The Boston College Eagles come into this weekend’s game against the Syracuse Orange riding a four-game winning streak. If BC can beat Syracuse, not only would they extend that streak, but they would also make it to six wins on the season and become bowl-eligible.
Thank you to Christian De Guzman from Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for taking the time to answer some questions about Syracuse football.
Syracuse is now 0-4 in ACC play, and none of their games have been particularly close. Do you think the team expected their ACC schedule to play out like this, or has this season been surprising?
I don’t think any sane Syracuse fan expected the Orange to win against the first three opponents of the ACC schedule. Asking for wins against Clemson, at UNC and at FSU in a row is a tall task for any team. The big surprise and concern was Syracuse’s last game at Virginia Tech, which came after a bye. Orange teams typically haven’t done well under Dino Babers, but last week’s performance against the Hokies sounded alarms and raised signal fires. The Syracuse we saw against a beatable Virginia Tech team was an Orange squad that was nowhere near the quality of a team that started the season 4-0. Sloppy play and a seeming lack of cohesion and belief have the fans in a spiral right now.
The Orange have been middle-of-the-road on offense this season, but Garrett Shrader is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country. What has his leadership meant to the team this season?
To be honest, right now, it’s hard to see if there is a standout “leader,” if a leader at all on the offense, especially after the last few games. But if Shrader can shake off the recent performances, he has the ability to single-handedly win a game by himself. Look at Syracuse’s game against Purdue, where he rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Shrader hasn’t been anywhere close to that same player in ACC play.
Thomas Castellanos has excelled at running the ball this year, although he was dealing with an injury against UConn last week. How do you think Syracuse will try to contain him?
If Castellanos is healthy, a lot of this game will be determined by how effective Kye Robichaux is. A major weakness for Syracuse this year is containing outside runs, and if there are two running threats, it’ll be difficult for the Orange to determine which runner to commit to. Having multiple rushers who can grind out yards will prove to be a headache for Syracuse.
Who is one offensive and one defensive player who could single-handedly win the game for the Orange?
If it wasn’t apparent by my previous answer, the obvious choice on offense is Shrader. As a secondary option, LeQuint Allen has the ability to break out some huge runs, as long as the offensive line can open up some clear holes for him. If the defense can force BC into passing downs, Marlowe Wax can make the game a nightmare for whoever’s at QB. He’s always a threat, especially when setting up for an A-gap blitz.
Syracuse is slightly favored in this matchup, but what are your predictions for how this game will play out?
I’m not sure how much BC fans follow or care about Syracuse, but an Orange win is vital for at least some stability in future plans for the program. A cooling hot seat for Dino Babers has been doused with gasoline after the dismal performance against Virginia Tech. The Orange cannot afford to go into next week’s game, a Yankee Stadium matchup against Pitt, with a loss to the Eagles. If the Orange offensive line can keep Shrader up and open up running lanes, the offense has a chance to get back into rhythm. And if the defense can prevent the outside run from extending drives, the scoreline should stay at a manageable place. Either way, I’m expecting this to be a low-scoring game. Hopefully, enough alarm bells were rung to wake Syracuse up and give the Orange enough of a boost to take a nail-biting 20-17 win.