after missing 2012. In 2011, Thomas threw for 1,607 yards with a 61.7 percent completion ratio, and this year he already has 1,163 with a slightly better ratio at 63.7 percent.
The 6’6″ junior has a nice quartet of passing options with Bryan Underwood (268 yards, 24 receptions), Rashard Smith (242 yards, 21 receptions), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (201 yards, 14 receptions) and Quintin Payton (159 yards, 12 receptions). In addition to Thomas’ success as a passer, he’s also rushed for 153 yards. It’s a nice complement to backs Matt Dayes, Bryant Shirreffs and Shadrach Thornton. Dayes has 180 yards on the year on 40 carries and is second behind only Thomas in touchdowns (4).
OVER 4-0-1 in last 5 after allowing 280-plus yards passing previous game; OVER 4-0-1 in last 5 road games; 0-5 ATS in last 5 vs teams with winning home records
UNDER 8-1 in last 9 at home; 8-1 ATS in last 9 vs teams with losing records on the road; UNDER 7-1 in last 8 following SU loss