Fresh off a marquee and perhaps program changing win against West Virginia; Syracuse travels to Ohio to take on Cincinnati. Last year’s undefeated campaign must seem like ages ago to the Bearcats. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Brian Kelly ditched Ohio for the greener pastures of Notre Dame. Butch Jones has taken over and thus far, the results have been lackluster. The Bearcats are 3-4 (1-1 Big East) and coming off an incredibly disappointing loss to USF last weekend. Here is what Syracuse must do to extend its winning streak (and Cincy’s losing streak) to two:
Don’t Pull a Rutgers
In order words, the Orange can’t buy into its own hype and give an encore performance of that Pittsburgh atrocity two weeks ago. SU is beginning to receive praise and respect around the Big East in addition to national attention. Last week, Syracuse actually received eight votes for the top-25. Doug Marrone will have to keep his team focused and working hard. While Syracuse has made definite strides, this program has not “made it” yet by any stretch of the imagination. Playing poorly against Cincy will rub a little luster off the Syracuse program. Hopefully, Marrone and the coaching staff have instilled enough pride in this team to ensure that does not happen.
Pressure the Quarterback
The defensive pressure SU put on USF’s BJ Dainels and West Virginia’s Geno Smith played a pivotal role in the victories. This weekend, the Bearcats are in quite the quarterback quandary, which could help Syracuse continue to make its opposition’s signal-caller inefficient. Cincinnati’s starting QB Zach Collaros’ was injured last Friday after fumbling the football in the fourth quarter of the loss to USF. His back up, Chazz Anderson, went 4-8 for 49 yards in his place. Collaros was on crutches on Tuesday and his status is up in the air for Saturday. Therefore, SU will either be facing an injured Collaros or an inexperienced Anderson. Do your thing, defense.
Watch of for Receiving Corps
If the defense cannot take the Collaros or Anderson out of the game (figuratively speaking), the receiving corps will be giving Scott Shafer a huge headache. The top-wide receivers, D.J. Woods and Armon Binns, have combined for 15 touchdowns and 84 catches this season.
Find the End Zone
This one is obvious. SU’s ineffectiveness on offense has been overshadowed by its vast improvement on defense. The Orange scored just one touchdown against WVU. Nassib would be greatly aided by a better offensive line and a deep threat, but with the lack of depth on that team, that probably will not be happening any time soon. Fortunately for the Orange, its running game has made great strides since the beginning of the season. Antwon Bailey has gotten more involved and Delone Carter has been showing why he might be playing on Sundays one day. DC3 sat out the second half of Saturday’s game with a hip injury, but says he is good to go against the Bearcats.
SU: 24 Cincy: 14
Whether Collaros plays hurt or not at all, the SU defense will take advantage of his injury and the offense will put up enough points to earn Syracuse a W.
About the Author
Written by Beth Ann Clyde
I graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 and can count the number of times I witnessed the Orange win a football game on two hands.