Following a tough two-game swing through Florida, Syracuse returns home Saturday to take on Wake Forest in a key contest for both teams’ postseason hopes. The Orange need two wins to become bowl-eligible, while the Demon Deacons are one victory away.
Syracuse lost at Miami (Fla.) and Florida State in its last two games, dropping the two competitive contests by a combined 11 points. Quarterback Eric Dungey banged up his foot and ankle against the Seminoles but should be ready to play against Wake Forest. “He’s going to have to take it easy,” Orange coach Dino Babers said regarding Dungey’s practicing this week. “He’s not going to be able to do all the work. He’s got a lot of game experience. We’ll just practice the other guys. He’ll be ready to go. ... Him healthy is our best opportunity to win.” The Demon Deacons battled at Notre Dame last week before falling 48-37 for their fourth loss in five games.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, RSN. LINE: Pick’em
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (5-4, 2-3 ACC): The Demon Deacons rank in the top 50 nationally in points for and points against, but they have only won one game this season in which they scored fewer than 34 points or given up more than 19 points. John Wolford, a four-year starter at quarterback, has a crisp 17-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has only been sacked nine times after going down 33 times last season. Alex Bachman, who entered last week’s game with four catches on the season, caught eight balls for 116 yards and a score versus the Fighting Irish.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (4-5, 2-3): The Orange got three touchdowns from Dungey (two passing, one rushing), but it wasn’t enough to defeat the Seminoles - the second straight tight loss for Syracuse since upsetting No. 2 Clemson. Senior wideout Steve Ishmael has 986 receiving yards - fifth in the nation - and posted 12 catches for a career-high 143 yards against Florida State. Dontae Strickland followed up a 105-yard rushing effort at Miami - his season high - with a 20-yard effort against Florida State, his second-lowest rushing total of the year.
1. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson used to coach at Bowling Green. After he left, the school hired Babers to replace him.
2. Wake Forest S Jessie Bates (knee) missed the Notre Dame game and is questionable to face Syracuse.
3. Wolford ran for two touchdowns in last season’s 28-9 victory against the Orange.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 27, Wake Forest 21