Dino Babers has a background in “Air Raid” offenses but he has fielded a much more balanced attack this year at Syracuse. The Orange are coming off of a game where they ran the ball 60 times and they utilize their running backs very well this year. Louisville hasn’t been able to stop anyone from running the football so that focus on balance my pay off for Cuse.
The offense is led by Eric Dungey for the 31st straight year. Dungey has been able to stay pretty healthy this season for the first time in his career and the team is finally turning the corner. Dungey has also done a much better job this season with protecting the football. He has only thrown four interceptions this year and he hasn’t been as reckless when it comes to fumbles. Louisville will have to find a way to slow Dungey down as a runner as well as a passer.
Cuse is using Moe Neal much more this season and it has resulted in about 40 more rushing yards per game. I wondered aloud last season why they didn’t run the guy averaging over five yards per carry more often and maybe Dino reads my stuff because they’ve made him the primary back and he’s still averaging five yards per carry with more carries per game. Neal is a speedy back that fits the hurry up/spread scheme that they run very well. He can also be used in the passing game. Syracuse ran the ball a lot to keep Wake Forest off the field last week and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do the same on Friday.
Syracuse lost most of their production from the receivers this offseason but they haven’t skipped a beat this year with the guys who have taken over. Jamal Custis and Sean Riley are the key guys but the depth at the position has really stood out to me. Cuse was so reliant on two guys over the last two seasons but they can spread the ball around more this year and they can rely on other guys to make big plays for the offense. Custis will be a big key on deep throws down the sideline. UofL hasn’t been tested too much this year but they will definitely see those go routes this week. Riley and Nykeim Johnson are the guys that will do a lot of damage in the middle of the field. I think they could both have huge games.
The veteran offensive line for Syracuse has been solid in some areas and not so solid in others. They have given up 23 sacks this year but I do think that some of those are due to Dungey holding onto the ball. They’re much better when you look at total negative plays and I don’t think that Louisville is playing well enough to actually take advantage of any deficiencies they have on the line. UofL’s best shot of doing any damage is to get to Dungey on throws where he’s looking to stretch the field.