The Twilight Saga Part 4: Syracuse battles some wolves
Day & Time: Saturday, November 28, noon ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
NC State Blog: Backing the Pack
Rivalry: 11-2, NC State
Current Streak: 1, NC State
First Meeting: Two legendary coaches did battle early in the 1972 season. The then singularly named Carter Stadium hosted the first meeting between Syracuse and NC State as Lou Holtz led the Wolfpack to a 43-20 win over the Orange coached by Ben Schwartzwalder. NC State went 8-3-1 that season and won the Peach Bowl over West Virginia, while Syracuse finished the 1972 campaign with a 5-6 record.
Last Meeting: In one of the weirdest (and probably the worst) games of 2019, Syracuse somehow survived long enough to battle back from a 16-0 deficit to hold the ball on the final possession of the game only down six. But, as was the theme of the game, penalties shut down any Orange hope as SU lost 16-10. File that game under “the less said, the better” category.
Head Coaches: Syracuse – Dino Babers (fifth year, 24-34) | NC State – Dave Doeren (eighth year, 76-49)
Coach Bio: Doeren played tight end at Drake University and started his collegiate coaching career there in 1995 as the linebackers coach. His big Power Five jobs were with Kansas and Wisconsin, holding defensive coordinator jobs for six years between the two schools. Doeren got his first head coaching job at Northern Illinois in 2011, where he went 23-4 overall with the Huskies. He earned bowl berths in both seasons at Northern Illinois, including an Orange Bowl bid in 2012 and a No. 16 ranking in the AP poll. Doeren didn’t coach in that Orange Bowl as he took the NC State job prior to the game. With the Wolfpack’s latest win, Doeren became the second-winningest coach in NC State history.
Last Year: Going into the 2019 season, Doeren had led NC State to five straight bowls, which was the second longest streak in school history. That streak was snapped in 2019 after NC State went 4-8 last year and finished last in the ACC Atlantic division.
Last Game: NC State was the last bastion between Liberty sweeping the ACC opponents on its schedule. Somehow, that contest came down to another last-second Liberty field goal attempt, but the kick was blocked by the Wolfpack as NC State survived 15-14.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: The last thing this Syracuse team needs is to face a decent running back, and NC State has just that in Zonovan Knight. Apart from having an excellent name, Knight ranks seventh in the ACC in both rushing yards (641) and rushing touchdowns (7).
If Syracuse Wins: We bust out the champagne for a (socially distant) celebration to see out the 2020 Carrier Dome football season.
If Syracuse Loses: We bolt the basketball courts to the dome turf.
Fun Fact: I didn’t realize who NC State’s offensive coordinator was when I started writing this preview. Then I saw that it was George McDonald: Syracuse’s offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. I now have night sweats from the PTSD we probably all suffered from witnessing the 2014 Orange offense.