Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, 2013
By Sean Keeley
Surely no one thinks the Syracuse Orange will lose to the Wagner Seahawks this weekend, right? RIGHT??? Let's find out...
Syracuse 31, Wagner 13
Yup, another one of those games against a FCS opponent. In front of the Dome crowd, Drew Allen might end up looking shaky in his first snaps, which could lead to yet another costly turnover. I hope it's not the case, but would you really doubt it at this point? Whether Allen struggles or not, though, one would assume George McDonald is trying a few different things with the running game in this one, while also letting both quarterbacks (Allen and Terrel Hunt) get some reps. This won't be the game that decides the job, of course. But I don't see Hunt doing anything against the Seahawks to hurt his chances either. Most importantly (and oddly, not talked about as much) is the secondary's effort though. They'll have a speed advantage here and should take advantage of it to force turnovers. Wagner's got some quality offensive players, but there shouldn't be any 20- or 30-yard gains against the Orange like we saw last weekend against Northwestern. Everyone should use this contest to work out the kinks and get ready for the meat of the schedule.
Syracuse 28, Wagner 10
Bah. I don't know where to go with this one. SU is going to win, and it may win comfortably, but given what we've seen of this team, things may be a little dicier than expected. While I'm anxious to see if the offensive line can push the Seahawks around, and to see if the secondary can shutdown anyone, and to see how Ross Krautman's injury affects the special teams, but the headline will certainly be the open quarterback competition going on between Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt. Honestly, I think it's a mistake to not let Allen at least have the opportunity to get his sea legs against an inferior opponent. But we'll see how it all turns out. My guess? I think it's going to be a somewhat jumbled mess. The plus side? Jerome Smith should have no less than three touchdowns and well over 150 yards rushing. Another positive, SU will be off the schneid for 2013.
Syracuse 31, Wagner 14
C’mon guys, it’s Wagner we’re talking about. I understand you’re frustrated with Drew Allen. And I realize that you had to watch Northwestern score 48 points last week. But Syracuse scored 27 points last week. I have no reason to believe the Orange can’t score just as much or more against an FCS team. Even on limited carries, Jerome Smith has been pretty effective thus far. He has three rushing touchdowns and 4.4 yards per carry. On the passing game, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Ashton Broyld so far and hopefully George McDonald can open up the playbook a bit and get him heavily involved on Saturday. Hey, did I mention it’s Wagner?
Syracuse 25, Wagner 17
This will be a very interesting game. On paper, we all know that this should be a blowout favoring the Orange. However, with all of the funk surrounding the QB's and offensive gameplan, I have a feeling this game will be more Stony Brook style and be close. Orange win this one 25-17 and no one knows who the QB is moving into Tulane.
Syracuse 44, Wagner 13
I know FCS schools have traditionally presented SU with a stiff challenge, particularly early in the game when squad depth and fatigue are not a factor. Following HCSS' emotional press conference following the Northwestern loss, I am sure that the team is going in with an enormous chip on their shoulders. I think that will translate into a very aggressive start from us. Offensively, I think we'll look to ground and pound early, and slowly open up the passing game. Defensively, I sense that you will see a TON of blitzing from us, which will allow for the occasional big play from Wagner, but there's too much talent on our team to make this a close one. We lead by 17 at the half and walk away from the Dome with our first win.
Syracuse 35, Wagner 10
I need to stay optimistic because I can't lose faith in the hard-nosyness of head coach Scott Shafer. I have a feeling that the defense WILL show up against the Seahawks, who will struggle to move the ball on offense, which will help set up good field position for the Orange, who will capitalize on said field position.
HOWEVER, none of this will happen until Terrel Hunt comes into the game. There, I said it, Terrel Hunt is your new Syracuse quarterback.
Syracuse 35, Wagner 10
Following recent Syracuse tradition, Wagner will go on a long, sustained, early drive and score a touchdown, and many sighs will be had and teeth will be gnashed, but ultimately, Syracuse will right the ship and use this game to work through many of the issues that have plagued the early season. Even though they're playing an inferior opponent, the opposition doesn't really have anything to do with the communication breakdowns that we've seen through the first two games, and that is one of the biggest things I look for to be fixed. Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt both look fairly sharp on their drives, the running game gets going in a big way, and we begin to really see what George McDonald envisions with this offense.
Syracuse 35, Wagner 17
Things that concern me...Wagner has a fantastic RB in Dominique Williams and an affinity for scoring loads of points in the second half. Things that make me feel better...Stony Brook came at us with a fantastic running attack last year...and we beat them by 11, Wagner doesn't have the talent (in terms of scholarships) that Stony Brook (or even Maine) had, and I actually do think we start to figure some stuff out on offense this week. It's Syracuse so it won't be pretty but we'll win and we'll get to celebrate some touchdowns. After the first two weeks, I'll take it.