Despite SU beating Colgate 65-0 to open the season, there were still plenty of reasons to pay attention to the blowout. Headed into Syracuse vs. Western Michigan, here are the top three storylines for SU fans.
1. Oronde Gadsden’s Health
Oronde Gadsden’s status is something of a mystery right now. The tight end was seen in a boot before the season opener, but he still suited up and played against Colgate. However, Gadsden didn’t look like he was playing at full speed. There were several plays where he was passive with the ball in his hands, looking to hit the turf rather than pick up a few more yards. This could just be a “better safe than sorry” mindset in a game against an FCS opponent, but if Gadsden isn’t back to his old self against the Broncos, then maybe there’s a larger issue.
Syracuse tallied just seven penalties against Colgate, which doesn’t sound too bad. But there’s more than meets the eye. Back-to-back yellow flags turned a Raiders 4th and 9 into a first down. There were also two 15-yard penalties called on the Orange. With a team that averaged an FBS-high 8.7 penalties per game last year, this is a continuing storyline with Dino Babers’ crew.
3. SU’s Defense – Legit or Not?
Getting a true gauge of Syracuse’s defense was pretty much impossible against Colgate. The Raiders’ offense isn’t at the level of SU’s other opponents this year. While Western Michigan isn’t a powerhouse either, the Broncos have had moderate success against the Orange in the past. WMU scored over 30 points in each of its two outings against SU, both of which came in the last five seasons. If Syracuse vs. Western Michigan has a lower point total than in the past, then that will be the first indicator that Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 is legit.