#77 Syracuse Football 2014 Preview

Syracuse Orange

Overall Rank: #77
#12 ACC

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Syracuse will look to build off of their surprising 7-6 season, which ended in a Texas Bowl victory over Minnesota. It was Coach Scott Shafer’s first season at the helm of the program and there is plenty of reason to have hope moving forward.

2013 Record: (7-6, 4-4)
2013 Bowl: Texas Bowl vs. Minnesota (W 21-17)
Coach: Scott Shafer (7-6 at Syracuse, 7-6 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: George McDonald
Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Bullough

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Terrel Hunt, QB, 500 yards
Passing: Terrel Hunt, QB, 1,638 yards
Receiving: Ashton Broyld, WR, 452 yards
Tackles: Durell Eskridge, S, 78
Sacks: Cameron Lynch, LB, 4.0; Robert Welsh, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Durell Eskridge, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: WR Jarrod West, RB Prince-Tyson Gulley, LB Dyshawn Davis, K Ross Krautman

Key Losses: RB Jerome Smith, WR Christopher Clark, DL Jay Bromley, LB Marquis Spruill, OL Macky MacPherson

Quarterback Terrel Hunt took over a couple games into the 2013 campaign and did a fine job leading the Orange offense. He completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 1,638 yards and ten touchdowns. His ten touchdowns and eight interceptions were not all that impressive, but Hunt did get better as the season progressed. Nearly as important as Hunt’s passing, is his rushing. He totaled 500 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Hunt will have some of his favorite targets back too. Ashton Broyld led the squad with 52 receptions for 452 yards. Jarrod West added 26 catches for 397 yards. Those two are experienced targets, but Syracuse still needs to find an option that can stretch the field. In the meantime, this team will continue to rely on their ground game. Without Jerome Smith, who rushed for 914 yards and a dozen touchdowns, that may not go quite as well. Prince-Tyson Gulley is the likely option to take over a bulk of the carries. A strong offensive line should help the new feature backs remain one of the better rushing teams in the ACC.

In their seven wins, it was the really the defense that carried the day. That may not be the case anymore. The big concern is whether or not anybody can replace the major pass rushers that are lost. And, if not, can the rest of the defense cope without consistent pressure in the backfield. Linebacker Cameron Lynch and end Robert Welsh will be able to pick up some of the slack, but losing Jay Bromley and Marquis Spruill is huge. Trying to find a pass rush while breaking in depth at cornerback could be a bad combination.

The Bottom Line:
Unlike last year, the Orange will have a couple easier games to start off the season against Villanova and Central Michigan. That may be enough to get their momentum heading in the right direction with a tough stretch of games against Notre Dame, Louisville and Florida State right around the corner. This is a team that can win seven games again in 2014, but the schedule does have many of the weaker teams in the ACC on the road. That means the Orange either have to win consistently away from the Carrier Dome or pull relatively big upsets at home in order to reach bowl eligibility.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 194.8 (38th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 182.0 (102, 12)
Total Offense: 376.8 (85, 9)
Scoring Offense: 22.7 (98, 11)
Rushing Defense: 137.4 (24, 4)
Pass Defense: 229.8 (63, 9)
Total Defense: 367.2 (33, 6)
Scoring Defense: 25.4 (56, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.2 (48, 6)
Sacks: 2.85 (18, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (29, 4)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#43 Sean Hickey


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