Friday, May 23, 2008

Breaking Down: The Syracuse Orangemen

In week three of the 2008 season the mighty Lions face a long time nemesis in the Orangemen of Syracuse. The Orangemen have fallen on hard times as they have only won seven games since 2005. However, if one thinks back to the 60s, one will remember a heated rivalry where the Lion shrine is ritualistically painted orange (and has been attempted since 1966) and Otto the Orange is pulled into the student section and given a ritualistic beating. This is a rivalry of my past. It is back and I love it. Bring it, Orangemen!

If you are looking for a Syracuse blog to frequent allow me to suggest Orange 44.

The Orangemen will have to improve greatly this off-season if they hope to hang with PSU. This is despite hosting the Lions for their first road game of the year. Why will the Orange-hordes have to screw their courage to the sticking post? Well, the Orangmen were ranked 111th in team defense and 114th in offense. It might not be Notre Dame bad, but it is bad. Given this lowly state of affairs, lets take a look at the 2008 Orangemen.

Passing:
If Syracuse wants to be a player in the 2008 season it will have to be through the air. Syracuse finished with the 55th ranked pass offense in the country, not terrible and better than PSU's ranking of 75th. Andrew Robinson will be under center for Syracuse and will bring much needed experience to a shakey offense. If Robinson can improve off of his 2000+ yd 2007 season the Orange could be dangerous. However, Robinson will have to improve his consistency if he is to lead the Orangemen to the promised land. In 2007 Robinson threw 13 TDs, however, seven of these came in only two games. Andrew will have to step up and score points to be successful.

Helping out on the receiving end is Mike Williams. Williams caught 60 balls for over 800 yards and 10 TDs. At 6'2" and over 200 pounds Williams is a big tough target and could prove to be a difficult match-up for the Lions.

Realistically, if the young Syracuse Offensive line can protect the QB they have a good chance to be succesful. However, the Orange have a long way to go as they gave up 54 sacks in 2007. If you were wondering, that makes them better than only ASU and ND at protecting the QB. Not so good. Does it make it hurt less that they will be fielding a very young offensive line?

Rushing:
Syracuse is not good at running the football. The Orange only ran for 753 yards in 2007. Yes, the entire team. No. I'm not joking. Doug Hogue is projected to start in 2008, however, with the combination of a young offensive line and a young running back could spell disaster for Syracuse.

Defense:
As was mentioned above, the Orange were hard pressed to keep teams out of the end zone last year. The Orange gave up nearly 35 points per game. That is not a way to win football games. Again, Syracuse looks to field a very young defensive team this year. Could the young'uns be great? Sure. However, it seems more likely that the Orange defense be despicably poor. However, if the young guys step up and play beyond their years they could be not terrible.



Match-up:

Despite the trouncing I just gave Syracuse they have a punchers chance against the Lions. Why, JB? You might find yourself asking. Well, this is because you have to think about how much trouble a good, big, physical wide receiver can give the Penn State Defense. If AJ Wallace has trouble containing Mr. Williams Syracuse might just stand a chance. Did I mention Williams has one inch and 20 lbs on AJ? That being said, PSU will be too much for Syracuse to handle. PSU's running game will truly shine in this game and the Lions will methodically grind Syracuse into dust. I predict 250+ rushing yards for PSU and a Penn State victory. Though some big plays keep it closer than a lot of people may think.

Prediction:
PSU: 35
SYR: 17


GO STATE!

1 comment:

Russianator said...

Not a bad breakdown - there's not much to disagree with - SU is in a really down cycle right now.

Predicting the score of a game that's 4 months away may be a bit much - but if SU plays like they did last year, 35-17 is probably a decent effort.