CAM (2-0): Syracuse 27, Purdue 23
This is the game I’m forecasting as SU’s introduction to the national polls. Garrett Shrader is a top 5 QB in college football and for the first time in what seems like forever, there’s a competent O-line to protect a Syracuse quarterback. Along with his inevitable 200 passing yards, it has gone under the radar that Sean Tucker has recorded back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, which only means that a breakout performance is due, especially in front of a rocking crowd in the Dome.
But let’s not discredit Purdue’s prowess. This boilermakers squad played the 22nd ranked team in the nation at the time, Penn State, really close, and then responded with a blowout win over Indiana State at home. How’d they get it done? All thanks to quarterback Aidan O’Connell conducting this Big Ten train. The sixth year starting QB attempted 59 passes in their season opener, which is why I have SU’s defense creating havoc in the air (as they did in game 1 against Louisville). Not to mention, the crowd played a large role in the Orange’s week 1 win, and if Purdue chooses to stray away from running plays, the Dome’s energy could be the decision maker in this game.
Ultimately, after seeing 7 different receivers make a catch against Louisville and 10 versus UConn, I have enough confidence in the Cuse’s offensive variety behind two top 10 players in the conference. This game will only come down to the wire because it’ll prove that Syracuse can both beat good teams and deal with a little adversity in the process.
ETHAN (2-0): Syracuse 35, Purdue 28
With some key injuries piling up for the Boilermakers, the Orange will take advantage and make enough plays on offense to score over thirty points once again in the early season. Garrett Williams will have a key interception of Aidan O’Connell that halts one Purdue drive and that ends up being the difference in the game as the Orange start 3-0.
IAN (1-0) (EXEMPT FROM PREDICTION):
Syracuse has one thing to fear when it comes to Purdue: Charlie Jones. The nation’s leader in receptions isn’t built like a world-beater, but has undeniable quickness and a savvy instinct for route running. Jones is the first option of childhood teammate Aidan O’Connell on almost every play. If the Orange can contain Jones, they should have the upper hand. The Boilers struggle to run the ball, and are sound defensively, but not talented enough to contain Sean Tucker for four quarters. Garrett Shrader should have success scrambling against a secondary which struggled to tackle against Penn State.
JOHN (1-1) (EXEMPT FROM PREDICTION):
This is going to be an incredible game. Purdue’s first trip to the Dome, SU trying to do something it hasn’t done very often: beat a Big Ten team. The Orange certainly can too. SU is playing explosively on defense and very complementary on offense. Purdue is a very good passing team under Aidan O’Connell but really doesn’t have anything of a run game. On top of that, this offense has taken a step back without NFL receiver David Bell. If SU can limit the Boilermakers leading receiver in Charlie Jones, they’ll be just fine. On the flip side, Purdue is without a very key piece of its defense in Jalen Graham. SU can beat this secondary with its passing game if the receivers can win one on one which they should have chances to do with Sean Tucker and the run game rumbling. This contest is going to go down to the wire and could really go either way. Whoever has possession last will win this game.
LIAM (1-1): Syracuse 27, Purdue 24
Frankly, this is a much bigger game for Syracuse than it is for Purdue. The Boilermakers don’t have to deal with the elites of the Big Ten (no one on the remainder of their schedule is currently ranked) the way the Orange have to deal with the elites of the ACC down the line. Purdue lost starting running back King Doerue due to a calf injury against Indiana State last week, which is a big loss given that he has been a TD machine (3 in two games). Additionally, the Boilermakers will have to deal with a time zone change which, even though it’s only one hour, is never easy to adjust. Those two factors along with what will be a very raucous Dome crowd Saturday have me thinking Syracuse walks it off courtesy of Andre Szmyt’s leg.
CARTER (0-1): Syracuse 30, Purdue 28
Before this season began, I was convinced that Purdue was a team Syracuse couldn’t beat. Then again, I thought the same thing about Louisville. The Orange have simply played too well their first two weeks for me to pick otherwise, and they return to the Dome this weekend armed with perhaps the best (two-game statistical) quarterback in college football in Garrett Shrader. UConn presented no resistance last week, but the Boilermakers may meet some this week. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell is in his sixth year in West Lafayette, and he’s carried most of Purdue’s offense through two games with 78 pass attempts and 576 yards. That’s answering the call, but Purdue having four different backs with over 10 carries and the fourth worst rushing offense in the Big 10 doesn’t scream “balance”. If O’Connell throws heavy volume at SU’s corners in Duce Chestnut and NFL hopeful Garrett Williams, that works to Syracuse’s advantage. The Boilermakers also have to travel from Central to Eastern time, making that Saturday noon kickoff and early wakeup that much more unpleasant; I expect Purdue to get off to a slow start for that reason, even if for just a drive or two. Give me a red-hot Syracuse squad taking a slim one in front of a frenzied Dome crowd.