Matchup Preview: Syracuse vs South Florida breaks down Saturday's matchup between the Syracuse Orange and South Florida Bulls.

The South Florida Bulls will enter Saturday’s game in Syracuse with a 2-0 record, having scored 104 points in the first two games—56 against Towson in their opener and 48 against Northern Illinois last week. The Syracuse Orange, with a record of 1-1, will be playing its third game in the hot and steamy confines that is the Carrier Dome; the environment that has now been known to cause injuries, such as cramps and muscle fatigue, to many of the opposing players.

Dome Weather = Florida Weather

But, with the regular 80-degree days and high humidity in Tampa, Fla., USF might be the only opposing team that is as prepared as Syracuse—if not, more—to handle the Dome’s environment. What will that mean for injuries during Saturday’s game? We’ll have to wait and find out. One thing is for sure, if there are any injuries, especially the amount there were against Louisville last week, the fans at the Dome will not take it lightly. The greatest home advantage Syracuse will have will be the noise. But, in order to benefit from it, the Orange will have to be able to keep the fans in the game and in their seats. 

Quick Decisions on Defense

Bulls QB Quinton Flowers completed 13 of 21 passes for 365 yards last week. The offense as a whole earned 298 rushing yards; 121 from RB Darius Tice, the team’s leading rusher. With such similar yardage, Syracuse’s middle linebacker Zaire Franklin will have some quick decisions to make in the Tampa-2, distinguishing between the passing game and the rushing.  

Babers said a press conference Monday that Flowers is exceptional, “like the guy we played last week,” (a.k.a. Louisville’s QB Lamar Jackson). The critical difference, however, will be the amount yards Flowers gains with his feet. He ran for just 53 yards in each of the first two games of the season, which will take some pressure off of the SU defense. But, they will still have to worry about containing Flowers because he certainly has the ability to break free. 

Dungey and the System

Saturday, the hurry-up must remember to do one thing: hurry up. Against Louisville, the Orange offense snapped the ball 85 times in 20 drives. Game one against Colgate, it managed to get in 94 plays in only 12 drives. In order to reap the benefits of a hurry-up—a tired, injury-prone defense, for instance—QB Eric Dungey must be able to keep his offense on the field by completing those long passes; like he did in game one where he gained 437 passing yards with just 117 rushing. And that’s where WR Amba Etta-Tawo comes in. The ACC’s leading receiver will play a critical role in outcome of game.  He and fellow WR Steve Ishmael will have their work cut out for them, breaking free and maneuvering Bull defenders like CB Deatrick Nichols and SS Jaymon Thomas.

The Watch List


#7, WR Amba Etta-Tawo: The transfer senior has immediately made in impact on the Orange offense. Not only is Etta-Tawo the team’s leading scorer and receiver, his 313 receiving yards tops the entire ACC. His success goes hand-in-hand with Dungey’s, though. So, Dungey must complete more 49 percent of his passes for his offense to thrive. But, when there a pass, Etta-Tawo will most likely be at the end of it. 


#43, LB Auggie Sanchez: Currently second in the AAC with 20 tackles, the middle linebacker has proved himself to be a strong force on defense. He has just one sack on the season but the Orange offensive must take extra care in making sure this 6-foot-2, 245-pound junior doesn’t get to Dungey. It could hurt.

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