John (9-1): NC State 34, Syracuse 13
SU’s best chance at the magic number “6” wins was last week against Louisville. I think the Orange respond with a much more competitive showing but at this point in the season, moral victories are worthless. Sean Tucker will rewrite history and break the single-season rushing record but he’ll struggle get to 100 yards. This offense goes as he does and if he’s struggling so will this offense.
NC State will turn Syracuse one dimensional like Louisville did last week. Of course, ‘Cuse has no passing game whatsoever to bank on. The Wolfpack on the other hand, can beat you on the ground and/or through the air. Devin Leary will lead this offense to a big outing and the win.
Jaron (6-4): NC State 31, Syracuse 21
Well, there go the hopes of a bowl game. After Louisville’s dismantling of Syracuse last week, SU has two games to get one win. The difficult part is that they are both against ranked opponents. NC State is, in my opinion, the best team in the ACC. Sure, they just barely lost to Wake Forest, but I have been extremely impressed with the Wolfpack. The offensive combination of Devin Leary, Zonovan Knight and Emeka Emezie is super difficult to shut down. Plus, NC State has an experienced and talented offensive line.
On the other side, the Wolfpack ranks third in the ACC in total defense. So, simply put, they are a complete team. As for Syracuse, I don’t expect SU to look as bad as it did against Louisville. However, the kicking game is killing the Orange and the defense has been playing much looser than it did at the beginning of the season. Tucker and Shrader are pretty consistent, but if they have an off day, the Orange have nothing. NC State is clearly the better team and is at home, so this is an easy pick for me. Give me the Wolfpack in at least a two-score game.
Carter (5-5): NC State 27, Syracuse 10
Even though there’s two weeks left in the season, last week’s 41-3 drumming against Louisville felt like the end of SU’s season. ‘Cuse’s two remaining games are against ranked teams, beginning with No. 25 NC State this Saturday. Neither of those last two contests look like good matchups for a 5-5 Orange team still smarting from yet another blowout loss to the Cardinals. Last Saturday was the seventh time in eight matchups Syracuse has lost to UL by at least 22 points.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack come in with the 14th best scoring defense in the entire FBS, led by an outstanding season from sophomore linebacker Drake Thomas. NC State’s defense has held five of its ten opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards. That’s as bad a stat to go up against as any for Syracuse and its incapable passing offense. On the offensive side of the ball, Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary has quietly been one of the better passers in the ACC with 29 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He’s certainly not the guy the SU secondary wants to go up against after giving up four touchdown passes to Malik Cunningham.
Look for Sean Tucker to deservedly claim ‘Cuse’s single season rushing record this Saturday, but save your money if you’re an SU fan and bettor. It appears a potential bowl bid will likely come down to how well the Orange can defend Kenny Pickett and company next week.
Brad (5-5): NC State 27, Syracuse 20
Syracuse fans are likely still having nightmares from the 4th down spike by Rex Culpepper to end last season’s upset bid of NC State. The Orange outplayed the Wolfpack in that game. Then again, Devin Leary did not play. Bailey Hockman stepped in as the backup QB and had mixed results. At one point, Hockman threw the ball to the back of his own end zone. That won’t happen under the steady hand of Leary. But this game is more about whether Syracuse can clean up their act or not.
Cam (5-5): NC State 30, Syracuse 20
Syracuse’s performance last week isn’t a good sign for two reasons. It came off a bye week where the Orange could tweak their scheme and bring injury-laden players back. Plus, Garrett Shrader looked uncomfortable in the pocket because his offensive line couldn’t protect well and his receivers failed to get open. All of these encapsulate an SU team that is not ready to dethrone a pair of ranked opponents.
Unfortunately, the Wolfpack are just that. Even with three losses on the season, NC State is a really good defensive team that will continue to give the Orange fitz on Saturday. Expect Sean Tucker to break the single season rush yards record, but not much more than that, with the Wolfpack ranking #1 in rush defense in the ACC. It’s another tough loss for Syracuse and a trip home with bowl eligibility on the line in its final regular season matchup.