After a clean sweep for the Fizz Staff against UNC, half of the crew will go home with a loss this week in a pivotal game on the Orange’s slate.
Tyler Aki (6-1): Syracuse 37, NC State 30
It seems like Syracuse is a shoe-in for a ranked victory, and all signs point to this being the one. It sets up well for the Orange in the sense that it’s a home game. The pressure is on for SU to capitalize, especially under center. This isn’t the same fearsome NC State defense the Orange saw last year with the entire defensive line graduated or drafted. Usually quarterback uncertainty is not a winning formula. But it’s a little different for Syracuse. A two quarterback system on Saturday could be in play with Dungey and DeVito both proven to step up in big moments. The only thing that can fracture the quarterback play would be if tempers and egos flare. But that won’t happen with a vet like Dungey who has shown his devotion to winning and DeVito who has handled the backseat role for the most of the season.
JD Raucci (5-2): NC State 34, Syracuse 31
After what was a largely disappointing effort (aside from Tommy DeVito) last week it feels like Syracuse needs a bounce-back game on a big primetime stage this week to get some mojo back. Unfortunately for SU, so does NC State after the Wolfpack got embarrassed by Clemson in Death Valley last week. With both teams very much in need of a win, this seems like a game that could become high-scoring pretty quickly with a huge emphasis on getting out in front early, forcing both defenses on their heels. This could be something like a 24-21 game at halftime before two pretty good defenses figure it out in the second half and tighten up a bit. Because I think that’s how this game is going to trend, this matchup will be decided by the defenses and although I have a lot of faith in the SU defensive line, there are still questions for the Orange at other spots on D. On the other side, outside of the Clemson game, the Wolfpack defense hasn’t given up more than 23 points in a game this season. This will be a fun one to watch and SU will impress at times, but the Wolfpack pulls out its fifth straight win over SU on Saturday.
Tim Leonard (5-2): Syracuse 30, NC State 27
It’s been a weird week with all this quarterback controversy. I hope Dino just hands the keys over to DeVito but we’re probably going to see some type of two quarterback system Saturday. All that being said, this just feels like the moment for Dino and company. It feels like the time they climb the mountain and secure bowl eligibility. It’s a primetime game against a ranked team and I just think the stars are aligned. Also, NC State really hasn’t played anyone and they’re a tad overrated at this point in the season. It will be another barnburner, but give me an Andre Szmyt game winner to clinch win number six of the year.
Jonathon Hoppe (6-1): NC State 35, Syracuse 24
Syracuse isn’t quite ready for the big stage. Dino Babers and company have won the big game, yes, but never in a situation like this. For the first time against a top-25 opponent, there is pressure on SU to perform in primetime. That’s concerning given the current situation at quarterback. Based on what I’ve seen this year, there’s no reason to believe we won’t see both Eric Dungey and Tommy DeVito on Saturday night. If that’s the case, they’re both going to need some time to adjust to a two-quarterback system. NC State is a good football team. One that desperately wants to get a 41-7 loss to Clemson out of its system. Syracuse comes out of the gates focused, but runs out of gas down the stretch against the Wolfpack.
Gill Gross (1-0): NC State 23, Syracuse 21
Defensively, Syracuse matches up well with NC State. Nyheim Hines, who rushed for 116 yards last season against SU, left for the NFL. So the Orange don’t need to worry about getting killed on the ground by an elite talent. Instead, they can focus on quarterback Ryan Finley, who’s top three in passer rating, yards and completion percentage in the ACC. But I trust the SU secondary, led by Christopher Frederick (expected to play after missing last week) and Andre Cisco. For this reason, I think Syracuse holds the Wolfpack under 30. But the offense will struggle. Eric Dungey hasn’t had any semblance of pass accuracy as of late and Tommy DeVito still looks green. The Orange have never been able to lean on the run in the Dino Babers era. Meanwhile, NC State hadn’t given up more than 23 to any opponent before they played Clemson last week. The Orange lose an absolute heartbreaker in front of a raucous crowd. It’s just not time yet.