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What To Watch For: Syracuse Orange

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Clemson at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

STOP SEAN TUCKER AND YOU CAN STOP THE ORANGE OFFENSE

No one has stopped Sean Tucker this season. He really hasn’t even been slowed down much this year. There is not a more valuable player on any offense in the country, in my opinion, and Louisville has to find a way to stop him if they want to win. Tucker averages about 7 yards per touch and he is the national leader in yards from scrimmage. The Orange have found a way to ensure that he is the focus of the offense in the run game while also getting him the ball in the passing game.

What Lousiville needs to do is add Quinterrio Cole to the box like they did against Boston College and they have to have a very disruptive day from the defensive line. Getting Syracuse into long third downs will be the story of the game as their passing attack has been limited and it gets much worse on third downs.

LOUISVILLE HAS TO FIND A WAY TO PUSH THE BALL DOWN THE FIELD

Syracuse runs the same 3-3-5 scheme that NC State runs and as we saw, it is easy to defend the run while also keeping your safeties deep to defend the deep ball. UofL has to find a way to still get the ball down the field to Tyler Harrell and Jordan Watkins. Louisville’s offense has been very good at putting up yards this year but they have to get some easy points this weekend.

While the Cuse scheme has caused plenty of issues for Lousiville, Syracuse hasn’t been very good against the best passing offenses they’ve faced this year. Wake Forest and Virginia Tech both averaged over 17 yards per catch against this secondary while Clemson, FSU, Ohio, and others were mostly shut down. UofL isn’t killing teams with their passing game but they are much better than most of the teams Cuse has gone up against.

Another factor to keep in mind is the youth of the Syracuse secondary. Can these guys avoid the eye candy and play-action aspects of Louisville’s offense and hold their water in deep zone coverage? Louisville likes to attack the middle of the field with the deep ball and Syracuse doesn’t have a single player that has shown the ability to make a play this year. This has to be a factor for the offense on Saturday.

OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY WILL BE THE BIGGEST FACTOR IN THE GAME

Two teams that really love to run the ball will be relying heavily on their offensive lines to open holes for their backs this weekend. Syracuse has one of the best rushing attacks in the country while Lousivllle runs the ball very well while opening up their passing game off of the run. There are no more important players in this game than the offensive linemen on both teams.

Syracuse leads the ACC in sacks while UofL is one of the best when it comes to protecting the quarterback. UofL is fourth in the ACC in sacks while Cuse is third in sacks allowed. That doesn’t even factor in the running games that are obviously aided by the play of the line. Whichever team can have success up front will likely win this game. Syracuse is the line to watch as they will be without two starters and have had to shuffle their group this week.