North Carolina vs. Syracuse fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, October 20
Game Time: 12:20 ET
Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
Network: ACC Network
North Carolina (1-4) vs. Syracuse (4-2) Game Preview
One Reason Why North Carolina Will Win
So on the plus side, the Tar Heels totally outplayed Virginia Tech.
Yeah, they melted down and royally screwed up and couldn’t put the game away in the 22-19 loss, but the running game was great – right up until a critical late fumble – the quarterbacks combined for 287 yards, and the defense was terrific until the one time it needed to come up with a stop.
So despite the ugly 1-4 start, and even with the myriad of issues on both sides of the ball, really … there is improvement, and the team is getting better.
Michael Carter might have lost the ball when the Tar Heels had a shot to all but put the game away, but he also ran for 165 yards as he grows into a big-hitting back who can put up yards in chunks.
The Orange defensive front might be rested after getting two weeks off, but it was gouged by Clemson and Pitt in losses over the last two games. UNC has to keep at it on the ground, expect Syracuse line to sear down again, and try to hit the 200-yard mark – the Orange have given up that many three times in six games.
One Reason Why Syracuse Will Win
The Syracuse defense is amazing at coming up with third down stops.
As the Tar Heels showed last week, they might be able to move the chains, but they’re not great when it comes to third downs on either side of the ball.
It’s not that big a deal for them on the offensive side, but the defense isn’t slowing anyone down on the key downs, allowing over 50% conversions on third downs over the last four games. That’s going to be an issue against the Orange.
Syracuse has hit on over 40% of its third down tries in four of the six games and wasn’t slowed in the loss to Pitt.
The bigger issue for North Carolina will be the turnover problem. The team is the third-worst in college football in turnover margin – and dead last amongst ACC teams – and Syracuse is the best in the conference.
What’s Going To Happen
The slide stops here.
The rested Orange need this game to get back on track for bowl eligibility. The defense is going to play recharged, QB Eric Dungey is going to make up for his bad performance against Pitt two weeks ago, and in what should be a high-scoring battle, Syracuse wins at home.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Syracuse 34, North Carolina 23
Line: Syracuse -8.5, o/u: 67
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 2.5
5: Bohemian Rhapsody
1: A Star Is Born