Week 2 ACC - Syracuse at Northwestern & More

Posted Sep 6, 2013

Week 2 ACC Fearless Predictions - Syracuse at Northwestern & More

Old Dominion (0-1) at Maryland (1-0) Sept. 7, 4:00, ESPNEWS

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The Terrapins couldn't have been much happier with their first week of action, easily handling Florida International, 43-10. Even better, Maryland appeared to get out of the game unscathed, a pleasant development after last year's rash of injuries. Every victory is essential for beleaguered head coach Randy Edsall. Old Dominion, playing in front of its largest road crowd ever, ran out of gas in a 52-38 loss to East Carolina. The Monarchs were within four points at the start of the fourth quarter, but couldn't finish the upset bid.
Why Old Dominion Might Win: QB Taylor Heinicke. The junior is a one-man gang for the Monarchs, accounting for 380 total yards and four scores against the Pirates. He's capable of carrying ODU to a win if the rebuilt Terps' front seven is unable to pressure the pocket.
Why Maryland Might Win: The Terrapins are a very different team when QB C.J. Brown is healthy and under center. The new up-tempo offense hummed with No. 16 at the controls, racing to 40 first-half points. When Brown is scrambling and distributing to receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, the Monarchs will be lost on defense.
Who To Watch Out For: Heinicke vs. Brown. Similar quarterbacks capable of staging a very compelling duel at Byrd Stadium this weekend.

- Who spies Heinicke from the Maryland side of the ball? LB L.A. Goree, who's led the Terps in tackles in four straight games, is the logical candidate.
What Will Happen: Brown and Heinicke both have proven track records for carrying teams to new heights. The difference for Maryland is that Brown has a better supporting cast and the backing of a home crowd. In a carbon copy of last week, Old Dominion will battle into the second half before falling to a deeper, more talented opponent.
Prediction: Maryland 42 … Old Dominion 27
Line: Maryland -18.5
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 2

Duke (1-0) at Memphis (0-0) Sept. 7, 4:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Duke and Memphis in the same building makes for an interesting matchup on hardwood. It'll produce a few intriguing storylines on grass as well. The Blue Devils began 2013 by blanking N.C. Central, 45-0. It's an important season for sixth-year head coach David Cutcliffe, who wants to show that Duke's 2012 bowl berth was a harbinger of things to come rather than an aberration. The Tigers were among the handful of FBS schools that didn't begin their campaign last weekend. Memphis, which has joined The American, is in the early stages of a rebuilding process under second-year coach Justin Fuente.
Why Duke Might Win: The parts are in place for the offense to be potent this year in Durham. Cutcliffe has no reservations about first-year starting QB Anthony Boone, who gives the attack an element of athleticism from the pocket. Memphis doesn't have a defensive back capable of silencing Boone's favorite target, Jamison Crowder, and Jela Duncan is an improving runner. The Blue Devils O-line is vastly underrated.
Why Memphis Might Win: The Tigers, too, are upbeat about their offense entering 2013. This game marks the start of the Paxton Lynch era behind center. The 6-7, 225-pound redshirt freshman has the long arm that was lacking a year ago. He'll stretch the Duke defense, while feeding up-and-coming RB Brandon Hayes out of the backfield.
Who To Watch Out For: Duke has a very solid offensive line, but it'll get tested by the Memphis front. Martin Ifedi, Terry Redden and Johnnie Farms get upfield and into the backfield in a hurry.

- Sixth-year senior DE Kenny Anunike will get at least a couple of chances to introduce himself to Lynch face-to-face. The heavy-legged Memphis tackles are vulnerable to Anunike's strength and quickness.

- Boone has a chance in his final two years to evolve into a very good player under Cutcliffe. The junior has better feet and a stronger arm than predecessor Sean Renfree.
What Will Happen: Fuente has Memphis undeniably headed in the right direction. And by midseason, this will be a very plucky squad. But in the opener, the Tigers will fall a little short to the more seasoned Blue Devils. In a closer matchup than anticipated, Duke will ride the more consistent passing game to a hard-fought road victory.
Prediction: Duke 31 … Memphis 26
Line: Duke -6 – O/U: 49
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

Syracuse (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0) Sept. 7, 6:00, Big Ten Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Northwestern will attempt to protect its No. 19 AP ranking with a home opener against Syracuse. The Wildcats survived a scare on the road at Cal late Saturday, outlasting gritty Cal, 44-30, in Berkeley. For the second straight week, head coach Pat Fitzgerald will be preparing for an opponent with a new staff, which means a little extra time studying in the film room. The Orange started the Scott Shafer era with a tough loss to Penn State in a 23-17 game that was nip-and-tuck throughout. Now facing a tougher schedule as an ACC member, Syracuse can ill-afford an 0-2 start if it hopes to still be in pads in December.
Why Syracuse Might Win: Shafer wants to open up the offense a little more this week, especially on first downs. He's facing the right opponent to expand the playbook against. Northwestern had problems with the speed and the pace of the Cal attack, yielding 548 yards. And now, the Wildcats will be without injured starting CB Daniel Jones for the rest of the rest. The Orange still want to pound the ball with the backfield tandem of Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, but it'll also give QB Drew Allen a chance to advertise his strong right arm.
Why Northwestern Might Win: The Cats are too tough for the Orange at the point of attack. Northwestern has the better O-line and D-line in this one, which will help make everyone surrounding them better. Syracuse won't mount much of a defensive push, which will provide backs Venric Mark and Treyvon Green the room they need to operate. After playing poorly against Penn State, the Orange offensive line must now contend with DE Tyler Scott and a Wildcats D that produced four sacks, three picks and two touchdowns in the opener.
Who To Watch Out For: For the second straight week, Syracuse needs to scheme for two quarterbacks. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, with vastly disparate styles, will both play again this weekend.

- Northwestern's Mr. Opportunistic, LB Collin Ellis, scored both of the Wildcats' Week 1 defensive touchdowns in his first start in two years.

- Mark and Green won't have a ton of problems with the first line of the Syracuse defense, but the linebackers are a different story. Cameron Lynch, Marquis Spruill and Dyshawn Davis form an active and underrated trio from the second level.

- If Allen is to exploit the Northwestern secondary, he'll need more help from his outside receivers. The wideout were non-factors against Penn State, as H-back Ashton Broyld led the team with four grabs for 46 yards.
What Will Happen: With a road win on the West Coast in the vault, Northwestern is eager to start its home slate with a victory as well. Syracuse is a blue-collar bunch that should never be underestimated. But until the Orange improve in the trenches, it'll struggle to upend the tougher opponents on the schedule. The Wildcats have too many weapons on offense, from Mark and Colter to seam-busting TE Dan Vitale. They'll pull away, taking another step toward a battle of unbeatens with Ohio State on Oct. 5.
Prediction: Northwestern 35 … Syracuse 24
Line: Northwestern -12 – O/U: 57
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 3

Richmond (1-0) at NC State (1-0) Sept. 7, 6:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: NC State kicked off the Dave Doeren era in Raleigh with an impressive rout of Louisiana Tech, 40-14. Despite losing starting QB Brandon Mitchell to a left foot injury, the Pack dominated from start to finish providing a jolt of momentum and optimism to start 2013. Richmond had its own reason to celebrate on the opening weekend, blanking VMI, 34-0. The always-dangerous Spiders improved by five wins to go 8-3 a year ago.
Why Richmond Might Win: The Spiders play disciplined, assignment football, led by defensive linemen Kerry Wynn and Evan Kelly. They yielded just 174 total yards in Week 1, and will be facing an NC State offense that'll be using backup QB Pete Thomas for at least the next month. You can never overlook a Danny Rocco-coached team.
Why NC State Might Win: The Pack will have its biggest advantage at the point of attack, when Richmond has the ball. State played well defensively on Saturday, which was somewhat overshadowed by the 40 points it scored. The D-line, comprised of Art Norman, T.Y. McGill, Thomas Teal and Darryl Cato-Bishop, is one of the sneaky-good front walls of the ACC.
Who To Watch Out For: How does the role of rookie RB Matt Dayes change now that Shadrach Thornton's suspension has been lifted? Dayes debuted by turning 17 carries into 84 yards and three scores.

- It's a good thing Thomas spent the entire offseason thinking and preparing as if he was going to be the Pack starter. Now he is.

- The biggest concern on Saturday for the new-look NC State secondary will be containing Richmond WR Ben Edwards. The All-CAA performer caught seven balls for 95 yards and a touchdown in Week 1.
What Will Happen: This is a very tricky potential trap game for NC State. The joy of last week is behind them, and Clemson is waiting in the on-deck circle. Richmond will be prepared on Saturday, remaining close behind the effort of its defense. However, the Pack will find a way to wiggle out of an FCS upset, spearheaded by the play of the improved up-tempo offense.
Prediction: NC State 33 … Richmond 23
Line: NC State -23
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 2