Beat writers predict unanimous result in Syracuse’s season-opener at Western Michigan

first_img Published on August 31, 2018 at 3:08 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Syracuse begins its season Friday at 6 p.m. at Western Michigan. The Broncos are coached by former Syracuse offensive coordinator Tim Lester, who led WMU to the 25th-best scoring offense in the NCAA (33.9 points per game). In two games against Power 5 opponents last year, though, Western Michigan allowed 77 total points.Here’s what our beat writers picked as the outcome of the game.Andrew Graham (0-0)That winning feelingSyracuse 38, Western Michigan 31Familiarity. That’s the word that comes to mind as Syracuse travels to play Western Michigan this weekend. Short of the venue, so much is recognizable for the Orange. Syracuse has established faces at quarterback, running back, the offensive and defensive lines and the secondary. Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester recruited several Syracuse players, including Eric Dungey. Players seem certain they’ll be defending the Broncos zone blocking scheme and outside run game. And, like it always does, the first game will start providing answers to SU’s questions — Who will establish themselves at receiver? And how capable is the new linebacker core? If those answers are positive, turnovers are limited and the injury bug doesn’t hit, the Orange should have enough firepower to outlast the Broncos. Heading into the home opener, Syracuse should hope that winning feeling grows familiar.Matt Liberman (0-0)Taming Broncos Syracuse 28, Western Michigan 21AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRemember two seasons ago when Western Michigan played in the Cotton Bowl and Syracuse finished the season 4-8. The Broncos boasted the 19th-ranked offense in the country en route to an undefeated regular season. Times have changed in Kalamazoo and in Syracuse. That 19th-ranked Broncos offense fell to 78th last season. Meanwhile, Syracuse has improved in the trenches this season, which will likely play an important role in this game. If SU’s offensive line can give Eric Dungey time in the pocket to be the playmaker that he is, Syracuse will likely get the job done on the road. Questions certainly loom for the Orange — at wide receiver and at linebacker — but veteran units on both fronts will propel Syracuse to a win in this game. Tim Lester recruited Dungey, he knows how dangerous the senior quarterback can be.Josh Schafer (0-0)Hot startSyracuse 35, Western Michigan 31If Syracuse is to make a bowl game, which my preseason record indicates, it needs to win games like Western Michigan on the road. That’s not to say this is will be a cake walk for the Orange. Western Michigan and former Syracuse offensive coordinator Tim Lester will plan to run the football. A lot. The bad news for SU fans: WMU ran for 700 more yards than it threw last season. Couple that with a entirely new linebacking core for the Orange and things don’t look great. But the Broncos lost their all-time leading rusher in Jarvion Franklin from a year ago, leaving its running back position a question mark headed into the season. With Syracuse’s emphasis on play count, the Orange can dictate the pace of play. An early lead can limit WMU’s choice in running the football and lead SU to a win.last_img