Syracuse Orange Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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Syracuse Orange Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Syracuse season with what you need to know and keys to the season.

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Syracuse Orange Preview
Head Coach: Dino Babers, 29-43, 7th year at Syracuse
11th year overall, 66-59, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 5-7, Conference: 2-6
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Syracuse Top 10 Players | Syracuse Schedule & Analysis

Syracuse Orange Preview 2022

It’s possible to win college football games at Syracuse.

It’s been done before, and head coach Dino Babers is adaptive enough and innovative enough to make it happen, but …

It would be nice if there was finally some positive consistency.

Syracuse was a productive program at a fairly high level from 1987 to 2001, it got stuck in a dry spell without a winning season from 2002 to 2009, and it’s been a fight to find a good groove ever since.

Head coach Dino Babers was able to come up with one magical season in 2018 with a 10-3 run and a nice bowl victory, but again with the consistency – there isn’t any, and it’s made it hard to build over his run with a 29-43 record.

As Wake Forest and Pitt proved, it’s possible to win in the ACC if there’s a set style to rely on.

Syracuse went from cranking away with a high-octane passing attack when Babers first took over, to sputtering as it tried to recreate the magic behind an offensive line that couldn’t block, to being a physical ground-and-pound team last year.

The biggest sticking point has been that O line. Babers has never been able to get it quite right, and everything else has been a struggle from there.

This season he’s got a good group of skill parts, the defense that was quietly solid should be terrific if the line doesn’t get gouged, and the veteran kickers are better than they played in 2021.

And now the identity is probably going to change yet again with an even faster tempo and the hope to push the passing game a bit more. It all has to come together fast over the first half of the year, or else – the second half of the schedule is a nightmare.

However, Babers was able to come through when he had to in 2018, he was able to improve the program by four wins last season, and now he’ll need to come up with his best run yet to secure yet another year.

Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Syracuse Top 10 Players | Syracuse Schedule & Analysis

Syracuse Orange Preview 2022: Offense, Defense NEXT

Syracuse Orange Preview 2022: Offense

That got interesting. Syracuse found something that worked for a while with a running game that turned into the best in the ACC. That came at the expense of the passing attack that all but stopped, and the offense overall only ended up averaging 372 yards and 25 points per game, but there’s a good mix of parts returning.

New offensive coordinator Robert Anae is going to make sure this thing goes fast, and there should be a little balance with more of a passing game into the equation. Now, what seemed like a settled situation is about to make for a fun fall camp because …

Is Garrett Shrader the guy? The former Mississippi State quarterback didn’t fit in with the Mike Leach style, and he found a home at Syracuse, using his tough running style to come up with 781 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had his moments through the air, but he only hit 53% of his passes with 1,445 yards and nine touchdowns.

Tommy DeVito is gone to Illinois, and rising up this offseason was Justin Lamson, a good young passer who might be a wee bit better a fit with Anae wants to do.

The receiving corps was really young, and a few of the parts took off with the shift to the ground-oriented attack, but Courtney Jackson is still around after leading the team with 37 catches, and Damien Alford is back after averaging over 19 yards per grab.

No matter what the passing game does, the star of the show is …

Sean Tucker deserves to be in the discussion among the best running backs in college football. The 5-10, 209-pound sophomore ran for close to 1,500 yards with 12 touchdowns averaging over six yards per pop. He took over games with nine 100-yard outings.

Tucker and Shrader handled most of the rushing work, and second-leading running back Jarveon Howard is off to Alcorn State after running for just 79 yards. In comes Juwaun Price, a quick back from New Mexico State who ran for 692 yards and ten scores last year to go along with 26 catches.

The offensive line still has issues in pass protection after years of getting quarterbacks killed, but there’s experience, great size, and a good left tackle in Matthew Bergeron to blast away.

Syracuse Orange Preview 2022: Defense

The defense struggled late, but overall it finished second in the ACC behind Clemson. It allowed 330 yards and 26 points per game, doing a nice job stopping the run against everyone but Florida State and Virginia Tech, and holding up reasonably well against the great ACC bombers.

The pass rush was terrific, averaging over three per game and getting constant pressure. Top sacker Cody Roscoe is done, but the heat should come from several spots starting with the linebacking combination of Stefon Thompson and Marlowe Wax. These two combined for 11 sacks, with four more coming from leading tackler Mikel Johnson on the inside to go along with his 110 stops.

The front three is very young, and very green. This is a small, quick group that’s missing the Coke machine on the nose to stop everything up, but there will be a rotation that keeps moving.

The secondary loses some good parts, but Garrett Williams is a broken up pass machine at one corner, Darian Chestnut led the team with three picks on the other side, and on the way are Alijah Clark from Rutgers and Bralyn Oliver from Louisville to step in at safety.

Syracuse 2022 Preview | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Syracuse Top 10 Players | Syracuse Schedule & Analysis

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Syracuse Orange: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

Syracuse Orange: Key To The 2022 Offense

Be a whole lot better on third downs.

It didn’t make any sense. The running game was among the best in the nation and was the strongest in the ACC, it featured two battering rams in RB Sean Tucker and QB Garrett Shrader – who went to the Tim Tebow school of power running – and yet the Orange couldn’t seem to ever convert on a big third down.

On the year the offense concerted just 33% of its chances, and it died down the stretch in the three-game losing streak to close things out – that put too much pressure and stress on the D.

Syracuse went 5-2 when it connected 30% or more of its chances and was 0-5 when it didn’t.

Syracuse Orange: Key To The 2022 Defense

Where are the takeaways?

The 2020 Syracuse defense wasn’t anything special, but it managed to generate 24 takeaways with two or more coming eight times. The 2019 defense forced 25 turnovers, and that’s after the 2019 D came up with 31.

How many turnovers did the 2021 Syracuse defense force?

Seven.

There was one lone interception coming over the last seven games, and the loss to Florida State was the only time the defense forced two takeaways.

Syracuse Orange: Key Player To The 2022 Season

DT Terry Lockett, Soph.
The Orange are going through a wholesale change on the front three, and there isn’t any size to count on. They need a defensive tackle to hold up on the nose and be active enough to be some sort of a factor against the run.

The 6-3, 264-pound Lockett made 12 tackles and two sacks as a reserve. He’s hardly a big body for the interior, but he can move.

Syracuse Orange: Key Transfer

RB Juwaun Price, Soph.
The running game already has two stars in Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader to carry the load, but the more help Tucker can get from the other running backs, the better.

In comes Price as a do-it-all back from New Mexico State to be more than just a fill-in.

He ran for 222 yards and a score in just two games in 2020, and last season he averaged over five yards per carry with 692 yards and ten touchdowns, caught 26 passes, and left Las Cruces averaging over 23 yards per kickoff return.

Syracuse Key Game To The 2022 Season

Louisville, Sept. 3
The Orange got steamrolled by the Cardinals late in the year. Nothing worked in the 41-3 loss, and things weren’t all that much better in the 30-0 clunker in 2020.

There were the 56 points the Orange gave up in the 2019 loss. The 56-10 barnburner in 2017, 62-28 thriller in 2016, and 41-17 squeaker in 2017 weren’t without a certain charm.

Yes, Syracuse won in 2018, but it also got dropped 28-6 in 2014 as part of a brutal run of seven annihilations in the last eight games against a Louisville program seems to know how to roll in this series.

Open up the season with a home win, and the Orange can change everything and start 2-0 with a trip to UConn to follow.

Syracuse Orange: 2021 Fun Stats

– Opponent 1st Quarter Scoring: 37 – Opponent 2nd Quarter Scoring: 132
– Penalties: Syracuse 84 for 692 yards – Opponents 56 for 535 yards
– Field Goals: Opponents 19-of-22 – Syracuse 9-of-14

Syracuse 2022 Preview
Offense, Defense Breakdown
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Syracuse Top 10 Players | Syracuse Schedule & Analysis

Syracuse Orange Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

Syracuse Orange Season Prediction, What Will Happen

On the plus side, going 5-7 in 2021 was a huge improvement after the 1-10 2020 disaster.

There’s too much experience and talent on offense to be as bad over the second half of the season like last year’s version was, and the defense should be fine once the line finds the right rotation.

This is hardly a perfect team, and it’s going to be tinkering a bit too much considering there’s a fantastic running game in place to work around, but it’s desperation time. Dino Babers needs a big season, and he and the staff will pull out all the stops.

The problem is a schedule that isn’t going to help the cause.

Set The Syracuse Orange Regular Season Win Total At … 5

Not getting Duke or Georgia Tech from the Coastal hurts, but missing Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech isn’t a bad thing.

Clemson is almost certainly a loss no matter what, so that might as well be on the road. That isn’t the problem – the date with NC State before and having to play Notre Dame right after is the issue.

After that brutal three game stretch is a November with three road games in the final four dates, and none of them – Pitt, Wake Forest, Boston College – will be easy.

That means the Orange have to beat Louisville to start the season. they have to take out UConn and Wagner without a problem, and they need to come up with a few key home wins against – possibly – Virginia and Florida State.

And even with all of that, the team has to come up with something it just can’t seem to do on a regular basis under Babers – win a few games it’s not supposed to.

It’ll work its way to five wins, but for the second time in three years, getting the sixth will be way too tough.

Syracuse 2022 Preview
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Syracuse Top 10 Players | Syracuse Schedule & Analysis

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Story originally appeared on College Football News