No. 20 Syracuse will be headed to Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Florida. It’s the first bowl game for Syracuse since 2013.
NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Steve Infanti discuss his keys for an SU victory.
Dual Threat Dungey
The Syracuse offense is at its best when Eric Dungey is doing what he does best — finding success through the air AND on the ground. SU is 4-0 this season when Dungey accounts for 300 yards of total offense.
In all four of those games, Dungey had at least one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown. The senior needs just 29 rushing yards to become the second quarterback in program history to reach 2,000 career rushing yards.
He also needs 154 yards passing to become the program’s all-time leader in passing yards (Ryan Nassib is currently first with 9,190).
Dungey should easily hit both marks on Friday. Will he hit 300 yards of total offense against the Mountaineers? If he does, the end result should be another Syracuse victory.
All Over Allison
So, we’re not getting the Eric Dungey vs. Will Grier shootout that the bowl officials — and most fans — were hoping for. I highly doubt that Brian Ward is disappointed.
SU’s defensive coordinator needs to take advantage of Grier’s absence.
The presumed starter now is Jack Allison. The redshirt-sophomore has thrown a total of 10 passes this season and has yet to take a real, meaningful snap.
The ‘Cuse defense needs to do what it’s done all season, apply pressure and force mistakes. The Orange is ranked eighth in the nation in sacks per game and is fourth in turnover margin.
In fact, Syracuse has forced at least one turnover in 13 straight games — that’s the sixth longest active streak in the country.
Even without Alton Robinson, SU should be able to get pressure on Allison. Remember, West Virginia’s best offensive lineman, Yodny Cajuste, isn’t playing either.
It’ll be important for the Orange to rattle Allison and force him into some mistakes, thus slowing down that potent West Virginia offense.
There is a perception that West Virginia doesn’t really want to be in this game. The Mountaineers were 8-1 through nine games and in the mix for the Big 12 title.
However, they lost their last two games by a combined seven points and missed out on the New Year’s Six bowl games. SU would be wise to capitalize on that lack of desire and build an early lead. Keep this in mind, West Virginia has been very good in the first half all season long.
The Mountaineers are outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 145 points this season in the first 30 minutes of games.
WVU is also averaging 7.2 yards per play on the year.
If Syracuse can reverse the first trend and force the Mountaineers to play from behind, the Orange should be able to reverse the second trend en route to a 10th win to close out the season.
SU will take on West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28 at 5:15 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN.