Passing yards should be aplenty Saturday when Syracuse hosts Central Michigan in a non-conference affair. The Orange rank 25th in the nation in passing yards per game, while the Chippewas are 13th in the country and proved last week that they can win on the road against a power conference team.
Syracuse is coming off a disappointing seven-point home loss to Middle Tennessee despite another huge game from Steve Ishmael. The senior receiver leads the nation in catches (26) and has racked up 250 receiving yards through two games. Meanwhile, Central Michigan defeated Kansas 45-27 last weekend behind Shane Morris, who threw for 467 yards and five touchdowns without a turnover. “A lot of people didn’t think we were going to win,” Morris said. “So coming out there and us beating a power five team ... I think that shows a lot about us.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra. LINE: Syracuse -10
ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2-0): The Chippewas have a solid offensive attack led by Morris (693 yards, six TD passes), Jonathan Ward (206 rushing yards) and Mark Chapman (256 receiving yards, three TDs). They also have been opportunistic defensively, recording a national-best eight interceptions despite allowing 27 points in each of their first two games. Corey Willis is another cause for concern for Syracuse, as he leads Central Michigan in catches (16 for 183 yards) and is coming off a dynamic season in which he racked up 71 catches for 1,087 yards and nine touchdowns.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (1-1): Ishmael is having a fine season to this point, but he still needs to make his way into the end zone - a problem last year as well - as he has totaled 74 catches and only one TD since the start of 2016. Ishmael tied a Syracuse record with 14 catches last week but totaled a relatively modest 116 yards as he and the entire team struggled with drops. Eric Dungey has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and also leads the team in rushing yards (104) and touchdowns (three).
1. Syracuse is the only team in the nation with two receivers with 140 career catches. Ervin Philips (147) and Steve Ishmael (140) rank second and third on the school’s all-time list.
2. Opponents are 4-for-27 on third downs against the Orange.
3. Syracuse defeated Central Michigan 30-27 in overtime in 2015 to improve to 3-0 in the all-time series.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 33, Central Michigan 30