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Syracuse (1-8, 1-7 Atlantic Coast) hosts North Carolina State (6-3, 5-3) Saturday at noon for the final home game of the season. Syracuse hasn’t won a game since it played against Georgia Tech on Sept. 26, and the team is on the verge of its second one-win season since Ben Schwartzwalder took over in 1949. The Wolfpack, however, have multiple ranked wins this season.
Here’s how our beat reporters think Saturday’s contest will play out:
Anthony Dabbundo (7-2)
It’s basketball season
NC State 34, Syracuse 10
The Orange’s road shutout against Louisville felt like a new low this season. The offensive stagnation is one thing, but the mental miscues are another level of underachievement that you don’t expect in game nine of the season.
Whether Syracuse starts JaCobian Morgan, Rex Culpepper or Dillon Markiewicz at quarterback, none of them can rescue this Syracuse offense, which may be the worst in all of the Power 5 conferences. They won’t be able to sustain drives and score more than 10 points. Short of more defensive turnovers or long plays, I don’t know how Syracuse scores. The offense is currently broken, and I can’t pick Syracuse to even come close to the Wolfpack.
As well as the defense played against Louisville and Boston College, it’s all for naught as NC State pulls away in the second half, SU fans get ready for basketball season and the Dome transitions back to basketball for good this year.
Danny Emerman (5-4)
NC State 27, Syracuse 6
There’s no reason to beat around the bush: Syracuse is trotting out a team that’s full of players physically unready for Atlantic Coast Conference football. Even head coach Dino Babers has said this multiple times this year.
More than 71% of Syracuse’s active roster features players in their first or second year of eligibility, making SU the fourth-youngest team in the FBS. And who knows who’ll start under center for Syracuse? The returns on stock-optioning Culpepper were less than ideal in his three starts.
The season’s been long over for Syracuse at this point. The Orange’s inexperience and lack of depth have caught up to them, and NC State should have no trouble making Syracuse’s already diminished Senior Day one to forget.
Adam Hillman (6-3)
Senior Day bummer
NC State 41, Syracuse 3
Syracuse is playing games because they have to at this point. The injuries have notoriously piled up, the younger players are in the game for far too many minutes and the losses continue to mount.
The Orange have shown some fight, including against Boston College and Clemson, but they failed to do so during the shutout against Louisville last week. I don’t see a difference this week as an improved NC State travels north, looking for its seventh win. This one won’t be close, as one program ascends and the other declines. We must feel for the seniors, but I’m afraid their last game, in an empty Carrier Dome, will be a bummer.
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