The revival of the rivalry between Syracuse and Rutgers is approaching us. The two teams have not played since 2012, in which Rutgers defeated Syracuse, 23-15. With the Dome now open to fans for the first time since 2019, the Orange have a lot to look forward to. The focus of the Orange can go from rivalry to playing in front of fans for the first time since 2019, and the numerous options the Rutgers offense has. It is essential that Syracuse hone in on the game and the game only. There is a lot of noise around this game in the Syracuse community and to get distracted or lost in the midst of activities at Syracuse University could be a factor. However, coming off a win against Ohio the Orange are looking to do it again.
Limit Explosive Plays
Although the momentum is with the Orange going into the Dome, it is important the pendulum never swings back. With the amount of skilled positions Rutgers have that can contribute in all three phases of the game, the Orange must contain them. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers used terms like “explosive” and “hard to go get,” when describing the Scarlet Knights skill positions. With a wide array and too many to name, the Orange have a lot to focus on. However, a player on Rutgers such as Aron Cruickshank provides a spark on offense and in the return game which the Orange cannot afford. Also, Johnny Langan's impact on this game for Rutgers can determine whether this game is a slow waning run battle or if Rutgers will be forced to pass more than it would like. The secondary and linebackers from the Orange have to start off hot and play the entire game this way.
Win the Turnover Battle
In last week's game against Ohio, the Orange forced one turnover at the end of the game. The turnover came at the expense of “Duce” Chestnut catching a one hand interception with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Look for the Orange to ramp up in creating turnovers this week against Rutgers. Rutgers has a wide array of “weapons” on offense however having so many “weapons” can be a disadvantage as well. Having so many weapons can backfire on you and eventually take away from your offensive production if you forget what your foundation is. Rutgers destroyed Temple last week, 61-14, thanks in large part to five forced turnovers. In doing so, they rushed for 220 yards incorporating nine different people in the rushing attack. The Orange stopped the run last week but look for Rutgers to test this Syracuse run defense again. If the Orange can stop the run and make Rutgers pass the ball the game will come down to the secondary and their ability to create turnovers.
Score 21 or more
With Syracuse scoring 29 points last week against Ohio, the offense took a step in the right direction in putting points on the scoreboard. However, the way the Orange scored was primarily by running the ball which may be a challenge with Rutgers linebacker, Olakunle Fatukasi. Fatukasi recorded 9 tackles, 4 tackles for loss including 3 sacks, and one forced fumble against Temple. This is quite the stat line for 2021 Nagurski, Butkus, and Bednarik Preseason Award List Nominee. His presence on defense may force the Orange to adjust their highly touted rushing attack from the week prior. Look for Taj Harris and Anthony Queeley to be more involved this week. Rutgers will attempt to stop the running game forcing DeVito to pass. If this happens, DeVito has to be phenomenal in the pass game.