SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) Here are NewsChannel 9 Sports Director Steve Infanti’s Keys to Victory for SU against Western Michigan
Open It Up
It’s no secret that the SU offense is struggling. In three games so far this season, Syracuse has scored a grand total of 50 points. Keep in mind that the Orange scored 50 or more points in five different games last season. Against Clemson, ‘Cuse had the ball inside the 10 on three separate possessions and failed to score a single touchdown. Tommy DeVito was on the run much of the night due to the Tigers’ relentless pass rush combined with SU’s early issues on the offensive line. Western Michigan does not have nearly the same defense — or the same talent — that Clemson has. DeVito should have time to throw. I see this game as an opportunity for the Orange to open up the offense, score points, and find some much-needed rhythm.
Run It Back
This is in regards to Brian Ward’s game plan last week. Ward told us on the radio version of “Orange Nation” that the plan against Clemson was to limit Travis Etienne and the Tigers’ rushing attack as much as possible and for the Orange to take their chances with the passing game. Western Michigan’s Jon Wassink is a capable passer. He’s a senior who has already thrown for more than 4,200 yards in his collegiate career. However, we saw at Maryland what can happen when an opposing team starts gashing this defense with the run. SU’s secondary is deep, athletic, and talented. I say, try to make the Broncos one-dimensional, turn your defensive line loose on the pass rush, and believe that your defensive backs will make enough plays — they did that last week for three quarters against the best offense in the country.
Don’t Let Up
Last year’s meeting in Kalamazoo, Michigan was a tale of two halves. Syracuse scored on its first six possessions that night and built a 34-7 halftime lead. However, SU took its foot off the gas pedal in the third quarter and the Broncos were able to rally, pulling within one possession on a couple of occasions. This team needs a “feel-good” win. The Las Vegas oddsmakers think this is going to be a close game and maybe it will be. I do think there’s a chance, though, that Syracuse flexes its muscles and wins by double-digits. If the Orange finds itself in position to deliver a knockout blow, it’s important to capitalize and right the ship with a couple of victories before the toughest stretch of the season begins on October 10th at NC State.
The game can be seen on the ACC Network at Noon Saturday.