Syracuse faces NC State in top-20 showdown at the Loudhouse
Syracuse faces NC State in top-20 showdown at the Loud House
Syracuse football is just two days away from a top-20 showdown against a veteran NC State team. Over 45,000 tickets have already sold for the 3:30 p.m. matchup at the Loud House.
The No. 18 ranked Orange are coming off a much-needed bye week, helping the team recover from injuries sustained in the first half of this season and giving the Orange more time to prepare for the No. 15 ranked NC State. For Sean Tucker, the bye allowed him to get extra reps in, study film and, most importantly, heal. Tucker is coming off a strong performance against Wagner in which he rushed for 232 yards and scored three touchdowns.
NC State will be a formidable challenge for Tucker and the Orange. They arrive in Central New York with a 5-1 record at rank 15 in the AP Poll. There is some uncertainty surrounding the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback Devin Leary after he injured his shoulder and left the game in the third quarter of last week’s win against Florida State.
Graduate transfer Jack Chambers is in line to start if Leary does miss Saturday’s game. Before coming to NC State, Chambers spent four years at Charleston Southern, throwing 40 touchdown passes and 29 interceptions. Despite a running attack being a safer choice with a quarterback change, expect NC State to incorporate some RPO and play action sets for Chambers to try to throw against the Orange.
Syracuse junior linebacker Mikel Jones celebrated his 22nd birthday on Tuesday. Despite this, he said he was focused on the task at hand against NC State, and he’s confident in his team’s chances to win the game Saturday afternoon.
“Just play our best defense. It’s more focused on us practicing well, preparing well, and just playing our best,” Jones said. “I feel like once we play our best, there’s not a lot of teams that can hang with us.’’
Jones said this would only be the second most important game of his football career. His biggest game he ever played was in high school, when his team at IMG Academy in Florida, ranked No. 1 in the country at the time, took on the No. 3 ranked Mater Dei High School out of California. IMG lost the heavyweight bout 28-24, but Jones made his presence known. He hopes to make the same impact against NC State while producing a win for the team.
“I feel like everybody’s on the same page, and we’ve got good senior leadership,” Jones said. “Now that’s me, that’s, Garrett (Williams), that’s Garrett Shrader, Matthew (Bergeron). There are a lot of things that went on during the off-season that you could just tell. It’s going to be a good team just by how the leaders move; everyone’s close together.”
Jones and the Orange look to improve their record to 6-0 Saturday at the JMA Wireless Dome at 3:30 p.m.