The Syracuse Orange kick off the start of their 2022 campaign with a matchup against former Big East rival Lousiville Saturday night.
Dino Babers, entering his seventh season as the head coach of the Orange, will look to improve on a disappointing 5-7 season that was highlighted by a 41-3 blowout loss to Louisville last year.
In 2022, the Orange are looking for payback and an opening day victory at home for the first time since 2017.
We have everything you need to right here on the Orange and Cardinals matchup before kick-off Saturday night.
Syracuse Orange vs. Lousiville Cardinals
When: Saturday, September 3rd, 8:00 pm – ET
Where: JMA Wireless Dome, Syracuse University
How to Watch: ACC Network
Louisville leads the all-time record against Syracuse 13-7 and is coming off a dynamic 41-3 win in 2021.
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham tallied four touchdowns in the blowout victory and the Orange defense will need to finally figure out a way to stop the lethal dual-threat.
The Orange’s defense wasn’t bad in 2021 though. Ranked second in the ACC, and 19th in the nation in yards allowed, the lone struggle against Cunningham was an outlier the team will need to solve on Saturday.
On offense, Syracuse has a rich history of runningbacks. Floyd Little, Larry Csonka, Jim Brown, and Ernie Davis all had major success for the Orange. Yet it’s the current rusher that has stood tall above all the rest.
Sean Tucker set the single-season rushing record last season for the Orange (1,496 yards) and the offense will look to him again to lead the way.
Keys to the Game
Keep Cuningham in the pocket
Cunningham totaled close to 4,000 yards of offense and 39 touchdowns last season. He became the second quarterback in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. With any major dual-threat quarterback like Cunningham, keeping him in the pocket will be the top key for the Syracuse defense. It’s easier said than done, but Syracuse won’t match up well if that’s the case.
Take Tucker to the House
If the Orange want to win on Saturday, Sean Tucker must be the catalyst for the offense. In last season’s matchup, Tucker ran for 95 yards on 19 carries. It’s of paramount importance that Tucker gets 25+ carries and keeps Cunningham off the field throughout the contest to give their defense a fighting chance. Like any difficult matchup, if you keep a quarterback on the sideline, chances are you’ll win the game.
Offense must adapt
While Tucker will be a major point of emphasis for a team that had improved offensive line work, the offense as a whole must increase their passing production in 2022. New offensive coordinator Robert Anae will look to get more out of transfer Garrett Shrader in the passing offense. In the modern game, and especially against a top offense like Louisville, the passing attack must be good enough to match the high levels of scoring.
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