week 12: Louisville vs Syracuse preview, prediction
By Mike Gilpatrick November 17th, 2017
Louisville WR Seth Dawkins makes a touchdown catch against Virginia on November 11th, 2017. Photo by Jared Anderson, River City Cards
cards face a fast Syracuse team fighting for survival
Louisville’s defense played well last week. But this week will be a challenge.
The Cards end their home season Saturday, November 18th, 2017 by hosting the reeling Syracuse Orange. But despite the three-game losing streak, it will be a tough game. Syracuse is a team fighting for survival and bowl eligibility; and has two things that the Cards defense has not done well with.
The first; a quick-tempo offense. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers runs a play every 20 seconds, making it tough for opposing defenses to react. The second is a rushing quarterback. Eric Dungey leads the Orange in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns.
Behind those two, Syracuse has the 21st overall offense. The Orange average 30.5 points per game, and defeated Clemson on October 13th.
But Dungey missed last week’s game against Wake Forest with a leg injury. He may miss this week. If he does, their second-string quarterback isn’t nearly as sharp. Zack Mahoney is 0-7 starting.
Their offense is better with passing. The Orange have the 14th passing offense in the nation. The good news for Louisville is that most throws go to their first two wideouts: Steve Ishmael and Ervin Phillips. They have 92 and 79 catches, respectively. The next player has 28. But in the End Zone, it’s Ishmael and Tight End Ravian Pierce, with six and four touchdowns.
Rushing, the Orange aren’t as sharp. As I said earlier, Dungey is their rushing leader. If he misses, Syracuse may struggle. Their next is Dontae Strickland, a running back with 128 attempts. He has over twice as many as the next guy on the depth chart.
What to expect
If Dungey plays, it will be a shootout. Both defenses have struggled this year. The Orange will exploit The Cards weak secondary, and keep Louisville’s defense guessing. If Dungey doesn’t, The Cards will have a slightly easier time. Mahoney led the Orange last week against Wake Forest, passing 33 of 60 for 384 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
The main challenge for Louisville is the tempo. The Cards must slow the game down to have a chance at getting a stop, and holding the Orange offense. The Orange have also allowed 30 sacks for a loss of 178 yards.
Also expect Syracuse to remain aggressive all game. They’re fighting for survival. If they lose this game, then they will not make a bowl game.
This depends on who will be under center for the Orange. If it’s Dungey, it will be a lot closer of a game. If it’s Mahoney, maybe not so much. I think Louisville’s defense will give up over 35, and force the offense to bail them out. It may have a final box score that looks like the Boston College game. But the difference, however, will be a W on Louisville’s record.