Know your Enemy: Syracuse Season Preview

We continue our Season Preview series with the Syracuse Orange.

We continue our Season Preview series with the Syracuse Orange. Their inaugural season in the ACC went about as we expected as Syracuse finished 7-6 (4-4 ACC). However, only three of the Orange’s seven wins came against teams with winning records.

Last season Florida State dominated Syracuse from start to finish on the way to a 59-3 romp, scoring 28 first quarter points and pulling the starters at halftime. Jameis Winston threw for 277 yards and 2 TDs while only two of his 21 passes went incomplete. The Syracuse offense only managed 247 yards of total offense despite FSU playing backups most of the game.

Breaking Down the Schedule


Win Shares

Aug. 29: Villanova


Sep 13: At Central Michigan


Sep 20: Maryland


Sep 27: Notre Dame


Oct 3: Louisville


Oct 11: Florida State


Oct 18: At Wake Forest


Oct 25: At Clemson


Nov 1: NC State


Nov 8: Duke


Nov 22: At Pittsburgh


Nov 29: At Boston College




Syracuse starts the season with what should be two easy victories, though Central Michigan will have a chance at home. The Syracuse season likely hinges on their success in six games: Maryland, at Wake Forest, NC State, Duke, Pittsburgh, and Boston College. They likely need to go 4–2 in that group to make a bowl, as they will be significant underdogs vs. FSU and Notre Dame, and Louisville should have a talent edge as well.

There are five manageable wins on this schedule, but if Syracuse wants to make it to a bowl game again this year they will need to find at least one win against Maryland, Duke, or Pittsburgh. The Simplified Football formula has them doing that, winding up with six wins.

Breaking Down The Offense

Projected Starters


Terrell Hunt

Running Back

Prince-Tyson Gulley


Brisly Estime

Wide Receiver

Ashton Broyld

Wide Receiver

Jarrod West

Tight End

Josh Parris

Left Tackle

Sean Hickey

Left Guard

Rob Trudo


John Miller

Right Guard

Nick Robinson

Right Tackle

Ivan Foy

Key Players

QB Terrell Hunt: Hunt returns for his redshirt junior season. Hunt completed 61.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 1632 yards and 10 touchdowns with 8 interceptions. He was also the Orange’s second leading rusher with 500 yards on 107 attempts. Hunt needs to improve as a passer from last season as he struggled with accuracy in the intermediate and deep zones.

RB Prince-Tyson Gulley: Gulley is the leading candidate to win the starting job. He rushed for 462 yards on 83 carries and 4 touchdowns. He lacks ideal size, but he has great vision and is a very elusive runner even though he doesn’t have elite speed.

LT Sean Hickey: Sean Hickey is one of the top 5 offensive tackles in the country and has a chance to be taken during the first two days of the NFL Draft with a solid senior season.

Improvement Needed

The Wide Receivers: Syracuse returns four of their top five receivers from last year, but none of them topped 500 yards and they only counted for 2 of the 13 touchdowns thrown last year. Junior Ashton Broyld was Hunt’s main target from last year catching 52 passes for 452, but had no touchdowns on the season. Senior Jarred West is their big play receiver. He only caught 26 passes, but averaged 15.3 yards per catch for 397 yards.


The Syracuse offense will need Hunt to step up as a passer this season as teams will load the box and force him to throw. They finished last season 83rd in the F/+ offensive rankings and he is one of the main reasons why it was so low. Another reason is the lack of a significant playmaker on the receiver unit. Freshman Steve Ishmael is expected to come in and get a lot of playing time early and could possibly earn a starting role later in the season. They have a decent running back unit, but it could be tough sledding if defenses are able to keep eight in the box.

Breaking Down the Defense

Projected Starters

Defensive End

Robert Welsh

Defensive Tackle

Marcus Coleman

Defensive Tackle

Eric Crume

Defensive End

Micah Robinson

Outside Linebacker

Dyshawn Davis

Middle Linebacker

Marqez Hodge

Outside Linebacker

Cameron Lynch


Brandon Reddish

Strong Safety

Darius Kelly

Free Safety

Durell Eskridge


Julian Whigham

Key Players

SS Durell Eskridge: Eskridge led the Orange in tackles, with 78, and interceptions, with 4. He was an All-ACC third team player last season and He is the best returning player on the Orange defense. He plays both the pass and the run extremely well.

LB Cameron Lynch: Lynch, last years second leading tackler, finished the season with 69 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 2 interceptions. He has great instincts and is always around the football. They will need him to step up and be the leader after the loss of Spruill.

Improvement Needed

The Defensive Line: The Orange return three of their starting four defensive linemen, all seniors, but the one they’re missing was a big one. Defensive tackle Jay Bromley decided to forgo his senior season and was taken in the third round by the New York Giants. Sophomore Marcus Coleman will step in and take his place. Coleman played very little last season as a redshirt freshman and only registered three tackles. Defensive end Robert Welsh is the only returning defensive lineman that was in the top 10 in tackles for the Orange last season, and he was tenth. Welsh did have 7 tackles for loss and 4 sacks last year. Defensive tackle Eric Crume is on the smaller side, but he does a decent job of using that to gain leverage. He had 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks last season. Defensive end Micah Robinson will need to step up big this year. He had just 1 sack to go with 5.5 tackles for loss.


The Syracuse defense is going to be very strong this year and should vastly improve its 63 F+ defensive ranking from last season. The defense is full of players with plenty of experience. The secondary should be the strength of the defense with Eskridge leading them, but how the defensive line plays will be the key to whether or not this is a good defense or one of the best defenses in the ACC.

Breaking Down the Special Teams

Projected Starters


Ross Krautman


Riley Dixon

Punt Returner

Ritchy Desir

Kick Returners

George Morris II

DeVante McFarlane

Improvement Needed

K Ross Krautman: Krautman has only attempted two field goals in his career, but earned the job in the spring over last year’s starter. He will need to prove that he can handle the duties in a game setting.

How They Match Up With FSU

Hunt will have to prove that he can throw the ball downfield or the Florida State defense will tee off against the running game. Last season Syracuse was only able to put up 247 yards of total offense on the Florida State defense including only 75 passing yards from Hunt. The Syracuse offensive line will have a very tough time dealing with the size and athleticism of the Seminole defensive line, which will make it extremely hard for the Orange to get anything going.

On defense Syracuse will definitely have it’s hands full. Their weakest unit, the defensive line, plays right into one of Florida State’s greatest strengths, the offensive line. Florida State should be able to run the ball effectively early, and the passing attack will be just as potent as last season. There are just too many athletes all over the field for Syracuse to deal with.

Wayne’s Prediction: 56-7 (Win Probability: 95%)

Jason’s Prediction: 51–3 (Win Probability: 90%)

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