Week 7 - Syracuse at Rutgers

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - Syracuse at Rutgers

Syracuse (2-3) at Rutgers (5-0) Oct. 13, 12:00, Big East Network Here's The Deal:It wasn't a Picasso, but Rutgers held serve at home versus Connecticut last week to remain one of the Big East's three remaining unbeaten programs. The Scarlet Knights emerged from their bye week with a few coats of rust, yet got another great effort from the defense to avoid getting picked off by the Huskies. Up two notches to No. 20 in the polls, Rutgers has a month of winnable games ahead before things get serious with a Nov. 17 trip to Cincinnati. It was do-or-die on Friday night for Syracuse, which held on to beat Pitt, 14-13. The nationally-televised victory could mark a turning point for the Orange, but only if it's able to follow it up with an upset in Piscataway this Saturday. The second-half stretch will be particularly poignant for head coach Doug Marrone, who has been one of his own biggest critics of late. Why Syracuse Might Win: Marrone has insisted that his defense get more physical, and the unit has responded by holding its last three opponents to no more than 17 points. The Orange D peaked last week, holding Pittsburgh to one touchdown, and completely dominating at the point of attack. The ringleader was DE Brandon Sharpe, who erupted for six tackles for loss and four sacks to disrupt the Panthers' gameplan. If Sharpe, with help from linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Marquis Spruill, can crowd the Rutgers pocket, the nation's 89th-ranked offense will punt far more often than it puts up points. Why Rutgers Might Win: When it comes to defense, Syracuse is still the student while Rutgers is the teacher. The Scarlet Knights are only allowing a little more than 10 points a game, and have been a brick wall against the run. The Orange is already having problems establishing a ground game, which means the pressure of moving the ball will rest squarely on the shoulders of QB Ryan Nassib. The senior has had moments this season, but most of them came early in the year. He's struggled of late, which figures to continue once LB Khaseem Greene starts roaming all over the field, and CB Logan Ryan shuts out top receiver Marcus Sales. What To Watch Out For: Is the Syracuse defense for real, or is it just in the midst of a mini-surge? Rutgers RB Jawan Jamison is determined to find out. The Knights' most consistent offensive player leads the Big East in rushing, and has gone for more than 100 yards in seven of his last eight games. He'll need to soften the Orange front seven early on, allowing QB Gary Nova to be more effective on play-action. Jamison averaged less than four yards a carry last Saturday, and the Rutgers attack sputtered accordingly. What Will Happen: The temperature is dropping and the wind is beginning to pick up, which means it'll be tougher than ever for opponents to navigate the surly Rutgers defense. The Scarlet Knights don't give up much ground, but especially to one-dimensional opponents that are in a bit of a funk. They'll harass Nassib into submission, keeping him from getting back on track. And while the Rutgers offense won't exactly erupt, the running of Jamison and a few connections from Nova will help provide the margin of victory in a defensive struggle. CFN Prediction: Rutgers 23 … Syracuse 13 ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Rutgers -7 O/U: 46 Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 2