After a surprising 31-7 win as five-point underdogs at home to ACC opponent Louisville in Week 1, the Syracuse Orange head to East Hartford, Connecticut to face former Big East rival Connecticut in their first non-conference and road game of the 2022 season.
Syracuse’s Offense and Defense Shined Against Louisville
After getting blown out by Louisville three-straight times, the Orange (1-0, 1-0 ACC) turned the table on the Cardinals, cruising to a 31-7 victory last Saturday at the JMA Wireless Dome.
Running back Sean Tucker ran 21 times for an even 100 yards and a score, and he also caught six balls for 84 yards, including this 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Quarterback Garrett Schrader took care of the ball much better, going 18 for 25 with 236 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran 16 times for 94 yards and another TD.
Defensively, Syracuse held Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham to just 152 yards passing and forced him into two interceptions. Cunningham also fumbled twice, losing one.
“It was a complete win. We left it all out there,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said after the game. “You’ve got 105 guys in [the locker room] that are just elated.”
Among those elated were new offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck, who were hired from conference rival Virginia to jump-start the offense, and the early returns were extremely positive.
UConn Has a Win–but Still a Long Way to Go
Connecticut (1-1) is an independent team now, so they are able to pick their own football schedule. This year, it includes a home game against former Big East rival Syracuse, but the teams are mostly known for their college basketball battles.
The Huskies had just one win last year, a 21-15 win over Ivy League squad Yale. They played two “Power 5” conference teams and two AAC teams and lost by at least 28 in three of those four games (the outlier was a 30-28 loss at Vanderbilt).
This year, UConn lost to Utah State in the opener 31-20 before defeating Central Connecticut 28-3 last week.
It’s early in new head coach Jim Mora Jr.’s run, but the defense has been better than it was a year ago. Still, the Orange are heavy favorites on the road this week.
Here are the odds from BetMGM for Saturday’s game.
UConn allowed just three points to overmatched Central Connecticut last week, so that skews defensive stats in their favor, but the Huskies still allowed an average of 170 rushing yards in their two games this year, which Tucker may feast on for the Orange.
The Huskies, however, have not defeated a Division 1 FBS school since UMass in 2019 and last beat a “Power 5” conference school in 2016 when it edged Virginia 13-10.
It’s tough to get a read on Syracuse and not get too high on them after a one-week sample size, but expect their confidence to be high and have a great chance at covering the large spread.
Prediction: Syracuse, 35-10