What did we learn from Syracuse last week against Maine? It’s not good enough to sleepwalk through a half of football. What else did we learn? Not much. Remember, Maine is a FCS team for a reason. But from one to another we go and an old rival as well as Syracuse takes on Colgate at the Dome at 3:30 pm on Saturday.
Like Maine last week, the Orange should handle Colgate but they certainly can’t afford to sleepwalk through a half again. This season the Red Raiders beat Monmouth by a point and lost to Furman by 30. But they’ve been one of the better FCS teams sporting a 25-9 record over the last three seasons. They finished 3rd in the FCS in rushing as a team last year averaging nearly 250 yards a game. Without last year’s leading rusher Jordan McCord the team hasn’t missed a step. Early on this season Colgate is 2nd in the Patriot Conference in rushing with more than 220 yards a game. Like Maine last week Colgate also has a running back worthy of Syracuse’s attention in Nate Eachus who is averaging almost 140 yards a game. The Syracuse defense has been stout more often than not this season and there’s no reason to think they shouldn’t be as successful.
On the other side of the ball Colgate is also tops in the conference in pass defense allowing 151 yards through the air a game. Like its rushing attack, Colgate’s pass defense has been a solid one. It was 2nd in the conference last year allowing just under 200 through the air. Ryan Nassib won’t have as easy of a time against Colgate as he did against Maine with his five touchdowns. It’s hard to imagine he won’t have another good day based on what we’ve seen from him to this point.
So what should you expect to see from the Orange against Colgate? The tough part about FCS games is that they’re just that. FCS games. It’s against inferior opposition and while the win is all well and good, there are no big themes to take away from the game. Ryan Nassib should put on another solid if not spectacular performance. I would like to see Delone Carter have a big day. You know he’s capable of it and you know he’s a good back. A big game from Mr. Ohio certainly wouldn’t hurt matters though with South Florida a couple of weeks away. The defense should look like it can win a game or two in the Big East on its own. The worries about the offensive line will still persist regardless of what happens here until Big East play gets underway. The games against Maine and Colgate give the line a chance to build more chemistry and become more of a unit. But you can’t look at it as any more than that.
For as much as I’m downplaying this game as just another FCS tuneup, it’s really an important game for Syracuse. At 3-1 the Orange would have a very realistic shot at finishing 6-6 and maybe even 7-5. For those who have been paying attention to the program at any point during the Greg Robinson, that’s an exciting thought. 7-5 means a bowl game. Even 6-6 could be a bowl game. So while the Colgate game on its own is nothing to go too wild about, in the grand scheme of things a win here could go a long way toward getting Syracuse moving in the right direction in the Big East.
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Written by Lutfi Sariahmed
Prince-Tyson Gulley for the win