Connecticut Huskies vs. Syracuse Orange
The Syracuse Orange need a win at the Connecticut Huskies to stay in the Big East race Saturday. Those hopes took a shot in week nine with the Orange dropping a 27-10 decision at Louisville while the Huskies were humbled by Pittsburgh 35-20. The Huskies are -3 point favorites over the Orange with an over/under point total set at 56.5.
There wasn’t a late comeback or overtime victory for Syracuse Saturday as Louisville jumped on the Orange early and stifled them with defense. Syracuse simply couldn’t maintain a consistent attack and couldn’t move the chains with a 3 of 14 effort on third down and 246 yards. The ground game produced less than a 100 yards with Antwon Bailey getting most of the production with 0 yards on 15 carries but the rush did nothing out of the ordinary and really wasn’t a significant part of the offense with Louisville jumping out to a 14-0 lead and holding on to the lead like a Bulldog. That meant the Orange had to lean on the right arm of Ryan Nassib which hasn’t been a bad option thus far. However Nassib couldn’t get the ball downfield often enough as he finished completing 22 of 36 throws for only 162 yards with only a 20 yard scoring toss coming with 1 minute left. The Syracuse defense wasn’t terrible, giving up 343 yards but were victimized by a 42 yard TD pass and 61 yard scoring run.
Anybody that has watched a single quarter of Connecticut football knows three things about this team: the defense must always play well, their rushing attack isn’t what it used to be and their passing game is like it used to be with the latter not being a compliment. The Huskies gained 316 yards which isn’t a bad day for Huskies football but they were just 3 of 14 on third down and were simply inconsistent. The trademark rushing attack of year’s past is a shadow of what it once was and is needed. Lyle McCombs is the face of the running game and had a successful game with 124 yards on 25 carries but UConn needs another source of production. Quarterback Johnny McEntree wasn’t the answer in the passing game as he was just 17 of 33 for 193 yards with a pair of touchdowns but he simply has trouble hooking up with his receiving corps and struggles getting the ball downfield. The Huskies defense compounded their problems with an inability to contain the Panthers attack which totaled 529 yards with over 400 yards coming through the air.
First off I don’t really care for the way these teams play as Syracuse lives on the edge and in my opinion are fortunate to have a winning record. Nassib can throw the ball but aside from that I don’t know what else the Orange do well. Connecticut is a team that relies on defense and needs McEntree to make more throws. Nothing that happens here will surprise me so I’ll take the points in a toss up.
Syracuse Orange +3 Connecticut Huskies