With just a few more games left in the season, Syracuse is looking to come back from a crushing loss against Clemson.
The Orange is currently 4-5 overall, and they’re getting ready to take on NC State on Saturday inside the Carrier Dome. The Wolfpack is also 4-5.
Here are NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Steve Infanti’s Keys to Victory:
Give It Everything
The last time SU played inside the Carrier Dome, it was also facing a must win. A 2-4 Syracuse squad hosted Virginia Tech back on Oct. 15 with the season very much on the line.
A loss to the Hokies would almost certainly have guaranteed a losing campaign and an early offseason . We said at the time that the Orange had to play with urgency.
The result? Well, it happened to turn into Dino Babers’ first signature win in the ACC. Saturday’s matchup with NC State feels just as essential for ‘Cuse, if not more. A win keeps the dream of a bowl game alive, while a loss will make it awfully difficult to get there.
If there’s anything coach Babers and his staff have been saving for “the right time” to use this season, I’m not sure there would be a better time to pull it out than against the Wolfpack.
Don’t forget that NC State is in the same boat at 4-5 and will also be playing with urgency. That should make for a very competitive and emotional game.
“Time” is of the Essence
This one is important regardless of who is in at quarterback.
However, if Eric Dungey can’t go on Saturday, it’ll be essential for SU’s offensive line to give Austin Wilson and Zack Mahoney some time to throw.
Dungey has shown that he’s capable of improvising under pressure. The other two have yet to show that they can even effectively run this new offense in a game – because they haven’t been given a chance.
Wilson and Mahoney could surprise us in the passing game, but the O-line will have to do its part to make that possible.
Deal with Dayes
I bet you can guess who the two top rushers are in the ACC so far this season.
Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook are both well over 1,000 yards. Do you know who is third though in the ACC in rushing? The answer is NC State’s Matt Dayes.
The senior running back has gone over 100 yards in six of the Wolfpack’s nine games this season.
That’s not great news for an SU defense that ranks 93rd in the country right now against the run and is 13th out of 14 teams in the ACC.
In order for the Wolfpack to return home to Raleigh with a loss, the ‘Cuse “D” will have to find a way to slow down Matt Dayes and that NC State rushing attack.