Syracuse Football: Deep dive on Orange at Purdue in prime-time spotlight

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

This Saturday night on NBC at 7:30 pm as part of the Big Ten TV deal, it will be your Syracuse football team against the Purdue Boilermakers at the Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Last season in the JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse football defeated Purdue, 32-29, after a Garrett Shrader touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden II with 7 seconds left in the game. Defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu also had a pick-six as the Purdue quarterback tried to throw a pass to avoid a sack and threw it right at him.

So with Purdue starting 1-1 and thinking they’d won last season, the Boilermakers will no doubt be going into this game looking for redemption and to try and avoid a losing record. For the Orange, it’s a chance to prove themselves against an opponent from the Big Ten Conference and if they can win decisively, possibly get ranked in polls as well.

In Syracuse football Head Coach Dino Babers’ weekly press conference on Monday afternoon, when asked about injury updates heading into the game, he stated he was still waiting to talk to the medical staff. And knowing Coach Babers, he likely won’t announce any updates until the last minute possible to make it harder for Purdue to game plan accordingly.

Syracuse football faces its toughest 2023 test so far, traveling to Purdue.

Purdue lost their first game of the season, 39-35, against Fresno State and bounced back to beat Virginia Tech, 24-17, this past Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.

After two seasons as defensive coordinator at Illinois, Purdue hired Ryan Walters to be their head coach this season after former coach Jeff Brohm left last season to coach at Louisville, his alma mater.

Also changed from last season is former Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell is in the NFL with Hudson Card replacing him. Card is a transfer from Texas and while all the touchdowns against Virginia Tech were rushing touchdowns and he’s ranked 60th according to ESPN, don’t sleep on him and a vocal Purdue crowd.

But even at 1-1 with a new coach and quarterback, if Syracuse football can win outright and then beat Army at home next week going into the Clemson game in two weeks, the polls and casual fans will come around. If Syracuse football struggles or loses, it’ll make that vocal minority louder saying Syracuse only won the last two because of their opponents and have a harder time convincing them to support the team.

Personally, I think this kind of thinking is wrong because I’m a homer who loves my team win or lose no matter the opponent but sadly that’s what the landscape is and why it’s harder to attract 4 or 5-star players who can play elsewhere with fans who show up (though I contend Otto’s Army and those who show up are as diehard as any fanbase in the country).

And based on most odds I’ve seen, this game is anywhere from a pick ‘em to a 2.5-point favorite (FanDuel has the Orange as a 2.5-point betting favorite), but I think Syracuse football will be able to cover that and more and prove that their dominant performances the last two weeks weren’t just the opponents but a sign of the potential that this team has this year.

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