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Opponent Breakdown: Syracuse Orange Offense

Syracuse has been completely disjointed on offense. But they could be healthier this week.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Dino Babers has a long history of strong offenses but this year he is having what has to be the worst year of his career as it pertains to the offensive side of the ball. Syracuse has one of the worst offenses in the country and their average of 4.4 yards per play would be the worst in Power Five football if not for Kansas being a perpetual dumpster fire. Babers has gotten a free pass this year, and rightfully so, as his team has been decimated by injuries and opt-outs. His offense seems to have few positives this year but his scheme has shown the ability to score points with minimal talent.

The Quarterback position was viewed as a position of strength at the beginning of this season with Tommy DeVito returning as the starter. That didn’t last long as DeVito was fairly ineffective before being injured a few weeks back. Rex Culpepper played well as a backup but as the starter, he has run into the same issues that DeVito had. Culpepper has more interceptions than touchdowns and he’s completing fewer than half of his passes. It’s been a nightmare under center for Cuse.

Louisville will likely see Jacobian Morgan at QB as Culpepper was out two weeks ago and Morgan took all of the snaps. Morgan played pretty well against a solid Boston College defense. He completed 63% of his passes and had a late touchdown. His one interception was very bad but he was at least forcing the ball to his best receiver. Morgan isn’t a great runner but he can scramble a bit and has good speed once he gets going. Louisville should look to pressure him as much as possible as he struggled mightily with guys in his face.

The Orange are down to a true freshman and a converted Wide Receiver as their top two Running Backs this season. Sean Tucker was a solid recruiting win for Cuse but I’m sure the staff expected him to be deeper down the depth chart this summer. After losing their top two runners to opt-outs, Babers had to adjust things in a hurry. Instead of this being a position of strength that could help take the pressure off of the passing game, it’s an inconsistent part of the offense that they can’t truly rely on.

Wide Receiver is the best unit on this offense. Taj Harris is one of the best deep threats in the ACC and when he has his head in the game he’s very dangerous. Harris has great speed and he’s more elusive after the catch than he seems. If Morgan can get comfortable in his third game, Harris is the guy that for UofL to worry about.

Anthony Queeley and Nykeim Johnson are the other two receivers that Louisville needs to look out for. Johnson is a speedy slot player that is always a threat to break a big play. He is also a threat as a return man. Queeley has stepped up as the second option this year and is averaging about 3 catches per game.

The Syracuse Offensive Line is still bad but they have improved a lot after having a pretty terrible 2019 season. Their change at Center last year seems to have been the reason for the improvement but they are now starting a converted Fullback/Defensive End at Left Guard, so that explains what kind of shape they’re in. They still give up a bunch of sacks but I would argue that much of their issues stem from Quarterbacks holding onto the ball for too long. Louisville has to get pressure and get negative plays this week.