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Syracuse vs. Wagner: Crystal Ball Predictions

ETHAN (4-0): Syracuse 63, Wagner 7

This is the gimme of all gimmes. The Orange are going to roll all over the Seahawks and cruise to their first 5-0 start in a very long time. Sean Tucker will have a monster day, and the defense will stifle Wagner all evening long. As long as the Orange aren’t looking ahead to NC State, Garrett Shrader should only have to play a couple of quarters in this one before getting some much deserved rest leading up to a brutal stretch of the season from mid-October to mid-November. SU dominates from beginning to end in this one.

CAM (3-0): Syracuse 59, Wagner 7

Let’s not overcomplicate this: Syracuse has won four straight, while Wagner hasn’t won a game since 2019. That being said, it’s my obligation to break down the X’s and O’s. So, here goes nothing.

SU is seeking a 5-0 start for the first time since 1987. Quarterback Garrett Shrader is fresh off a pair of final drive comebacks, and a pitfall from his first two performances compared to his last couple. That tells me the Mississippi State transfer’s motivation to play well is intrinsically driven to put the last two games in the rear view mirror. Although I predict he’ll take zero snaps in the second half, a great first half boosts the morale of the Orange’s QB1 heading into the bye week and beyond. There’s the same necessary motivation for ‘Cuse running back Sean Tucker, whose Heisman Trophy hype is gone. After playing more of the decoy role over the last two games, allowing others to star in this powerful Syracuse offensive scheme, this is the game where the Maryland native admits he is pleased with his performance. In last year’s trouncing of an FCS team (UAlbany), Tucker ran only 13 times and caught a measly three passes in limited time, but still racked up 253 all-purpose yards and five total touchdowns. I expect a repeat performance out of the star back against a much worse FCS opponent.

Those two should be the difference makers to hand the ‘Cuse an easy first half win, with the backups starring as staples in the second half, fending off Wagner just as well as the first team did. Although the Seahawks are poised to score at least once, and probably will, that will be the only positive for Wagner on Saturday. SU will improve to 20-0 all-time against FCS opponents and Wagner will lose its 24th straight game dating back to 2019.

IAN (2-0): Syracuse 45, Wagner 7

The Seahawks are awful, but the Orange do not cover. Dino pulls the starters after halftime and it becomes the spring game all over again. Can a young receiver besides Oronde Gadsden make a play? That’s what interests me the most.

LIAM (3-1): Syracuse 62, Wagner 3

Dino Babers deserves credit for his demeanor in his press conference this week. Frankly, it would be easy to just write off a team like the Seahawks entirely and devote your focus to NC State, but you can never look past an opponent. Even one that is an FCS foe that hasn’t won a game in over three years. If Wagner emerges from the JMA Wireless Dome victorious, the upset level would be comparable to App State-Michigan. The Orange should have no problem taking care of business against the Seahawks. Bump SU to 5-0 for the first time since 1987. 

JOHN (2-1): Syracuse 54, Wagner 12

Nice little tune up game for the ‘Cuse heading into a bye. The goal here is to get to the week off with ZERO injuries. Of course the Orange have already incurred several key losses but now it’s about damage control before an open week then NC State. The real meat of the season is still to come but for now how about a 5-0 start? That’s awesome for this program and fans. Party like it’s 1987 Syracuse!

CARTER (1-1): Syracuse 49, Wagner 6

Dino Babers has tried his hardest this week to give Wagner crumbs of respect, so allow me to pick up the slack and deny the Seahawks such a compliment. Throughout SU football annals, there might not be an opponent down worse than this year’s pathetic Wagner bunch. By the time this article goes up, we’ll have officially crossed the three calendar-year mark since the Hawks last won a game on September 28th, 2019. Even for an FCS foe, Wagner’s 23-game losing streak that spans back to the days of Old Town Road’s heyday on the radio is extraordinary. Syracuse is staring down the ultimate get-right game, which is surprisingly necessary after roughly half of its defense crumpled to the JMA Wireless Dome turf last Friday against Virginia. Look for Ja’Had Carter, Alijah Clark, and potentially Derek McDonald to shake off the bruises accumulated against the Cavs. On the offensive end, Sean Tucker has a layup opportunity to break out after an abysmal past two weeks Рand for Syracuse’s sake, its star back had better get going ahead of the team’s first ranked tests of the year.

FRANCESCO (First time!) (Exempt from prediction)

This is about as much of a mismatch as you can get. Syracuse is favored by more than 50 against Wagner, who’s not just an FCS team, but a bad one, having not won a game in three calendar years. The most interesting aspect of this game will be when Dino Babers and company decide to sit the starters. It could be a golden opportunity to get some meaningful game reps to some young guys, namely backup quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. The Orange hope he’s the heir apparent to Garrett Shrader, and what better time to get him some game experience, albeit against weaker competition. It’s also a chance for SU to have a showcase of sorts for former third and fourth stringers that will now be called on to either play a role or are one play away from doing so after a rash of injuries on the defensive side.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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