CFN Predicts Duke v. Syracuse
Here's The Deal: Duke has successfully taken all of the mystery and intrigue out of the once-complicated Coastal Division. If the Blue Devils keep winning, they’ll be in the fast lane to Charlotte, where Florida State will await on Dec. 6. Duke has rallied to three straight wins, capped by last week’s wild double-overtime victory against Pitt. Syracuse remains stuck in a rut; since beginning the season 2-0, the Orange has only beaten Wake Forest, while going 0-3 in ACC home games.
Why Duke Might Win: The Blue Devils have a far more diverse and explosive offense than the Orange, which stands 13th in the league. Syracuse has been impotent through the air, a trend that won’t change against a Duke secondary that’s allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes in the country. Beating the likes of S Jeremy Cash and CB Devon Edwards will be a tall order for struggling Orange QB A.J. Long.
Why Syracuse Might Win: Did Pitt provide the blueprint for beating Duke? The Panthers ran right at the Blue Devils, amassing 358 yards on the ground and 48 points. Now, the Orange doesn’t harbor a player of James Conner’s ability, but Prince-Tyson Gulley and 234-pound Adonis Ameen-Moore form a solid one-two punch. Syracuse is also much-improved on defense, giving up just 23 points per game.
Who To Watch Out For: Duke QB Anthony Boone finally delivered through the air, which meant WR Jamison Crowder was afforded an opportunity to approach his enormous potential. Boone threw three touchdown passes versus Pitt, while Crowder caught nine balls for 165 yards and two of the scores. Crowder will be matched up with the weakest area of the Syracuse D, its secondary.
What’s Going To Happen: Duke can see the finish line. And David Cutcliffe will make sure his team doesn’t lose its focus. Syracuse will battle for Scott Shafer, but it lacks the offensive execution to beat a decent opponent at this time. The Blue Devils will shake off a slow start to pull into the clear in the second half of a double-digit win.
PREDICTION: DUKE 30, Syracuse 20
Line: Duke -3.5 o/u: 51
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