Syracuse football: 5 keys for the Orange against Wake Forest

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 11, 2015 at 4:38 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Syracuse takes on Wake Forest in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday after thrashing Rhode Island 47-0 last week. Here are five keys to the game.For the rest of The Daily Orange’s coverage of the Orange and the Demon Deacons, click here.1. Eric DungeyEntering the summer, Dungey expected to redshirt. But after winning the backup quarterback job in training camp, he became SU’s “next man up.” He went 10-for-17 with 114 yards and two touchdowns last week against Rhode Island. But now he faces an ACC opponent for the first time. While a portion of Syracuse fans believe Dungey will provide a better option than Hunt he’s unproven and is just months removed from his high school days.2. Ben LewisAdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith sophomore hybrid Ervin Philips being ruled out for Saturday’s game, junior hybrid Lewis has a chance to emerge as a difference-maker for Syracuse. Against Rhode Island, Lewis only had one catch for -1 yards and one reception for 16 yards. Philips missed the second half last week, but still Lewis didn’t contribute much.The converted wide receiver lined up approximately 12 times in the slot and nine times on the wing in SU’s Fan Fest scrimmage in August. Considering Saturday will be freshman quarterback Dungey’s first career start, Lewis could provide a safe option underneath on crossing patterns.3. Third downsAgainst Rhode Island, Syracuse set the tempo by going 11-of-19 on third downs while the Rams converted just 1-of-11. In what is expected to be a defensive matchup, the team that can move the chains more often will be able to establish a rhythm. In last year’s matchup — a 30-7 SU victory — Syracuse won the third-down battle with a 47.4-percent conversion rate while the Demon Deacons moved the chains on just 20 percent of third downs.4. Field positionWake Forest punter Alex Kinal was named to the ACC’s second team after last season. He averaged 43.6 yards per punt and went 81 straight without a touchback in 2014. Meanwhile, SU’s Riley Dixon averaged 43.4 yards per punt last season. Neither offense includes much explosiveness so the most exciting fireworks might come on fourth down, meaning Kinal and Dixon could play significant roles.5. Staying healthyUntil Syracuse can make it through a game without losing two of its most important players, this will still be a key. Terrel Hunt was SU’s most important player heading into the season and less than eight minutes into the season opener his year was over. At the start of training camp, head coach Scott Shafer called last year, “one hell of a freakish year of injuries.” He changed the practice format to help players’ bodies, but still, it’s only Week 2 and Syracuse has to overcome losing two of its top three offensive playmakers. Commentslast_img read more