USA TODAY Sports-Rich Barnes

An in-depth preview of the ACC opener between the Syracuse Orange and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Scout previews the ACC opener for Syracuse and Wake Forest inside with key players, matchups, storylines and more.

WAKE FOREST VS SYRACUSE

Time – 12:30pm, Carrier Dome

TV/Radio – CNY Central, 99.5FM WTKW

Series – Syracuse leads 3-1

Last meeting – Oct. 18, 2014, Syracuse won 3907

Coaches: Syracuse – Scott Shafer (3rd season, 11-15); Wake Forest – Dave Clawson (14th season 94-88 overall, 2nd at Wake Forest 4-9)

 

STORYLINE CENTRAL

Orange Out – Syracuse will be having an "Orange Out" where they ask fans to wear their orange gear to the game. The team will also be wearing all orange uniforms for the first time since introducing the new designs before the 2014 season.

Serving Youth – Syracuse played 15 freshmen in week one, and will be starting a true freshman at quarterback in Eric Dungey. Jordan Fredericks became the first true freshman to rush for 100 yards in a season opener in program history. He will see carries in week two as well. Dontae Strickland will also see the field for meaningful snaps with Ervin Philips out with injury.

Crawling Out of the Basement – Syracuse and Wake Forest were the two worst teams in the ACC in 2014 and predicted to finish back there in 2015. Both are rebuilding programs trying to turn things around. This game gives the winner momentum towards postseason play.

 

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Syracuse blitzers vs Wake Forest tackles, tight ends & running backs

Syracuse had a lot of success blitzing in last season's matchup. The linebackers and defensive ends just torched the Demon Deacons offensive line. A critical matchup in this one is the blitzing Syracuse linebackers, such as Parris Bennett and Marqez Hodge, against the Wake tackles, tight ends and running backs, who will be picking up those blitzers. If Syracuse can get to quarterback John Wolford, it will be along day for the Wake offense. If they can pick up the blitz and give him time, there will be opportunity to make plays down the field.

 

Orange wins if …

They Win the Turnover Margin – If Eric Dungey takes care of the football and can create some turnovers with their aggressive defense, Syracuse should be able to win this one. Especially if they can give the Orange offense a short field.

 

Demon Deacons Win if …

They Establish the Running Game – Wake Forest only averaged 3.2 yards per carry last week outside of Wolford's 70 yard scoring scamper. That was against Elon, a team vastly infrior to Syracuse, especially up front. If they can be efficient and consistent on the ground, it will open up play action and prevent Syracuse from teeing off on Wolford.

 

KICKOFF PRIMER

 

Impact Player

WR Steve Ishmael – With Erv Philips out with an injury, Ishmael will need to step up and make plays downfield. The top receiver for the Orange, he should have an advantage on the outside. Getting open consistently will make freshman quarterback Eric Dungey's job easier.

Something to Prove

QB Eric Dungey – Dungey was very good against Rhode Island in week one, but an ACC opponent is a completely different animal from an FCS foe. Another solid outing will go a long way towards further establishing himself as the quarterback of the future.

Looking to Build

RB Jordan Fredericks – Fredericks became the first true freshman to rush for over 100-yards in a season opener in Syracuse history. He is looking to take another step towards becoming a primary, consistent weapon in the Orange offense. Showing the same vision, burst and playmaking ability against a conference opponent will only build his confidence.

Freshman to Watch

HB Dontae Strickland – Philips is out and that means more snaps for Strickland at the hybrid position. While Ben Lewis will see the field plenty, as will Strickland. He has more comparable speed and vision as a runner to Philips as opposed to Lewis. Look for him to get some touches in this one. Strickland averaged 21-yards per touch in week one and scored his first career touchdown.


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