Of the 15 teams that remain unbeaten at the highest level of college football, Syracuse is one of the least likely of the bunch. But how good are the Orange? Saturday’s matchup with visiting NC State will provide a good indication.
Syracuse’s only winning season in Dino Babers’ first six seasons came in 2018, when the Orange won 10 games, went 6-2 in ACC play, and finished ranked in the top 15 after winning the Camping World Bowl over West Virginia.
With the schedule they have remaining, a ten-win season looks like a tall, tall order. Beating NC State likely won’t completely convince all remaining skeptics–especially if the Wolfpack are without QB Devin Leary, who injured his shoulder in last Saturday’s win over Florida State–but it will send them into next week’s matchup at Clemson still perfect and with a chance to leave no doubt about how good they are.
North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Syracuse Orange Matchup Information and Betting Odds
- Matchup: NC State Wolfpack (5-1, 1-1 ACC, #15 AP Poll/#13 Coaches) vs. #18 Syracuse Orange (5-0, 2-0 ACC)
- Venue & Location: JMA Wireless Dome (Syracuse, New York)
- Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022
- Game Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time
- How to Watch NC State vs. Syracuse: ACC Network
NC State vs. Syracuse Odds
Game odds are via FanDuel. Odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites may also appear in this article.
- NC State +3.5 (-114)
- Syracuse -3.5 (-106)
- Over 41.5 (-115)
- Under 41.5 (-105)
- NC State +134
- Syracuse -162
NC State vs. Syracuse Prediction and Betting Picks
NC State vs. Syracuse Prediction: Syracuse to win
NC State vs. Syracuse Picks: Syracuse team total over (Best Value: over 22.5 @ -112 at BetRivers) & Garrett Shrader to score a touchdown anytime (Best Value: -105 at FanDuel)
In last Saturday’s 19-17 win over FSU, Leary didn’t return after injuring his throwing shoulder n the third quarter. Will he play at Syracuse? Understandably, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren is giving little away.
If Leary can’t go, Charleston Southern transfer Jack Chambers will start. Against the Seminoles, Chambers attempted only one pass but tallied 39 rushing yards and led NC State to three field goals as they rallied for the win.
Ultimately, there are a lot of questions even if Leary plays. Leary has really underwhelmed this season and was just 10 of 21 for 130 yards before he exited against FSU.
Realistically, the offense can’t continue to underperform and get bailed out again by their defense, especially against a team that has been turnover-free in all but one game.
But even if Leary plays, I give Syracuse the edge on offense.
Running back Sean Tucker had a couple of tough games against Purdue and Virginia, but he has 546 yards through five games and is having an increased impact catching the ball.
In five games this season, Tucker has caught almost as many passes (19) as he did in 12 games last season (20), giving NC State an extra dimension to deal with.
Quarterback Garrett Shrader can rack up yards with his feet and has a rushing touchdown in 12 of the 17 games he has played in at Syracuse. But he has made some big strides as a passer this season and is starting to show he can beat teams with both his arm and his legs.
Year-by-Year Passing Statistics for Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader
- 2019 (at Mississippi State): 88 of 153 (57.5%), 1170 yards (7.6 yards per attempt), 8 TD, 5 INT
- 2021 (at Syracuse): 123 of 234 (52.6%), 1445 yards (6.2 yards per attempt), 9 TD, 4 INT
- 2022: 90 for 127 (70.9%), 1224 yards (9.6 yards per attempt), 10 TD, INT
Last time out against FCS member Wagner, Shrader was 17 of 17 for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
To date, his lone off performance this season came against Purdue, when he completed just 13 of 29 passes. But in addition to helping his cause with 83 rushing yards, he didn’t get picked off, still threw three touchdown passes, including one with seven seconds left to give the ‘Cuse the win.
Defensively, the Orange did a great job against Louisville’s Malik Cunningham and Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong, and they will be up to the task against Leary or Chambers.
I think Syracuse will come down to earth at Clemson and ultimately not mount a serious challenge for the ACC Atlantic Division title. But even if Leary does play, the Orange will get the job done on Saturday against a team that is not nearly as good as its ranking would suggest.
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