Louisville at Syracuse

The Sports Xchange

November 07, 2018 at 6:21 pm.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Friday, 7 p.m. ET
SITE: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV: ESPN2
SERIES: Louisville leads 10-6. Louisville won 56-10 in 2017.
RANKINGS: Syracuse No. 13

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cardinals

–QB Puma Pass has been in and out of the lineup. He threw for a career-best 358 yards and had 392 yards of total offense against Wake Forest, but was held in check by Clemson. The 6-foot-4, 231-pound sophomore has thrown for 1,697 yards and seven touchdowns this season while completing 54.5 percent of his passes with 10 interceptions.

–WR TuTu Atwell was tremendous against. Wake Forest, setting a Louisville record for the most receiving yards in a game by a true freshman with 132. It was also the most receiving yards for a Louisville player this season. But the 5-9, 156-pound true freshman had just two catches for 44 yards vs. Clemson.

–WR Jaylen Smith is Louisville’s leading receiver with 29 catches for 436 yards and a touchdown. He was a preseason All-ACC pick.

Orange
–QB Eric Dungey completed 23 passes for 157 yards in the win over Wake Forest. Dungey moved into second place on the Orange’s career record list for passing yardage with 8,473 yards in 35 games. Dungey also rushed for 119 yards on 22 carries, including a 26-yard touchdown. It was his sixth career 100-yard rushing game and his 30th career rushing score. Dungey now ranks 12th among ACC quarterbacks with 1,867 rushing yards.

–WR Jamal Custis made a 33-yard reception in the first quarter against Wake Forest. It was Custis’ 10th reception of at least 30 yards this season. He entered the game tied for third nationally with nine 30-yard-plus catches.

–LB Ryan Guthrie paced the Syracuse defense with 11 tackles against Wake Forest, including a personal-best two sacks.

KEYS
TO THE GAME

Syracuse enters Friday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division game against Louisville on a high after establishing its highest ranking since a No. 11 posting in the media poll in 1998 with Donovan McNabb as the starting quarterback.

Kickoff in the Carrier Dome is 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The No. 13 Orange (7-2, 4-2 ACC) is thriving mostly because of an offense that ranks 15th nationally with 478.2 yards per game. Senior quarterback Eric Dungey has emerged as an all-conference quarterback candidate in passing for 2,001 yards and rushing for 628. He has accounted for 23 touchdowns, 13 via the pass and 10 by the run.

Dungey also has not turned the ball over in the last two games.

“That’s what big-time quarterbacks do,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “That’s what the Mannings and all those quarterbacks do. They manage the game. I’m tickled pink about the way he’s playing.”

On the flip side, coach Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals (2-7, 0-6 ACC) have lost their last six outings with the last an embarrassing 77-16 thrashing from No. 2 Clemson. It is the team’s longest losing streak since a 10-game skid in the 1997 and ’98 seasons.

Petrino has tried to keep a positive spin on the situation.

“I didn’t feel like anyone gave up or anybody quit out there,” Petrino said after the Clemson game. “They kept competing.”

The offense is not producing since 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson left. Against Clemson, quarterback Jawon Pass passed for only 110 yards and threw two interceptions. Colin Wilson rushed for only 26 yards. Jaylen Smith was the top Louisville receiver with 63 yards on five catches.

Louisville’s defense ranks last in the ACC and 115th nationally in allowing 462.8 yards per game and at least 38 points in each of their last four games, including the 77 to Clemson.

Compounding the situation is that the Cardinals have a short week to work with going on the road for a Friday game.

“Their offense is very explosive,” Petrino said “They score a lot of points in the Dome. They have a quarterback we know well. He can run the ball, throw the ball, and gets the ball out of his hand quickly. It’s defensively a big challenge for us.”

Dungey is the Orange’s leading rusher with 628 yards. He has passed for just over 222 yards a game and has the ACC’s third-leading receiver as a target in Jamal Custis. Custis has averaged 81.6 receiving yards a game with 40 catches for 734 yards is averaging 18.4 yards per reception.

The Orange also has demonstrated a maturity in Baber’s third season. The Orange had consecutive 4-8 seasons before the breakthrough they are experiencing this year with quality depth a major reason.

“I think that the young men, the senior class especially, are really taking care of their bodies,” Babers said. “I see them at practice and they’re different.

“These guys are different — you can just tell they’re different. They understand what the word moderation means. Because of those things and what they want to achieve, I think that they’ve really taken care of themselves which has given them only a chance — only an opportunity to do something special.

“We’ll see. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. It just means they have a chance.”

With matchups ahead against No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 22 Boston College, Syracuse must guard against looking past Louisville. If the Orange runs the table, it would be 10-2 and in position for a New Year’s Six bowl.

The Cardinals have defeated Syracuse four straight times, including a 56-10 rout last year at Louisville (albeit with Jackson).

On Sunday, Babers presented his team stats from Syracuse’s last two outings against Louisville. Syracuse lost those two games by a combined score of 118-38, allowing 1,572 yards in the two losses.

“I told them that we play games one game at a time, and that we’re in third game of the second half of our season,” Babers said. “And they said OK.”