The Syracuse Orange (3-5, 1-3) will take on the Louisville Cardinals (4-4, 3-2) in an ACC Atlantic Division matchup Saturday afternoon. Louisville has won seven of the last 10 matchups, including a 28-6 road win as a 1.5 point favorite on October 3, 2014 in the most recent matchup between the schools.
Syracuse dropped their fifth straight game as they were defeated 45-21 on the road by #17 Florida State. Louisville won their second straight and fourth in the last five games with a 20-19 win over Wake Forest on the road. This game kicks off at 12:30 pm ET from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky and can be seen on ESPN3. Louisville is currently a 14 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 52 points.
Free Pick on the Louisville Cardinals -14
Syracuse faced a Florida State team without Dalvin Cook and knocked Everett Golson out of the game but still ended up being blasted. The Orange was outgained 575-303, gave up 23 first downs while picking up 14 and committed the game’s only turnover. After going ahead 7-0, Syracuse didn’t hold the lead long: Florida State scored on the next play from scrimmage on a 75 yard TD pass. That triggered a run of 45 Florida State points out of the next 52. Syracuse did score on a punt return to close the scoring.
The Orange has a mediocre offense of their own as they are 111th in the nation in passing offense with an average of 172.4 yards per game; they are 75th in rushing by putting up 164.9 yards per contest. Syracuse averages 29.3 points per game, putting them tied for 63rd in the nation in scoring offense while they are tied for 85th in scoring defense by allowing 29.4 points per contest; the Orange has a -0.1 point scoring differential. Four quarterbacks have seen action for the Orange though only three are active: Terrel Hunt is out with a torn Achilles. The quartet has completed 57.7 percent of their passes for 1,379 yards with 15 touchdowns and six picks. Eric Dungey (90 of 146, 1140 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT, 306 rushing yards, 5 TD) has seen the most reps for Syracuse. Jordan Fredericks leads the Orange in rushing with 73 carries for 397 yards and three scores while George Morris II adds 40 carries for 217 yards. Steve Ishmael is the team’s leading receiver with 26 grabs for 397 yards and four scores; Ben Lewis (13 catches, 129 yards, TD), Ervin Philips (20 receptions, 198 yards, 4 TD) and Brisly Estime (14 snags, 233 yards, 2 TD) are other targets with double digit receptions. Cole Murphy has hit all 28 extra points and 10 of 14 field goal attempts on the year with a long of 43; three of his four misses are from 40 to 49 yards.
Louisville rallied from 10-0 and 19-10 deficits in the first half against Wake Forest but kept the Demon Deacons off the board in the second half to steal the win. The Cardinals won the total yardage battle 317-266, finished with 17 first downs to the Demon Deacons’ 11 and dominated time of possession by a 34:50 to 25:10 margin in the contest. The most telling stat in the game was the turnover battle: Louisville forced five turnovers in the contest while committing only one of their own in the victory.
The Cardinals are still working on their offense due to multiple quarterbacks under center as they are 52nd (238.5 yards per game) in passing offense and 104th in rushing (140 yards per game) this season; Louisville averages 24.4 points a game and are currently 36th in scoring defense by allowing 21.9 points allowed per game. Three quarterbacks have played for Louisville this season; the trio has combined to complete 57.5 percent of their passes for 1,908 yards with 10 touchdowns and 10 picks. Lamar Jackson (106 of 183, 57.9 percent completion rate, 1342 yards, 8 TD, 7 INT, team high 484 rushing yards, 6 TD) has seen the most snaps. Brandon Radcliff is the main running back for the Cardinals as he has 76 carries for 263 yards and three scores. Jaylen Smith is third on the team with 18 receptions for 252 yards; James Quick (team high 24 receptions, team high 365 yards, 4 TD), Traveon Samuel (15 catches, 139 yards), Jamari Staples (20 receptions, 307 yards, 2 TD), Micky Crum (13 grabs, 161 yards, 2 TD) and Ja’Quay Savage (12 catches, 135 yards, TD) are other targets in the passing game. John Wallace has hit all 24 extra points but is 9 of 14 on field goals with a long of 50 yards.
Louisville is 19-9 ATS in their last 28 conference games. Syracuse is 2-6 ATS in their last eight after an ATS loss, 1-4 ATS in their last five on the road and 0-4 ATS in their last four in November.
The Cardinals have turned things around after a slow start as they’ve finally adjusted to the changes at quarterback and on the defensive side of the ball. Syracuse has been banged up on both sides of the ball and hasn’t been able to put together a solid performance in all facets in the past month or so. Louisville should climb above the .500 mark with a win in this contest.
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