Following a thrilling home win over Florida State last week, NC State hits the road for the third time this season as they head to the northernmost dot on the ACC map to take on the undefeated Syracuse Orange. The Wolfpack have split their previous two road trips on the year, surviving a season opening trip to East Carolina and falling short in a battle with a Top 5 Clemson squad.
For NC State, the team will most likely be without starting quarterback Devin Leary in the game, although it’s anyone’s guess who will be under center for the Pack when the game kicks off Saturday afternoon. Regardless of who handles the snaps, State’s offense will need to do their part to take the pressure off a defense that has been the strength of the team all year.
As for Syracuse, they are off to their best start since the 1987 Orange went undefeated under Dick MacPherson. This iteration of Syracuse football is led by a balanced attack, featuring superb running back Sean Tucker and dual-threat quarterback Garrett Schrader. The defense is also improved over a season ago. When the only knock against you is the other teams on your schedule, things are generally going well.
Can the Wolfpack capture their 2nd road victory of the season and push their winning streak over Syracuse to four games? Or will the Orange continue their unexpected unbeaten season with a statement win in what is sure to be a raucous home atmosphere?
Each BTP contributor provides their score prediction below, plus a quick blurb on their predicted outcome. Here we go!
Prediction: 26-22 (W)
Comment: “beep boop“
Prediction: 24-20 (W)
Comment: “I have a good feeling about this game for reasons I can’t explain. Take it to the bank!”
Prediction: 13-23 (L)
Comment: “State should be able to run the ball, but Syrcause is suppsed to have great corners, which worries me that they’ll be able to island those guys and bring a lot of run support with a struggling receving corps and new quarterback for the Pack. State struggles to score, forces some passes and loses the turnover margin. Late Syracuse score seals it.”
Why is this so hard?
Prediction: 23-16 (W)
Comment: “The defense—and a defensive score—is the difference.”
Prediction: 19-27 (L)
Comment: “The Cuse fans are so excited for this sellout game. First ranked on ranked game in the Dome since 2001, and first top 20 matchup since 1998. It’s going to be loud and NC State is (likely) playing a backup QB. Even with an elite defense, this does not bode well. I expect a lot of drives ending in FG’s so scoring can’t keep up.”
Prediction: 17-21 (L)
Comment: ““Beat [us] if you can... survive if [we] let you” is the mantra of this defense and I think they’ll come out ready to frustrate the Orange BUT I can’t get past the uncertainty on offense, so I think we head into the buy recalibrating goals for the season”
Prediction: 13-16 (L)
Comment: “Low scoring field goal fest. The NC State offense struggles all day and needs the defense and special teams to get them good enough field position to score the few points that they do.”
Prediction: 16-17 (L)
Comment: “I was overly optimistic heading into the Clemson game, so this is me correcting. Offense struggles again and can’t get in range for Dunn game-winner.”
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 19-20 (L)
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!