This Saturday, the Syracuse Orange travels to Winston-Salem, NC to play the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University at 12:00pm ET. It is not expected for either team to have an abundance of fans present due to Syracuse, NY being so far away, and Wake Forest students heading home this weekend for Fall Break. Both teams are currently 2-4, making this a pretty fair matchup.
Wake Forest is coming off a bye week, hopefully leaving them with enough extra rest and practice to pull out a win. Syracuse, on the other hand, is coming off a loss to Florida State, which most likely left them demoralized and tired. Looking purely at the practice environment each team has had this past week, Wake should come away victorious.
Syracuse and Wake are both known for their limitations on offense. We can expect to see many punts, considering that the average number of punts for Wake and Syracuse combined is 11.5. Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal averages more than 43 yards per punt this season. Wake kicker Mike Weaver is currently 8-8 on field goal attempts and has converted on all ten of his extra point tries . Syracuse punter Riley Dixon averages a little less than 43 yards per punt, making him the perfect, matchup for Kinal.
Wake’s biggest obstacle to overcome is the strength of their offensive line (or lack thereof). The Demon Deacons not only start numerous freshmen on the line, but they also start a freshman at quarterback, John Wolford. Wake’s offense is currently ranked 127th in the country, compared to Syracuse’s 77th. It does not look very promising for Wake to win by a comfortable amount of points. Wolford will have to be careful to limit turnovers, with the help of more protection from his line.
Syracuse’s player to watch out for is running back Prince-Tyson Gulley, due to his average of 5.97 yards per carry. If the Wake defense isn’t careful, he will easily wear them out on the ground. Syracuse’s rushing rank is decently good, ranking No. 27 in the country. Wake’s best hope is to force their offense into passing situations.
The Orange will be starting true freshman quarterback AJ Long against the Deacons. Long proved himself to be a strong force on the field against Florida State last week, completing 16-of-27 passes for two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Overall, it will most likely be a close game. I’m predicting that Wake pulls away with the win, but probably by less than a touchdown. It will be a a competitive, and interesting game to watch.
*Section Photo credit to Brett Carlsen, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jeremy Brevard, USA Today Sports