Syracuse gets its first test against a ranked opponent this season and it comes in Dino Babers’ second week at the helm. Louisville comes to the Dome fresh off a 70-14 trouncing of Charlotte and moved up to 13th in the AP Poll. Lamar Jackson’s historic performance against the 49ers catapulted him into the Heisman conversation. The sophomore accounted for eight touchdowns in the first half. Jackson sat out the final 30 minutes after posting nearly 300 yards through the air with six touchdowns to go along with 119 rushing yards and two scores. Orange quarterback Eric Dungey is coming off the best game of his career, but his performance against Colgate doesn’t stack up to Jackson’s video game numbers. However, the two quarterbacks possess many similarities, bringing plenty of intrigue to Friday’s matchup.
Looking at Jackson, he’s a running back trapped in a quarterback’s body. The 6’3 bruiser’s elusiveness and speed can outrace secondaries. Jackson also has a strong arm and can lay a perfect deep ball at times, but the Florida native can also be erratic. He finished third to last in the ACC in completion percentage last season and threw eight interceptions. Despite the wildness, the signal caller incites fear in opposing defenses with his elite level dual threat ability. Syracuse has never faced Jackson and will have to be on its toes at all times with him under center. His play style is similar to Clemson’s Deshaun Watson who torched SU last November.
As for Dungey, he doesn’t hold premier athleticism like Jackson, but he does things similarly. The sophomore showed what this Orange offense can be with his 355 yard outburst against Colgate. Dungey was not as effective with his legs, but no Syracuse rusher could find success. In last season’s matchup against the Cardinals, the Oregon native left the game with a head injury that shut him down for the remainder of the season. It was all for the better after Dungey tossed two interceptions and had battled previous head injuries.
If the Orange can hang with the Cards, the Carrier Dome scoreboard could look like it just finished a basketball game. Both squads have very potent offenses, but the clear advantage goes to Jackson and Louisville who have proven to be one of the most intriguing teams in the ACC and could give Clemson and Florida State runs for their money.