Rutgers vs Syracuse - Who has the Edge?

Are you wondering where the advantage for each team lies in the Rutgers-Syracuse matchup this week? Then SOR has you covered. We take a look at everything from offense, defense and special teams to coaching and intangibles as we let you know Who Has the Edge.

RUTGERS' OFFENSE VS. SYRACUSE'S DEFENSE
RU is ranked in the top 20 in scoring offense, passing offense and total offense. The Scarlet Knights average 480 yards per game offensively, and quarterback Mike Teel is the fifth rated passer in college football. Teel has eclipsed the 300-yard mark in two consecutive games and has reached that plateau three times this season. Rutgers moves the ball on the ground an average of 173 yards per game, and running back Ray Rice is averaging nearly 125 yards rushing per game despite failing to reach the 100-yard mark in three straight outings.

Syracuse statistically has one of the worst defenses in the nation. Out of 119 Division I-A teams, the Orange are 116th in rushing defense, 112th in total defense and 111th in scoring defense. SU's defense has allowed a total of more than 1,000 yards in its two Big East contests this season (against the top two offenses in the conference; Rutgers is No. 3).

The Scarlet Knights average 37 points per game this year while Syracuse gives up 35.7 ppg. Syracuse has held an opponent under 35 points just once this season, and Rutgers has scored at least 23 points in each game this year.

Edge: Rutgers

SYRACUSE'S OFFENSE VS. RUTGERS' DEFENSE
Only one team in college football runs the ball at a worse clip than Syracuse this season. The Orange average 49.5 yards per game on the ground and have failed to reach 100 yards in a contest this season, though they came six yards shy last week against West Virginia. Washington held SU to eight yards running in the season opener. Running back Curtis Brinkley averages less than 40 yards running per game and has reached the end zone once this season.

Rutgers has allowed nearly 400 yards on the ground in the last two games and more than 850 yards total. The Scarlet Knights have registered 11 sacks while Syracuse has allowed 24. Rutgers is allowing 17.8 points per game but has allowed 52 points in the last two games combined. Syracuse averages 16.33 points per game and has scored 14 or fewer points in four games this season, including a 35-0 shutout loss at Iowa in Week 2.

Edge: Rutgers

SPECIAL TEAMS
It looked like Jeremy Ito found a rhythm in the punting game last week, averaging nearly 43 yards a kick and booting a crucial punt 46 yards out of his own end zone early in the game. As a place-kicker, Ito has not missed an attempt since the opening week and has made eight straight field goals. He is also a perfect 23-for-23 on extra points this season.

Rutgers has still not produced a blocked punt this season, it has zero touchbacks on kickoffs, and it has just one kick or punt return greater than 30 yards this year.

Syracuse has two dangerous kickoff return men in Max Suter and Mike Holmes and boasts the best kickoff return unit in the Big East. Suter already has a touchdown return this year and Holmes nearly broke one for a TD against West Virginia last week. The Orange average more than 25 yards per kickoff return.

SU punter Rob Long averages nearly 43 yards per punt and has landed nine of his 33 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Place-kicker Patrick Shadle has been inconsistent at times, but he is a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts of more than 40 yards.

Edge: Syracuse

COACHING
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and his staff have looked outmatched on game day a couple of times this year. However, they have the on-field talent to overcome deficiencies in most games. Schiano took over a team that was arguably the worst in Division I-A and has RU looking toward its third straight bowl game.

Syracuse coach Greg Robinson took over a storied program that during Paul Pasqualoni's 14-year tenure had only one losing season and went to nine bowl games. Robinson has posted a 6-23 mark and 2-14 Big East record in two-plus seasons.

Edge: Rutgers

INTANGIBLES
Rutgers is on the ropes after dropping two straight games at home, the first time the Scarlet Knights lost back-to-back contests at Rutgers Stadium since 2004. RU was outscored 41-13 in the second half the last two weeks and is searching to get back on the right track. If Rutgers drops this game, the season could be lost altogether.

Syracuse followed its biggest win in recent history (a 38-35 decision at Louisville on Sept. 22) with two straight disappointing efforts in losses. There is likely no shot for this team to earn a bowl bid, and the Orange have been blown out in four of their losses. However, Syracuse is likely to be fired up to beat an so-far underperforming Rutgers team during homecoming.

Edge: Draw

RECENT HISTORY
Rutgers is looking for its third consecutive bowl bid for the first time in school history and its third straight winning season for the first time since 1978-80. The Scarlet Knights are 21-9 since the start of 2005.

Syracuse, which has not posted a winning record since 2001, is looking into the teeth of a third consecutive losing campaign. The Orange have won just two Big East games since 2005.

Edge: Rutgers


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