2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 9 - Syracuse at Louisville
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Oct. 29 at Louisville 27 … Syracuse 10
CFN Analysis: This might have been the coming of age game for Teddy Bridgewater. He’s had some good moments so far, but he was cool under fire completing 17-of-24 passes for 198 yards and two scores. He didn’t make any big mistakes and he and Victor Anderson provided a nice balance to keep Syracuse backed up all game long. The defensive front dominated, getting into the backfield time and again with Dexter Heyman leading the way with a sack and two tackles for loss. Winners of two straight, it’s time to go big game hunting. Beat West Virginia, and then it’s time to dream about the possibilities. But for now, this was another great step forward for a young team, and an offense, that’s taking baby steps.
Syracuse was on a roll after blowing away West Virginia, and then it came up with this. The offensive line couldn’t handle the Louisville defensive front, and the defense couldn’t come up with a big stop early or a key play late. Ryan Nassib threw the ball 36 times, but he only threw for 162 yards and didn’t connect on anything bigger than 20 yards. The first touchdown in the final quarter was too little too late for an attack that needs more pop from the ground game. The defense came up with three sacks, but it only came up with one takeaway. The Connecticut game is winnable, but a little offensive consistency would be nice.
(AP) LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Teddy Bridgewater passed for two touchdowns, Victor Anderson rushed for 93 yards and a score and Louisville's defense stuffed Syracuse in an emotional 27-10 win on Saturday.
Louisville (4-4, 2-1 Big East) got a visit from Anthony Conner, who broke his neck against Rutgers last week, in the locker room before the game and showed a lot of emotion in a big-play first quarter that helped the Cardinals to consecutive Big East Conference wins for the first time since 2006.
Bridgewater's scoring passes of 42 yards to DeVante Parker just 2 minutes into the game and 2 yards to Josh Chichester with 2:36 left in the opening quarter gave Louisville's defense just enough cushion. The Cardinals held the Orange (5-3, 1-2) to a season-low 246 total yards and no real scoring threat a week after Syracuse knocked off then-No. 11 West Virginia 49-23. Anderson then iced it with a 61-yard TD run down the left sideline early in the fourth quarter.
The loss snapped Syracuse's four-game conference road winning streak.
The Orange, who needs just one more win to become bowl eligible, didn't achieve a first down until their third drive and penetrated Louisville's 35 just twice.
Bridgewater, a freshman making his fifth start, found former high school teammate Michaelee Harris on a 44-yard pass on Louisville's second offensive play. Two snaps later he again exposed Syracuse's secondary, finding Parker wide open down the left side to make it 7-0 just 2:05 in.
Bridgewater had a touchdown pass to Harris wiped away for holding on Louisville's second drive. But he connected with Harris for a 21-yard completion on third down and 16 on the Cardinals' third drive that helped set up Bridgewater's second scoring pass, which the 6-foot-8 Chichester hauled in with a defender hanging off him.
Harris, a redshirt freshman, and Bridgewater, who played together at Miami Northwestern High School, connected on four passes for 96 yards, a career-high for Harris.
Meanwhile, Syracuse just never managed to get rolling against one of the nation's top defenses. The Orange had no consistency and even when the team was able to string together a few positive plays, penalties hurt them. They had eight penalties for 74 yards in the first half alone and finished with 12 for 99.
Ryan Nassib threw for Syracuse's only touchdown with 1:31 left in the game, but even then the Orange needed a roughing the passer penalty to move deep into Cardinals territory.
Conner, who was released from the hospital this week after surgery to stabilize his neck, made a surprise visit to the locker room before the game, then received a standing ovation when he made appearance between the first and second quarters. He rode onto the field in a golf cart and briefly stood and waved to the crowd.
Syracuse (5-2) at Louisville (3-4) Oct. 29, 12:00, Big East Network
Here’s The Deal … The Big East is more wide-open than ever in large part because of the Friday night efforts of these two programs. Syracuse and Louisville hosted a pair of the league’s top contenders, handling West Virginia and Rutgers, respectively. And because of that improbable turn of events, every member except South Florida is within a game of front-running Cincinnati.
The tough-to-figure Orange crushed the Mountaineers, 49-23, delivering one of the best all-around performances of the nearly three-year Doug Marrone era. Now it’s up to the kids to prove that its most recent effort, not earlier close calls with Rhode Island, Toledo and Tulane, is the real ’Cuse.
The Cardinals’ win last week was as big of a surprise, if not bigger. While they entered the game on a three-game losing streak, Rutgers had won four straight. The victory was a bittersweet one for Louisville, which lost CB Anthony Conner to a broken neck. The senior won’t play football again, but early indications are that he’s suffered no paralysis.
Why Syracuse Might Win: On both sides of the ball, the Orange has begun to mesh at the right time in the season. The offense is getting balanced production from the running of Antwon Bailey, who’s gone for more than 100 yards in four consecutive games, and the short-range passing of Ryan Nassib. The junior has really only had one bad game all year, and just got through shredding a pretty good West Virginia D for four touchdown passes.
The defense will cause problems for an already punchless Louisville attack that ranks 114th nationally at only 16 points a game. The Cardinals can forget about running the ball on a Syracuse D yielding less than 100 yards a game on the ground. Moving the chains could fall on true freshman QB Teddy Bridgewater and a Louisville passing game that’s thrown more picks than touchdowns over the last four games.
Why Louisville Might Win: Head coach Charlie Strong’s defense has been a pillar of stability throughout this up-and-down season. The Cardinals rank in the top 20 nationally in run defense, sacks, scoring defense and total D. Although not brimming with star power, this collaborative effort continues to shine around the likes of LB Dexter Heyman and S Hakeem Smith. Louisville has been tough in the red zone, a key reason that the team hasn’t lost a game by more than nine points this fall. Bridgewater might take a liking to a Syracuse secondary responsible for the team’s dismal 116th ranking in pass defense.
What To Watch Out For: The Syracuse defense got a huge boost last week from the return to action of DE Chandler Jones. The senior, who’d been out since the opener with a lower leg injury, promptly picked up six tackles and a pair of sacks at the expense of the West Virginia offensive line. He’s the kind of pass rusher who makes everyone around him better, getting off the snap and into the opposing backfield quickly. As long as No. 99 is on the field, especially against a suspect Louisville offensive line, the Orange will have a better shot of corralling quarterbacks than it did in the first half of the year.
What Will Happen: These days, no one is safe in the Big East. And just about anything is possible on a given Saturday. In yet another low-scoring game involving Louisville, Syracuse will have a few more of the weapons needed to eke out a victory on the road. The Orange can run the ball better with Bailey, and have the more reliable quarterback in Nassib. That balance, coupled with a defense gaining confidence, will give it the edge in a physical and conservative contest.
CFN Prediction: Syracuse 23 … Louisville 17
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Louisville -3 O/U: 44.5
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