Syracuse Football: Let’s talk about Wagner, bye weeks and NC State

Syracuse football (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse football (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /

Hello Orange Nation and welcome to NC State game week for Syracuse football. The word from Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack himself says over 40 thousand tickets are sold already. Syracuse football is 5-0 and only one win away from bowl eligibility. This is a big game.

So let’s take a few minutes to discuss that but first share a little about the Wagner win and the bye week as well. I’m aware a 59-0 game probably doesn’t need much recapping, but I have a couple of brief thoughts.

A review and a preview for Syracuse football, as the Orange eyes a 6-0 start to the 2022 season.

Wagner Review

I stand with Coach Babers

During this 59-0 victory over Wagner, many Syracuse football fans took to social media to vent that starters were playing in the second half. Personally, I don’t care nor do I second-guess coaches unless something is just completely crazy to me. In my eyes, if the coach and players want to play until the last second, I’m fine with that.

I understand that injuries are possible but they know that just as much as we do and if they’re fine with that risk, who am I to judge? I don’t like when someone tells me I drink too much Mountain Dew or eat too much pizza because it’s “unhealthy” so why would I tell them what to do with their life or how to do their jobs?

Rumor is they simply wanted to play a set or two of downs to get some records they were very close to and I don’t blame them for wanting to try. Imagine if you’re just a couple units away from a bonus at work and the boss cut the work day short just because they thought they’d made enough? I’m not a fan of second-guessing…I’m that fan who just roots for my team and hopes for the best.

That’s impressive

Look, I know this is a Wagner team struggling the last two seasons but those fans who remember the past know that oftentimes a game like this in the annals of Syracuse history ended up more likely to be 24-3 not long ago.

To see all sides of the ball this impressive only solidifies my belief that this is a special team capable of winning any game this season. I think far too many see the victories as “they should win those” and losses as “Syracuse stinks again” without taking into consideration other aspects of the game but hopefully this one is one for all to enjoy.

Bye week

It’s my belief that Wagner games should be an “exhibition” game played in week 1 to work out your lineup in an actual game situation. I also think bye weeks should be at the halfway mark of a season to rest and regroup if necessary.

This one comes at almost the halfway point so it’s not that bad and at a time when many on this team need it. It’s a time to rest up the “owies” and “boo-boos” as Coach often refers to them and maybe work on things. The schedule will get tougher and more games will be on the road too so I believe this team will come back ready to keep their winning season alive.

NC State Preview

Is Leary in or out?

North Carolina State quarterback Devin Leary was injured during their last game against Florida State. Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren says it won’t require surgery but he was vague when stating his status not only against Syracuse but the rest of the season.

Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers said during his weekly press conference that he believes if Leary can play he will, but the team is preparing for all possible quarterback options in this game.

Bowl magic number is 1

At 5-0, Syracuse football is one win away from being bowl eligible, possibly in their first 6 games. But make no mistake about it, this isn’t Wagner with or without Wolfpack QB Leary. Syracuse is going to have to pack a punch and play hard to earn this victory.

But how sweet would it be to not only do so in your first 6 games but on your home field in front of a packed house of over 40 thousand fans? Come in with that intensity and teamwork the Orange has displayed so far this season, and Syracuse is going bowling for the first time since 2018.

Not that Drake

There may not be Toosie Slide playing on the speakers of the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday but there will definitely be a Drake on the field to watch. Wolfpack linebacker Drake Thomas is my defensive player to watch in this game.

He was a first-team All-ACC player last season and will be someone both running back Sean Tucker and quarterback Garrett Shrader will have to contend with all game. Drake had 14 tackles against Florida State including two for a loss.

Looking at some numbers

So since there is a lot of talk about ranking numbers, attendance numbers and records, let’s look at some other stats that might be of interest.

For example, Syracuse football has played NC State 15 times and the Orange have only won twice (2018 and 2013). The Wolfpack have never had a national championship nor a Heisman Trophy winner (Syracuse has one of each) but they have appeared in more bowl games (33) than the Orange (26) and have won 11 conference championships to Syracuse’s 5.

And if you want the odds and other information, my ITLH brother Neil has got you covered by clicking here.

Next. Syracuse Football: Comparing 2022 to the undefeated 1987 season. dark