banner

College Football

more stats

27
Final 1234Score
Syracuse0761427
Northwestern102401448
Preview | Matchup | Log | Wrap | Box
48


Syracuse (0-1) at (19) Northwestern (1-0)



Saturday, September 7, 6 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: After moving up three spots in the national rankings the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats will play a rematch of a shootout from a year ago against the Syracuse Orange at Ryan Field.

Last year these teams faced off to begin the 2013 campaign. Syracuse scored 28 unanswered points to take a 41-35 lead in the contest but a nine-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian to Demetrius Fields with 44 seconds remaining proved to be the difference for Northwestern in the 42-41 win. With the win the Wildcats tied the all-time series with the Orange at five wins apiece.

The same Syracuse team that battled Northwestern a year ago has gotten quite a facelift in the last year. The Orange lost head coach Doug Marrone, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and starting quarterback Ryan Nassib from that squad and are also now members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Scott Shafer took over the head coaching duties and Drew Allen was under center to begin this season, which got off to a rocky start as the Orange lost a tight, 23-17, contest to Penn State in East Rutherford.

The Wildcats already have experience in facing a team with a largely new look on the sidelines after facing Sonny Dykes in his first game coaching California last Saturday. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is acutely aware of the challenges such a matchup can create.

"Like we had last week, a new staff, new coordinators and one game of empirical data. (Its) not enough to have you hang your hat on (or) have a good idea of what you're going to see," Fitzgerald said.

Unlike the Orange, the Wildcats are largely still intact from last season's squad, the same one that collected 10 wins, including a 34-20 victory over Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Fitzgerald has certainly done quite a job in turning the Wildcats around as they opened the season in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001. Northwestern backed up the honor by posting a 44-30 win on the road over the feisty Golden Bears in the opener.

Designed by Marrone and Hackett and led by Nassib, the Orange offense was an impressive one last season, ranking 17th nationally in yards per game (476). The first time out under Shafer, Allen didn't look nearly the same. The Orange managed to pick up just 260 yards of total offense in the loss to Penn State. Syracuse also only picked up 11 first downs, averaging just 3.5 yards per play.

Allen has some huge shoes to fill, taking over for Nassib, who smashed a number of Syracuse passing records. Allen didn't exactly get off to the best of starts. The former Oklahoma signal caller did connect on his first four passes but in total, completed just 16-of-37 pass attempts for 189 yards with two interceptions.

"I went out there and ultimately we wanted to win, I wanted to win. I don't want to win for myself; I want to win for (Coach Shafer), and all those guys in the blue and orange," Allen said of his mind set going into his first start. "We came up short. Luckily its game one and we have 11 more to go guaranteed and we are going to learn from today."

Partial blame could be put on the receiving corps which was also largely made of newcomers with Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales gone from last year's unit. Ashton Broyld was the most consistent as he had four receptions for 46 yards, while Jeremiah Kobena made an impression with his only reception of the game which went for 55 yards.

Where the Orange are supposed to have strength is in the running game. However, with just 71 yards rushing it is difficult to say that the Orange were strong in that phase. Returning starter Jerome Smith rushed for 73 yards and two scores but Prince-Tyson Gulley, considered a change of pace from Smith's straight-ahead style, struggled with just 24 yards on 12 carries.

Even though the offense didn't provide much in terms of production, Shafer did get a solid effort out of his defense. The Orange allowed 353 yards of total offense. Syracuse made up for its lousy rushing numbers by dominating the line of scrimmage on defense and holding Penn State to just 1.5 yards per carry. In fact the Nittany Lions had just 57 yards on the ground. Syracuse had seven tackles for loss as a team and also kept Penn State honest in the passing game with a pair of interceptions.

Cameron Lynch made plays all over the field with a team-high 10 tackles, one for loss and a pass breakup. Defensive leader Marquis Spruill had six tackles and a sack, while Jeremi Wilkes and Robert Welsh matched Spruill's tackle total, while colleting interceptions. Brandon Reddish had five tackles and forced and recovered a fumble

Even though Northwestern topped California, the Wildcats took what could be some significant losses. Starting quarterback Kain Colter was taken out of the game after just two plays with a concussion. Meanwhile 1,300-yard rusher Venric Mark didn't see a ton of time due to an injury to his leg. Both are vital components of the Wildcats' offense but are still listed as day to day.

The good news, if there is any, is that the replacements for each played extremely well. Trevor Siemian completed 10 of his first 11 pass attempts and finished the game with 276 yards and a touchdown, though he did have two interceptions.

Treyvon Green was used more in the running game than Mark, and had 129 yards on 16 carries, scoring two touchdowns. That type of production may be difficult to replicate but if Mark continues to be hobbled, it will be vital that Green get the job done.

The fleet of receivers for the Wildcats produced at a high level. Dan Vitale was one of three players with five receptions, while totaling a team-high 101 yards. Christian Jones (94 yards) and Tony Jones (70 yards, TD) pitched in as well.

The defense also took a hit from an injury standpoint, when cornerback Daniel Jones hurt his left knee with just 20 seconds left in the game. Jones is set to have surgery and will be out for the rest of the year.

Without Jones the Wildcats will need to continue to play well in pass coverage, an area they struggled with against California's pass-heavy offense. Northwestern allowed 455 of the 548 yards it surrendered through the air in the contest, though the team did force three interceptions. Collin Ellis was the most disruptive defender as he broke up three passes and intercepted two, both of which he returned for scores. Chi Chi Ariguzo had a team-high 10 tackles and Tyler Scott had one of five sacks.

It remains to be seen whether Colter and Mark will be playing on Saturday. That type of uncertainty will hurt later on once the Big Ten schedule starts up. Luckily that isn't for a few weeks. For now Siemian and Green should be fine filling in against a Syracuse team that is still trying to find an identity.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northwestern 31, Syracuse 17

09/04 10:45:10 ET

Other Stories

  • NFL: Chicago at Detroit

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Friday at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
3rd
CHA 74
POR 78
 
2nd
NCSU 70
RICH 66
 
2nd
FLA 1
CAR 0
 
3rd
PHI 67
BRK 72
 
3rd
ORL 63
GSW 84
 
3rd
CHA 74
POR 78
 
3rd
CLE 70
WAS 59
 
Half
DET 51
LAC 48
 
Half
DAL 46
NYK 42
 
Half
ATL 61
TOR 64
 
2nd
MIN 33
MIL 36
 
2nd
HOU 43
SAC 21
 
2nd
OKC 33
UTA 34
 
1st
SAN 4
IND 2
 
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
DEN
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
 
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
 
2nd
COL 61
GTDNS 66
 
2nd
VERM 71
BRY 44
 
2nd
OSU 81
CAMP 54
 
2nd
LOU 38
CLST 33
 
2nd
UCF 64
DAVID 92
 
2nd
IONA 119
DELST 65
 
2nd
OU 70
UGST 78
 
2nd
TOWS 87
GOUCHER 36
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
2nd
YALE 70
LAF 55
 
2nd
GWU 58
LONG 43
 
2nd
VT 60
UMO 35
 
2nd
WAKE 69
MNTER 35
 
2nd
NAVY 60
PSUHARRIS 42
 
2nd
NCSU 70
RICH 66
 
2nd
MINN 55
STJ 53
 
2nd
JVU 65
TRINBAPT 55
 
2nd
YOUNG 52
UMKC 50
 
2nd
UAB 34
WISC 62
 
2nd
CORN 47
CAN 39
 
Half
WVU 53
VMI 35
 
1st
DEP 24
LEH 33
 
1st
UNT 36
MVSU 27
 
1st
MARS 27
MORE 39
 
1st
TCU 23
RAD 18
 
1st
SELA 34
TENT 44
 
1st
SMU 28
TXSOU 15
 
1st
UTAH 37
TXPA 21
 
1st
LMU 17
UCR 27
 
1st
SCAR 34
UNCA 29
 
1st
SD 36
WAYNEST 30
 
1st
PITT 23
KYST 20
 
1st
UWGB 9
FLGC 0
 
1st
IOWA 7
NILL 6
 
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
AUB
9:00pm Tonight
MONT
CARROLLMT
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
EKENT
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
STET
 
9:05pm Tonight
EWASH
NKENTUCKY
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
GEOR
UF
9:30pm Tonight
GONZ
UGA
9:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
NW
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
ARZ
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UTST
10:30pm Tonight
NDAK
ALAST
11:00pm Tonight
CSNO
PORST
11:30pm Tonight
AKAN
PAC
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
2nd Intermission
NYI 2
WAS 2
 
2nd Intermission
BUF 0
WIN 2
 
2nd
FLA 1
CAR 0
 
2nd
TAM 2
NYR 2
 
2nd
DET 1
PHI 1
 
2nd
PIT 2
TOR 0
 
1st
MIN 0
LOS 3
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CAL