College Football Pick: Syracuse vs Western Michigan Prediction
Syracuse vs Western Michigan Prediction
- When: Friday, August 31st, 6 P.M EST.
- Where: Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, Michigan
- Watch: CBS Sports Network
- Listen: Bronco Radio Network, 96.5 FM
- Line: Syracuse -5.5 per Vegas Insider
- Stream: CBS Sports HQ
Why Syracuse will win
Senior quarterback Eric Dungey is back and looking to lead the Orange to bowl eligibility. Three consecutive 4-8 seasons, all with Dungey at quarterback have left a sour taste in his mouth.
Over the course of his career Dungey has been a dual-threat guy. A lot of that had to do with his poor offensive line, scrambling as soon as the ball is snapped–but this year could be different.
This year’s best version of the offensive line features three seniors and a redshirt junior, all of whom are expected to be among the top half of the ACC if healthy. That ‘healthy’ word is crucial however. The Orange were never a complete unit last season due to injuries and depth is not strong up front.
If the offensive line gives Dungey time, he has the skill position players around him to make an impact.
Defensively, the Orange could give up yards and points to this talented Western Michigan team. The Orange do not rush the passer very well, and are welcoming an entirely new linebacking unit. The secondary should be able to hold their own–and could be the catalyst to the defense by forcing turnovers.
Why Western Michigan will win
Jon Wassink performed very well before getting injured last season. In eight games, Wassink threw for 1,391 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. He won’t force the ball downfield if nothing is there. His game screams efficiency and it will be hard to rattle the junior.
Expect a lot of dink-and-dunk passes from Wassink, opening up holes in the running game.
If the Broncos offensive line can keep Wassink upright, he should have plenty of time to deliver the football. Without pressure, turnovers will be rare.
The defenses of these two schools are similar–they will give up yards and points, but they can do enough to make stops when needed. Getting pressure on Dungey will be key–if they can rough him up and give him happy feet in the pocket, the Broncos will win the game.
Western Michigan run defense versus the Syracuse running backs
Eric Dungey was the leading rusher for the Orange last season with 595 rushing yards. Cuse will need their actual running backs to step up in order to win this ballgame.
The Western Michigan defense is decent, but just like Syracuse, their linebacking core is young and inexperienced.
If Cuse can control the clock with their running game, it not only gives their defense a break, but takes a lot of pressure off Dungey to do it all. Running the ball will allow Dungey time in the pocket when he does pass and the play-action game can give them chances to stretch the field.
We should see some scoring in this contest, but I expect to see plenty of rust from both squads. Penalties, turnovers and special teams will be key. Which team will make the first mistake, and can they rebound from it?
Talent-wise, these teams are similar but I have more confidence in Western Michigan protecting their quarterback and not making the mistake to hurt them.
Western Michigan 28 Syracuse 20