Teams – Syracuse Orange (2-3) vs. #20 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-0)
Venue – High Point Solutions Stadium
Time – Saturday October 13th @ 12:00
TV – Big East Network & ESPN3
The last Big East Conference meeting between these two schools is shaping up to be another competitive game this Saturday in New Jersey. Since this matchup will likely not occur again for a number of years, the winner of this game will stake claim to the title of ‘New York City’s college football team’ for some time.
Quite frankly it’s sad to see this rivalry come to an end just as it was picking up steam in recent years. Last year Rutgers won in double overtime in dramatic fashion and the year before Syracuse kicked a game winning field goal with just a minute left. In 2009 the Orange were able to knock off a ranked Scarlet Knights team in the Carrier Dome to give first year coach Doug Marrone his first Big East Conference win and his first win over a ranked foe.
Despite losing their head coach, Greg Schiano, and top offensive threat, Mohamed Sanu, to the NFL, Rutgers and first year coach Kyle Flood sit at 5-0 as the number 20 ranked team in the country. Their defense has proved to be one of the most formidable forces in the country, giving up just over 10 points a game.
In addition, quarterback Gary Nova has really come into his own as the leader of the Scarlet Knight’s offense. Of course the fact that junior running back Jawan Jamison has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season helps make his job a little easier at times. Rutgers will need another big game from Jamison to wear down the tough Syracuse run stopping effort, especially after they held Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham to just 57 yards on 24 carries last week.
Syracuse needs Ryan Nassib to pick apart the Rutgers secondary while being sure not to turn the ball over, something that is easier said than done. Senior receivers Marcus Sales and Alec Lemon will be targeted early and often in order to try to get some flow going with the offense. It will be interesting to see if running back Adonis Ameen-Moore takes carries from wildcat threat Ashton Broyld for the second straight game or if they both get the opportunity to handle the rock.
If the Syracuse defense, led by reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Week, Brandon Sharpe, can pressure the quarterback like they did last week against Pitt then the Orange will have a chance to knock Rutgers from the ranks of the unbeaten teams in the nation.
Prediction – Syracuse 17 – Rutgers 21
This game has been incredibly close the last two years and I don’t see that being any different this time around. In the end the Rutgers defense will frustrate Ryan Nassib and the Syracuse offense all day and will be the difference in this matchup. However Rutgers is without an experienced place kicker for Saturday so that could make things interesting late in the game if the game is close.