Syracuse at Boston College: Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense

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Nov 22, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback AJ Long (4) pitches the ball on an option play against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense: Stat Analysis

Syracuse does not take a huge number of sacks, but otherwise, their list of offensive accomplishments is remote. They don’t move the football, they don’t convert third downs, and most importantly, they don’t score. The Orange are similar in that regard to the Wake Forest offense the Eagles saw earlier this season, or Boston College’s own offense a few years ago.

In an eye-opening stat, Syracuse has only six touchdown passes all season on 363 attempts. For purposes of comparison, Boston College has ten on 206 attempts.

Meanwhile, the thing that stands out the most about the Eagle defense is that stopping the run is back up to the exceptional levels it once saw in years past. Number six in the country is a pretty good place to be, but here’s the funny thing: it still isn’t the best in the ACC (Louisville’s is better).

This is not to say that Boston College’s defense does not have vulnerabilities, because it does, and Eagles fans know what they are. It will suffice to say that the Eagle blitzes must work if they are going to limit damage done to the secondary.

Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense: Key Matchup

QB AJ Long vs. the pass rush. Chances are Syracuse is going to be ineffective running the ball and could be held to a low number there. Long is going to have to win this thing through the air for his offense, but that has been a tricky proposition. He has four touchdowns and seven interceptions in five games this season; outside of the Wake game where the Orange won big, he has been just below mediocre.

If the Eagles pass rush pressures him, the Orange are probably not going anywhere. If he is actually successful in beating the blitz, this game could require more work than the Eagles expected.

Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense: BC Names to Know

• Senior LB Josh Keyes is still having a fine year, now leading the Eagles in TFL (10.5) and sacks (4).
• Sophomore DE Kevin Kavalec’s name is getting called much more lately, and he has helped hold the pass rush together in Mehdi Abdesmad’s absence.
• Grad CB Ty-Meer Brown had a big interception of Jameis Winston last week and now has 35 tackles on the season.

Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense: Syracuse Names to Know

• Senior RB Prince-Tyson Gulley leads the Orange with 582 rushing yards on the season but has one touchdown (Terrel Hunt, the injured QB, still leads the team with six).
• Senior WR Jarrod West leads in receiving yards with 655, though he has no touchdowns.
• WR Steve Ishmael, however, leads Syracuse with three receiving TDs.

Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense: Final Analysis

Only on very limited occasions have the Orange played well on offense this season. With Boston College’s defense having had a good season overall, this is probably not going to be one of those games.

Stranger things have happened, of course, like a middling Syracuse coming to Alumni Stadium in 2004 and demolishing our chances of a Big East championship. It is for that reason that we must always be wary, but if Boston College does what they are supposed to do on Saturday, Syracuse is going to be very limited and will need big assists from special teams and defense to win the field position battle.

Syracuse Offense vs. BC Defense: Boston College favored