Syracuse Begins Conference Play With Panthers

Syracuse Begins Conference Play With Panthers


The Syracuse Orange have had a rough start to the season, going 1-3 in the non-conference part of their schedule. However, that doesn’t mean much in the way of the race for the Big East as they still have a clean slate at 0-0.

They’ll host the Pittsburgh Panthers in their conference opener on Friday in what is already a critical game for both teams.

The Orange have lost to Northwestern, USC and Minnesota this season, and their only win has come against Stony Brook. Considering they only have three home games left this season – including the visit from Pitt – the Orange have plenty of work to do if they hope to make a bowl game.

The Panthers have been an odd bunch so far this season. They lost at home to FCS school Youngstown State and then were crushed by the Cincinnati Bearcats. They managed to bounce back with a huge win over then-ranked Virginia Tech and followed it up by crushing Gardner-Webb. Pittsburgh also has a tough schedule the rest of the way as they have three teams currently in the Top 25 – Louisville, Notre Dame and Rutgers – all on the schedule. They’re likely teetering on bowl eligibility and a win or loss this week could be critical.

Pittsburgh is a three-point favorite on the college football odds on Friday night and the play of their defense is likely to dictate whether they win or not. The Orange are led by quarterback Ryan Nassib, who has 1,367 passing yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season, so the Panthers will have to slow down the aerial assault to get the win.

Look for Pitt to use their stellar running back tandem of Ray Graham and Rushel Shell, who combined are averaging 166.8 rushing yards per game. The Orange’s rush defense  is ranked 84th in the country and if they can’t find a way to slow down the Panthers, Syracuse is likely heading for their fifth loss in six games.

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