I think we all know a key for Syracuse in this game is to contain Teddy Bridgewater. He is clearly the best player in the Big East this season, and has put up some absolutely dominating numbers in the sophomore campaign for the undefeated Cardinals. Even in the games where he has a tough time in situations, he always has been capable of leading his team down the field in the fourth quarter to either force an overtime or win the game. Containing Teddy Bridgewater for a complete four quarters has been something that no team has figured out to this point this season.
But is it possible for Syracuse to do it?
My answer is yes. While Bridgewater doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions, Syracuse doesn’t force many. Bridgewater is absolutely a pass first quarterback, which bodes well for the Orange who have had a difficult time the past two weeks stopping mobile quarterbacks. Bridgewater can turn on the jets and go if need be, but he looks to be a pocket passer first before making plays with his feet only if it is necessary.
Bridgewater has been known to have a couple of bad starts in games before picking it up in the second half, and the Orange will have the remember that. If they can somehow make Bridgewater a non-factor in the first half, that doesn’t mean he’s going away. In the Louisville-Cincinnati game, Bridgewater went 9-22 in the first half for 154 yards and an interception. If Syracuse could hold him to these numbers in the first half that would be phenominal. In the second half of that game however, Bridgewater went 15 of 19 for 262 yards and two touchdowns. If he has a half like that against Syracuse, it could be a long day in the Carrier Dome.
If Syracuse can keep Teddy Bridgewater from putting up ridiculous passing numbers against them, they will have a shot at this one. For as many moments as Louisville has looked great, they have looked pedestrian almost the same amount this season. While the end result is all that matters, the weakness in the armor of this team being young is something that the Orange can and should take advantage of if the opportunity presents itself this weekend. If Louisville is at their absolute best for four quarters, then this will be a tough one in the Dome. But if Louisville has any points of letdown and the Orange can jump out to a lead, Syracuse is more than capable of winning this game and ending Louisville’s undefeated streak. Desperation is on the side of SU due to the must-win nature of this game. A loss Saturday would mean a win at Missouri is essential for postseason play, and Syracuse definitely does not want that scenario.
Check back on game day for our official preview and prediction!