FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (49,262) — Syracuse, New York.
Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Maryland 1-1, Syracuse 1-0. Away Record:
Maryland 1-0, Syracuse 1-0. Neutral Record: Maryland 0-0, Syracuse 0-0.
Conference Record: Maryland 0-0, Syracuse 0-0. Series Record: Syracuse leads,
GAME NOTES: The Syracuse Orange take aim at their first 3-0 start since 1991
when they entertain the Maryland Terrapins at the Carrier Dome this Saturday.
It took two overtimes for Syracuse to dispatch FCS foe Villanova in the season
opener. The Orange then went on the road to tangle with Central Michigan and
rolled to a 40-3 triumph. A win against Maryland would move them to 3-0. The
last time that occurred, the Orange finished 10-2 and defeated Ohio State in
the Hall of Fame Bowl.
Maryland got off to a 2-0 start itself before falling just short against West
Virginia (40-37) last Saturday. The Terps held a 37-30 lead in the fourth
quarter, but a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown from WVU’s William Likely
and a 47-yard field goal from Josh Lambert as time expired extinguished their
hopes for a win.
These teams met last year for the first time as ACC foes, with Syracuse taking
a 20-3 victory. The Orange lead the all-time series, 18-14-2, but Maryland is
now a member of the Big Ten Conference.
Even in defeat, Maryland put forth a solid offensive showing against WVU,
racking up 447 yards. However, they had less than half as many first downs as
the Mountaineers (33-16), while letting up nearly 700 yards of total offense.
Through the first three games, Maryland is averaging a healthy 37.7 points per
game, but it is just seventh in the Big Ten in total offense (411.7 ypg).
The entire offensive scheme is built around quarterback C.J. Brown. The multi-
faceted signal caller has thrown for 553 yards and also rushed for a team-high
219 yards. As a passer he has not been overly efficient, completing just 54
percent of his pass attempts with nearly as many interceptions (three) as
touchdown passes (four). On the ground he has four scores as well, while
averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
Brandon Ross (111 yards, TD) and Wes Brown (142 yards) are the more
traditional rushers for the Maryland offense.
Stefon Diggs is easily the most explosive player on the edge for the team. He
has started all three contests and has 17 receptions for 230 yards and a
score. His season-long reception of 77 yards is more than 30 yards better than
the next longest catch by a Maryland receiver. Deon Long (10 receptions, 129
yards, TD) and Marcus Leak (seven receptions, 109 yards, two TDs) have proven
to be capable second options.
Prior to facing WVU, the Terps had surrendered only 559 total yards. That
number was inflated quite a bit after the disastrous effort against the
Mountaineers — the team now yielding an average of 417.7 ypg.
Sean Davis (29 tackles) and Andre Monroe (22 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) are
two of four players on the roster to have at least 20 tackles. Monroe has been
a more effective defender, leading the team in sacks. Yannick Ngakoue should
not be overlooked, as he is second in the Big Ten in TFL (6.0).
Syracuse performed extremely well on offense against Central Michigan after
suffering some setbacks against Villanova. The Orange had 464 yards of total
offense and averaged 5.9 yards per play. They averaged more than a yard less
per play against the Wildcats.
Terrel Hunt played a big part in the step forward as he improved by a great
deal. After completing just 10-of-17 passes for 94 yards against Villanova,
the Syracuse quarterback connected on 20-of-30 attempts for 175 yards and a
score against the Chippewas. Hunt is also the team’s leading rusher (117
yards, three TDs) after picking up 92 yards and three scores against CMU.
One negative from the win over the Chippewas was the play of starting running
back Prince-Tyson Gulley. He had only 13 yards on seven carries after
compiling 100 yards and a touchdown against Villanova. Adonis Ameen-Moore
stepped up with Gulley slowed, tallying 106 yards on only nine carries.
As far as receiving options go, the Orange don’t have a real standout threat.
Ashton Broyld (nine receptions, 99 yards) leads the team in catches and
receiving yards, but he is one of four players with at least five receptions.
Syracuse gave up 26 points in a two-overtime contest and then let up only
three against Central Michigan. Clearly the defense is doing something right,
allowing just 606 total yards in the first two games.
The real strength of the unit has been getting applying pressure at the point
of attack. Syracuse has nine sacks in only two games, the team ranking second
in the ACC in sacks per game. Leading the charge is Cameron Lynch (23 tackles,
4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks).
A lack of consistency from Syracuse makes it a tough team to figure out. Are
the Orange the team that barely scraped by against Villanova, or the squad
that dominated Central Michigan? If Hunt continues to improve and the defense
remains strong they should resemble the latter. However, Brown and the Terps
have the offensive tools to remain competitive all afternoon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 24, Maryland 23