#29 Syracuse Football 2019 Preview

Syracuse Orange
Overall Rank: #29
#3 ACC
 Syracuse Logo
Syracuse heads into the 2019 season with high expectations and a lot of excitement up in western New York. Head Coach Dino Babers, who is arguably one of the best motivators in the sport, has quickly turned the Orange into a top contender in the ACC despite being in the same division as Clemson. Syracuse has split their last two meetings with the Tigers and will host them on September 14th in the home opener at the Carrier Dome in what should be a wild scene on a national stage.
2018 Record: 10-3, 6-2
2018 Bowl: Camping World Bowl vs. West Virginia (34-18 W)
Coach: Dino Babers (18-19 at Syracuse, 55-35 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Lynch
Defensive Coordinator: Brian Ward
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Moe Neal, RB, 869 yards
Passing: Tommy DeVito, QB, 525 yards
Receiving: Sean Riley, WR, 756 yards
Tackles: Andre Cisco, FS, 60
Sacks: Kendall Coleman, DE, 10.0, Alton Robinson, 10.0
Interceptions: Andre Cisco, FS, 7
Other Key Returnees: WR Nykeim Johnson, WR Taj Harris, RG Evan Adams, RT Airon Servais, RB Abdul Adams, DT McKinley Williams, CB Chris Frederick, CB Scoop Bradshaw, SS Evan Foster, K Andre Szymt, P Sterling Hofrichter, NB Trill Williams
Key Losses: QB Eric Dungey, OL Cody Conway, OL Koda Martin, DT Chris Slayton, WR Jamal Custis, LB Ryan Guthrie, LB Kielan Whitner, RB Deontae Strickland
There will be a different look for the Orange as quarterback Tommy DeVito takes over for Eric Dungey who was a tough-minded leader for Syracuse. DeVito saw some action in 2018 as he threw for 525 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. In addition, DeVito should provide a downfield passing element to the Syracuse offense that rivaled what coach Babers had with Jimmy Garoppolo when he was at Eastern Illinois. The running back room has plenty of talent with the return of Moe Neal and Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams, who scored two touchdowns in the win over West Virginia. Sean Riley and Nykeim Johnson will form a solid 1-2 punch at wide receiver. Riley should be the primary target for DeVito as he caught 64 passes for 756 yards and three touchdowns. Taj Harris and Trishton Jackson should also see plenty of targets in the passing game, which will cause headaches for opposing defensive backs.
Replacing Chris Slayton will not be an easy task but with Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman coming off the edge it will give Syracuse a shot to match last year’s sack totals. Josh Black and McKinley Williams will plug the middle and between the two of them it will be important to occupy as many offensive linemen as possible to free up Robinson and Coleman. The secondary is loaded with experience and playmakers led by Chris Frederick, Andre Cisco, Evan Foster, and Trill Williams. Cisco picked off seven passes in his freshman season last year and was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Linebacker will be an interesting storyline in fall camp as the Orange need to replace 207 tackles from Ryan Guthrie and Kielan Whitner. Laikem Williams and Andrew Armstrong are a pair of seniors that will slide into the starting lineup and will lead a group of talented younger players behind them that will need to play loose and make plays. Andre Szymt is one of the best kickers in the nation and with the knack of Syracuse to play close games it gives the Orange a huge advantage.
The Bottom Line:
Road trips to Liberty and Maryland will kick off the 2019 season for Syracuse and it will be absolutely essential for them to give those two games their full attention. There are a couple of tricky road games at NC State and Florida State that could trip up the Orange, especially if DeVito has an off day throwing the football. The month of November sets up well as Syracuse will host Boston College, travel to Duke and Louisville, followed by the home finale against Wake Forest. If Syracuse can get to 6-2 by the end of November, they will probably end up 10-2 with a second-place finish in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Projected Bowl:  Camping World Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 200.1 36th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 264.7 (31, 4)
Total Offense: 464.8 (19, 2)
Scoring Offense: 40.2 (11, 2)
Rushing Defense: 162.5 (63, 8)
Pass Defense: 264.1 (116, 12)
Total Defense: 426.5 (88, 10)
Scoring Defense: 27.0 (64, 6)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (5, 1)
Sacks:  3.31 (6, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.85 (109, 12)

Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#183 Lee Kpogba