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The Syracuse Orange travel to Raleigh for an ACC game against the NC State Wolfpack Thursday night. Both teams are 3-2 overall and 0-1 in ACC play while coming off a bye week. Of the two, Syracuse was expected to the more competitive group until it lost back to back blowouts to Maryland and Clemson respectively. Syracuse has beaten up on inferior opponents Western Michigan and Holy Cross in its past two games. The Orange are led by quarterback Tommy DeVito, who has 1,234 passing yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Wolfpack last played Florida State, a game that ended in a 31-13 defeat in Tallahassee. FSU transfer Bailey Hockman got the majority of reps at quarterback for NC State, and he didn't fare too well against his former team, as he completed 21 of 40 passes. He will be making his first start of the season on Thursday.
Syracuse eyes first conference winThe Syracuse Orange are coming off a much-needed bye week after quarterback Tommy DeVito suffered an upper-body injury late in the win over Holy Cross. DeVito has thrown eight touchdowns in the past two games which should give him plenty of confidence heading into Thursday. The sophomore must be wary of turning the ball over, as he's already committed five interceptions.
Syracuse runs the ball a little less than two-thirds of the time. Senior Moe Neal leads the team with 317 rushing yards and three touchdowns while junior Abdul Adams has 193 and a pair of scores. Another skill player to watch out for is receiver Trishton Jackson, who has 393 yards and five touchdowns.
When the sun sets, the Orange comes out.— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) October 7, 2019
All 🍊 under the lights on Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/ZydKuTUUFx
Dino Babers discusses preparing during the bye week.
"Any time you get a bye week there are two things you have to do: You have to get healthy and you have to try and get better," Babers said Monday at his weekly press conference."We're working on all the positions to get better. We're trying to see if there is someone locked into the two-deep that should have the opportunity to be in the one or in the 1.5 as we talk about it. Somebody that has to have more repetitions in the game to see if they can help us this year instead of helping us next year."
The Orange defense is middle of the road, though the unit does have 12 forced turnovers (six fumbles, six interceptions). Syracuse is expected to return injured defensive backs Andre Cisco and Ifeatu Melinfonwu, which would provide some crucial depth to the secondary. Syracuse also boasts a preseason All-American kicker in Andre Szmyt, who is five for five kicking field goals. The 2018 Lou Groza Award winner could be the difference-maker if this game is close in the fourth quarter.
NC State turns to new starter at QBNC State head coach Dave Doeren is shaking things up at quarterback this week by giving Bailey Hockman the start. The Wolfpack are changing signal callers after one too many disappointing outings from Matthew McKay. Hockman is a former FSU transfer and four-star recruit. He has a strong arm but needs to improve on his accuracy. Hockman is 28-50 passing for 255 yards, including one touchdown and one interception.
The NC State offense will be missing some valuable components. Sophomore running back Ricky Person is out, as is redshirt junior offensive tackle Justin Witt. The Wolfpack enter the week as one of the best teams in the nation at pass protection, but they'll be in for a challenging without two top blockers. NC State will rely on freshman Zonovan Knight for a bulk of carries. He has 293 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
On defense, the Wolfpack are missing top cornerback Nick McCloud. NC State ranks sixth nationally against the run, allowing 71.8 yards per game. Senior defensive end Larrell Murchison is averaging one sack per game. NC State's defense ranks 13th nationally with 3.8 sacks per game.
- Wolfpack are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Wolfpack are 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Wolfpack are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in October.
- Orange are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- Orange are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games following a straight up win.
- Orange are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Orange enter this one with the more experienced quarterback and fewer injuries altogether. Syracuse is also 15-3 in its last 18 weekday games. I think Syracuse will capitalize on NC State starting a new guy at quarterback in Bailey Hockman. Remember that the Wolfpack are also without their top running back. Go with the Orange here.
Prediction: Syracuse +4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Despite neither team having an ACC win and one team having a bad defense, I will be siding with the under in this one. Add in that one quarterback is coming off an injury and the other is making his first start, I don't have much confidence in either offense putting up a lot of points. The under is the pick here.
Prediction: Under 55.5