Three numbers to track as the Deacs face the Syracuse Orange at 7 p.m. at BB&T Field.
The Orange are averaging 370 yards passing a game this season, while slinging it in the air an average of 48 times per contest, and they haven't just done this against cupcakes either. Syracuse has already faced South Florida, Louisville and Notre Dame (all losses) — the Orange still threw for an average of 335 yards against that elite competition.
The Wake secondary and front seven have a monumental task in front of them to slow both the pace and success of this Syracuse passing attack. It's incumbent on the defensive line to get pressure on Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey, which should be aided with the Orange being down three starting offensive linemen. Then the Demon Deac secondary will need to come away with their best game of the year, as they already proven susceptible to the pass in games against Duke, Indiana and North Carolina State.
That's the combined record of Syracuse (2-3), Virginia (2-3) and Boston College (3-2). That's a trio of teams nearly uniformly selected preseason to finish toward the bottom of the ACC, and all three of them play at Wake this season — absolutely critical contests for the Deacs.
The first one comes tomorrow against Syracuse, and if the Deacs hope to ascend toward the top of the standings, they have to start by beating the teams they should at home.
Number of turnovers the Deacs had last season in a 30-17 loss at Syracuse. A wet field with windy conditions could lead to turnovers for both sides Saturday, but the Deacs will need to take care of the football to avoid what happened last year when they outgained the Orange, had a greater time of possession and still found a way to lose.