Orangeyes Daily Articles for Thursday - for Football | Syracusefan.com

Orangeyes Daily Articles for Thursday for Football

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Welcome to World Sight Day!

World Sight Day is an international day of awareness that focuses attention on the global issue of eye health and aims to eliminate blindness and visual impairment. Individuals think about the importance of their own eye health, but particular focus is put on the eye health of those living in developing countries, where an overwhelming majority of those with blindness live. World Sight Day was created in 1998 by Lions Club International with the goals of eradicating reversible and preventable blindness and encouraging people to have eye exams regularly. It is also known as Lions World Sight Day, a name that was most frequently used early on.

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Caleb Okuchukwu's family and financial struggles molded the defensive end to where he is now


'A full circle moment': Caleb Okechukwu's past struggles have paid off (DO; Cirino)

The crowd at Fernandez Stadium stood up for Caleb Okechukwu, St. John’s College (DC) High School’s final senior day honoree. As the leader in sacks among the 2017 Cadets, Okechukwu was about to lead the defensive line against Dematha Catholic High School (MD) for a chance to clinch a playoff berth.

For Okechukwu, there was a greater emotional weight to the pregame ceremony. It was the first time the Okechukwu family had been together at an event in four years since Okechukwu lost his mother, Kate, to breast cancer in 2013.

The family had just started to heal before Senior Day, said Josh, Okechukwu’s older brother. Josh took a year off of community college football to support his family that year. The family dynamic wasn’t the same and his father, Iweogu Okechukwu, needed help raising his five other siblings alone.

Which was why Okechukwu stepping onto the field ahead of St. John’s first win over Dematha in 24 years was a crucial moment for the family. They said a joint prayer before walking Okechukwu onto the field.

“I feel like what God was trying to do was bring the family close,” Josh said. “Everybody that had the Okechukwu last name, just us.”

Playing for St. John’s would not have been possible without the sacrifices Iweogu made. After Kate’s death, Iweogu raised Okechukwu and his five other siblings, battling near-homelessness and financial struggles.

“My dad was just helping me stay grounded in my faith, and just being the man that he is and telling me that everything would be alright,” Okechukwu said. “We would be able to come out of everything.”

Kate always wanted her children to attend St. John’s, Iweogu said. The Okechukwus always passed the campus nestled on a hill over top of Military Rd NW almost every day, seeing the plaque with the school’s name and admiring its prestige.
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Thayer Thomas uses multi-sport background to lead the Wolfpack receiving core (DO; Stepansky)

Thayer Thomas’ fall routine was more hectic than his high school classmates’ schedules. After football practice ended, Thomas headed to Heritage (North Carolina) High School’s gym to shoot free throws. Following Friday football games, Thomas spent all weekend on the travel baseball circuit.

“He was not the most athletic player in any of those sports, but he made it up with hard work and intelligence,” Heritage athletic director Patrick Kennedy said. “His dedication to each sport was amazing to witness because of the time commitment that each sport demands.”

After his tri-sport career, Thomas stayed close to home and accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play football for NC State. His experiences in all three sports grew his athleticism, and he’s developed into the No. 15 Wolfpack’s primary receiving option over the past two seasons.

In the fall, Thomas spent the majority of his time on the football field. Wallace Clark, Heritage’s current head coach and an assistant at the time of Thomas’s 3-year varsity career, said Thomas was a “quiet leader” who led by example, putting in extra work on the field after practice daily.

Thomas’ work ethic came into fruition junior year, when he earned all-conference despite being injured for a portion of the season. Thomas continued his success in senior year, leading his team in receptions (74) and receiving yards (965). The 74 receptions also made him Heritage’s all-time receptions leader, a record he still holds today.

In the winter after football, Thomas played point guard for Heritage’s basketball team. Unlike football, Thomas only made the varsity team as a junior, but was diligent to perform to the best of his ability. On a star-studded team led by Thomas and Jayden Gardner, a current starter at Virginia, the Huskies won their first-ever conference championship.

Heritage basketball head coach Tilden Brill said Thomas wasn’t an athlete who jumped off the map, but his steady work ethic helped him become a key contributor. Thomas’ speciality on the court was distributing the ball as he holds the school record in assists (226).

“(Thayer) was an awesome teammate and really set the tone for the program’s future,” Brill said.
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Opponent Preview: What to know about No. 15 NC State (DO; Alandt)

In its fourth and final game of the midseason home stretch, Syracuse University will take on No. 15 NC State, the first of seven opportunities remaining for the Orange to earn their one remaining victory needed to qualify for their first bowl game since 2018. Syracuse had two weeks and much of the Wagner game to fine-tune its units and recharge for the highly anticipated top-20 matchup on Saturday.

The Wolfpack are rolling following their 2021 9-3 finish, the second-straight winning season under head coach Dave Doeren, one in which they throttled Syracuse at home 41-17. They narrowly escaped East Carolina in the opening week, only pulling out the victory after the Pirates’ kicker missed an extra point. They rattled off three straight wins before almost beating then-No. 5 Clemson and beating Florida State 19-17. Quarterback Devin Leary went down last week with an injury to his throwing shoulder, and while the MRI over the weekend came back clean, Doeren wouldn’t give an indication as to whether or not he’d play against SU.

Ahead of Syracuse’s first top-25 matchup and third Atlantic Coast Conference opponent of the season, here’s everything you need to know about NC State.

All-time series

NC State leads 13-2.

Last time they played

Last November, the Orange blew their second chance to qualify for a bowl game after allowing a 28-point second quarter in a 24-point loss to NC State. Those four touchdowns came in the final 6:14 of the first half. Leary finished with 303 passing yards on a 17-of-24 performance. On the other side, Garrett Shrader threw a pick-six and the special teams unit gave up a 97-yard kickoff return to Zonovan Knight.

Thayer Thomas gathered four catches for 80 receiving yards and a touchdown as well. The game marked the first time since the 2016 Independence Bowl that NC State had scored a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams in the same game.

Despite just rushing for one touchdown, Sean Tucker finished with 105 yards on the ground, his ninth 100-yard game of the season to that point. Tucker rattled off a 17-yard run in the second quarter to break Joe Morris’ Syracuse record for rushing yards in a single season.

The Wolfpack report

NC State returned a great deal of its offensive starters from last year, including Leary and Thomas. It features a two-headed rushing attack as well, likely the best the Orange will face so far this season. Junior Jordan Houston is averaging 52 rushing yards per game and also has 130 total receiving yards this season. Sophomore Demie Sumo-Karngbaye enters Saturday’s game as the Wolfpack’s rushing leader. Despite garnering fewer carries than Houston, Sumo-Karngbaye has 299 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.
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Carlos Vettorello has cemented himself as the starting center for Syracuse.


'Athletic' center Carlos Vettorello worked as a versatile lineman in high school (DO; Alandt)

The University of Detroit Jesuit (Michigan) High School didn’t really game plan for Aidan Hutchinson, the future No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, when it played Divine Child High School. It employed, UDJ’s 6-foot-4, 277-pound swiss army knife lineman against him.

Hutchinson was two inches taller than Vettorello, but Vettorello was stronger, larger and got out of his stance quicker. Former teammate Patrick Schocke said Vettorello liked to engage with the defender before promptly slapping their hands away. He’d then drop back into his pass set quicker than anyone else on the line.

Vettorello did that all game, shutting down Hutchinson while UDJ got into position for a game-winning touchdown.

“Sometimes I got caught up during the game just watching those two battle it out,” UDJ head coach Oscar Olejniczak said. “Just watching him battle and fight … I was in awe.”



Vettorello played left tackle against Hutchinson, but he could always move around the offensive line. By his first full year at Syracuse, the “versatile” redshirt freshman started all 12 games — eight games at left tackle, three at center and one at right tackle. Vettorello has cemented himself as a formidable front man as SU’s center this season.

But Vettorello didn’t begin playing football until his freshman year of high school. He played baseball, trading off between first base, catcher and pitcher. Vettorello usually played up in age because of his size.

He was always one of the biggest kids. His mother, Diane, had to always carry around his birth certificate to prove he wasn’t too old.

Diane raised Vettorello to be aware of his size. There were times Diane could tell Vettorello wasn’t comfortable with being different, that he didn’t like being seen as a bully or a physical person. He isn’t, his mother said. He tries to cast off those presupposed ideas quietly, pulling underclassmen aside to talk them through perfecting their technique.

“He’s a very big person, so he looks intimidating. But once you get to know him, you knew he wanted to do whatever was helpful for you on the team,” Schocke said.

Vettorello wanted to join the football team while continuing his baseball career in his freshman year at UDJ. But after a JV game during Vettorello’s sophomore year, Olejniczak told Vettorello that he could become a Division I player if he dedicated the majority of his time to the game. “I’m all in,” Vettorello said.
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At kicking camp, Bob Ligashesky helped Andre Szmyt return to 'old Andre' (DO; Alandt)

It might not have been his fault. Andre Szymt connected on just 9-of-14 field goals in 2021. His redshirt freshman days of 30 makes and a 54-yard long ball were gone. Questions of accuracy, composure and skill level cascaded down on the former Lou Groza award winner. Would Syracuse ever see the “old Andre” again?

Coaching changes and his holder marred the last three years of Szmyt’s career, tanking his field-goal percentage and Syracuse’s overall record. He wanted to fix whatever he could heading into his redshirt senior season, so he called former teammate Cole Murphy, who worked with former NFL placekicker John Carney. He’d heard of the Carney Training Facility in Carlsbad, California, and wanted to work alongside holder Ian Hawkins and long snapper Aaron Bolinsky.

The trio went to California several times in the spring and summer, working in a massive warehouse designed for kickers and punters. Resistance bands and gear for NFL-style workouts littered the artificial turf. Carney showed Szmyt a presentation about being a sound kicker, which contained everything from emotionally divorcing yourself from the game, what his pregame routine should be like and how to focus on kickoffs.

The lack of offense. Special teams coordinator Justin Lustig leaving. Holders switching in-and-out. Szmyt knew what his last few years were; he just wanted to work one-on-one with Bolinsky, the only constant in Szmyt’s six years at Syracuse.

“Andre has been an excellent kicker in all the years,” said Greg Zauner, who privately coached Szmyt in high school and college. “Every great kicker and great punter starts with a great snapper, and great protection, and with kickers, it’s field position and opportunities.”

Kickers are like golfers, Carney said, needing a set routine in the days leading up to a game and on gameday. If something deviates, or a routine is changed, a kicker’s success dramatically decreases. Szmyt has dealt with a plethora of overturn, but with new special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky and a more productive offense, Szmyt has started 2022 10-for-11.

Old Andre is back, “Neener, neener, neener, he kicks field goals through the goal post,” head coach Dino Babers joked after the Virginia game.
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Beat writers split on if Syracuse can beat No. 14 NC State at home (DO; Staff)

No. 18 Syracuse will face its first ranked opponent of the season, No. 15 NC State, at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday afternoon. The Orange’s 5-0 start earned them their first spot in the AP Poll since 2019, sliding into No. 22 after their win over Wagner before moving up four following their bye week.

Syracuse faces an NC State offense that may be without its starting quarterback, Devin Leary, in its third conference game of the season. The Orange can claim bowl game eligibility with a win. Ahead of Syracuse’s first ranked matchup of the season, here’s what our beat writers predict will happen on Saturday:

Alex Cirino (4-1)
Not there yet
Syracuse 20, NC State 27

With all the attention on Syracuse’s undefeated run and first appearance in the AP Poll in over three years, it’s finally time for its unimagined 5-0 run to get a reality check. Yes, the Orange have made noticeable improvements on both sides of the ball from a year ago, but NC State will be their first real test thus far. After their Week 1 near-upset against East Carolina, the Wolfpack have handled their biggest tests of the season, playing back-to-back ranked opponents coming into Saturday’s game. NC State has showcased its passing game despite a 10-point loss to No. 4 Clemson.

Even with Leary’s uncertain status, NC State has both a top-30 defense against the run and the pass. The biggest question about the Wolfpack offense will come with their run game, which recorded just 34 yards against Clemson. If backup quarterback Jack Chambers can successfully rely on his running backs to carry the bulk of NC State’s load, Syracuse will be outmatched, ending its perfect winning stretch.
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N.C. State will still have a passing game if Leary is out (scouting report) (PS; $; Leiker)

Syracuse football fans shouldn’t be fooled by N.C. State backup quarterback Jack Chambers’ stat line from the final minutes he played in Week 6 following Devin Leary’s injury.

Though he only attempted one pass in 19-17 win over Florida State that fell incomplete, the grad transfer saw significant success through the air during his four-year career at Charleston Southern.

He finished third in the FCS last season for completion percentage (63.3%), 30th in passing efficiency (134.5) and 13th in passing yards per game (249.5). Chambers threw for a career-high 341 yards on 31 receptions in a win against Monmouth.

“He can throw the football,” N.C. State coach Dave Doeren told reporters Monday. “Our run game was playing really good in (the FSU) game.”

Leary starting the SU game, or at least appearing in it, isn’t entirely off the table, though. His recovery from a shoulder injury suffered last Saturday is day-to-day, and the team still listed him in the No. 1 spot on the depth chart — a move that could just be tactical and not reflect his actual health status.
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Devin Leary's status uncertain as NC State tries to knock off undefeated Syracuse: Devin Leary's status uncertain as NC State tries to knock off undefeated Syracuse: Best Week 7 college football games to watch :: WRALSportsFan.com (wralsportsfan.com; Bergin)

Week 7 of the 2022 college football season has many questions.

WRAL senior multiplatform producer Mark Bergin tries to answer some of them.

What’s your tweet-length take ahead of Week 7 of the college football season?

I’m trying to figure out how to cop one of the fancy chrome North Carolina helmets ahead of the rivalry game against Duke. Who said North Carolina was a basketball state?

Time for the chrome domes #CarolinaFootball #UNCommon pic.twitter.com/tOXFB6FLCh
— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) October 12, 2022

What’s the best college football game of the weekend?

No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, CBS) appears to be the choice, but I still don’t believe the Vols can hang with the Crimson Tide.

“The Third Saturday in October” used to be a legendary rivalry game. However, Tennessee last beat Alabama on Oct. 21, 2006.

Alabama enters Saturday as a 7-point underdog. However, the stage is set for quarterback Hendon Hooker to lead his team to an upset win and propel himself to the top of the Heisman Trophy race.

Tennessee’s offense averages 547.8 yards per game, which ranks first among FBS schools.

It appears quarterback Bryce Young will play Saturday. It comes despite Young missing the Week 6 game against Texas A&M due to a shoulder injury. It’s an injury he sustained during the Week 5 game against Arkansas.

Because of my trust in Alabama during the Nick Saban era, I’ll pick No. 8 Oklahoma State at No. 13 TCU (3:30 p.m. ABC Saturday) due to their offensive explosiveness.

Both teams are 5-0 and average exactly 46.4 points per game. TCU averages 530 yards per game, which ranks third among FBS schools.

Oddsmakers have set the over/under at 68.5 points. Sit back, relax and enjoy the high-scoring football by the Big 12’s two premiere programs this season.


What’s the best ACC game of the weekend?

No. 4 Clemson at Florida State (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ABC)
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What’s the best ACC game involving a team from North Carolina?

No. 15 NC State at No. 18 Syracuse (3:30 p.m. Saturday, ACC Network)

NC State rallied last weekend against Florida State. A right shoulder injury to quarterback Devin Leary forced him to leave the game late in the third quarter, prompting backup Jack Chambers into action.

The NC State defense stepped up in the second half, which was needed in Leary’s absence. The Wolfpack defense allowed only 93 yards against Florida State in the second half of last Saturday’s game.

Chambers led the Wolfpack to three field goals in relief of Leary. However, Chambers did not complete a pass and only threw the ball once.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren has remained coy about when Leary was due to return. Consider it a bit of chess with Syracuse head coach Dino Babers.

Babers has his team off to an undefeated start, but the Orange have yet to play a ranked team.

NC State's Leary did not suffer a season-ending injury. His return date is less certain.
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ORANGE ZONE: #18 Syracuse vs. #15 North Carolina State (youtube.com; podcast; ORANGE ZONE)

The Orange Zone team is back from a restful and relaxing bye week (00:00-5:43) but it's time to refocus on the rest of the season. It's the biggest test for the #18 Syracuse Orange to date with the #15 North Carolina State Wolfpack coming to the JMA Wireless Dome, but could injuries, including one to the Pack's starting QB change the way the road team goes forward (9:40-15:40)? Even with the potential impact of injuries these teams have strong defensive units, highlighting what's sure to be a competitive game (15:41-21:16) and in a game that SU is favored against a higher ranked opponent, what's the Orange's mindset right now (21:17-28:39). Of course our whole team has our predictions for the game (33:09-42:51) thoughts on the celebration of three Cuse legends into the Syracuse Ring of Honor (42:52-45:04) and Producer Brendon's almost impossible trivia with a new twist (45:05-52:21). All of that and more on a huge week in the world of Syracuse Orange football!

This Ain't Your Parents Syracuse Football (youtube.com; podcast; Locked on Wolfpack)

Kenton breaks down how the Orange are undefeated

NC State football opponent scouting report: Syracuse (on3.com; Carter)

The No. 13/15-ranked NC State football team’s final pre-bye week game of the 2022 schedule arrives with a road trip Saturday. Surprising No. 18 Syracuse is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC after .

Kickoff is at 3:30, and the game can be seen nationally on ACC Network.

Here is a full scouting report on Syracuse:

Five Syracuse Players To Watch

Sophomore receiver/tight end Oronde Gadsden II (No. 19)

Syracuse has made a big jump as a passing attack, and Gadsden is a major reason why. Last season, Gadsden had just 2 catches for 24 yards while being limited for some of the year with an injury.

Through five games this season, the 6-foot-5, 216-pound Gadsden has emerged as the go-to receiver for the Orange. He has at least 3 catches in every game and has exceeded 100 yards twice, including a 6-reception, 112-yard and 2-touchdown performance in a win over Purdue.

Overall, Gadsden has 23 catches for 366 yards and 3 scores. NC State will have to account for im on every snap.

Fourth-year junior linebacker Mikel Jones (No. 3)

Jones has been one of the best linebackers in the ACC since his true freshman season in 2019. He was honorable mention all-conference a year later and first-team All-ACC in 2021. Last season, Jones was second in the conference in tackles (110) and fifth in tackles for loss (13.0). His career-best for tackles for loss came in a loss at NC State, when he had 2.5 (including a sack).

So far this year, Jones, who was a preseason All-American selection by Athlon and Phil Steele, had 35 tackles in the first four games, including 4.0 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He’s also forced a fumble and recovered one. Jones still leads the Orange in tackles despite not registering one in brief action during a lopsided win over Wagner in Syracuse’s most prior game. He has also twice been named ACC Linebacker of the Week.

Fourth-year junior quarterback Garrett Shrader (No. 6)

NC State took a look at Shrader when he was a class of 2019 product at Charlotte Christian, but he signed with Mississippi State. After two years there, Shrader transferred to Syracuse and has been starting since 2021.

Last year, Shrader struggled as a passer. He completed 123 of 234 passes (52.6 percent) for 1,445 yards and 9 touchdowns with 4 interceptions, but he was under 50.0 percent completion rate in 5 starts and threw for less than 100 yards in three consecutive ACC games late in the year. That included going 8-of-20 passing for 63 yards with a pick six at NC State.

This season, Shrader won a preseason quarterback competition to regain his starting job and threw for at least 236 yards in all but one game. He has 10 TDs with just 1 interception and is completing 70.9 percent of his throws for 1,224 yards.

Shrader (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) continues to be a physical rushing threat. He has run for 219 yards and 5 scores in 2022 after rushing for 781 yards and 14 scores a year ago.

Third-year sophomore running back Sean Tucker (No. 34)

Simply put, Tucker is an elite running back.

As a true freshman in 2020, a season in which eligibility was frozen, Tucker became the running back out of necessity due to injuries and ran for 626 yards, third most in a year by a Syracuse freshman.

Last year, Tucker made multiple All-American teams and was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award given to college football’s most outstanding player. Tucker rushed for at least 100 yards in 9 of 12 games, including carrying 13 times for 105 yards with a 55-yard touchdown at NC State. He rushed for 207 yards at home against Boston College and finished the year with 1,496 yards and 12 scores, averaging 6.1 yards per rush, while also catching 20 passes for 255 yards and 2 more touchdowns.

So far this year, he has enjoyed success but perhaps not quite as much as last season. Tucker has carried 110 times for 546 yards and 5 touchdowns and added 19 catches for 184 yards and a score.

The running numbers are partially skewed by a 232-yard performance vs. Wagner on Oct. 1, during which he also ran for 3 scores. Against Purdue and Virginia in the prior two weeks, Tucker had a combined 39 carries for 102 yards.
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NC State football: 5 keys to beating undefeated Syracuse - Saturday Road (saturdayroad.com; Sawyer)

The NC State football team got itself back into the win column Saturday night with a 19-17 victory over Florida State, and now the Wolfpack will face another tough ACC test.

The 15th-ranked Pack is headed north to Syracuse, N.Y., where the 5-0 Orange will look to upset NC State in a top-20 matchup that has some serious implications in the ACC Atlantic Division even with everybody chasing Clemson.

For NC State, there also is concern heading into the weekend at quarterback. Devin Leary exited the Florida State game, and while his status technically is “day-to-day”, it feels like a stretch to think the Pack might have him against the No. 18 Orange.

Here are 5 keys for NC State if it hopes to win Saturday afternoon:

Keep contain

NC State will finish up the toughest stretch of its schedule against the Orange, as a back-to-back-to-back against Clemson, Florida State and Syracuse will come to an end.

Among the unique challenges of the stretch for the Pack was the mobility of each quarterback, as DJ Uiagalelei, Jordan Travis and Garrett Shrader present a very real threat on the ground. And for NC State’s elite defensive front, keeping contain on the quarterback has proven to be a weakness.

Uiagalelei led the Tigers with 73 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns down at Death Valley, headlined by a huge 38-yard keeper that helped set up a touchdown. Against Florida State, Travis had even more success. He rushed for 108 yards — including a massive 71-yard explosive play that really shifted the tide to FSU’s favor during the opening half.

Now the Pack will have the same challenge against Shrader, who has rushed for 219 yards and 5 touchdowns this year. The Pack has to do a better job of keeping contain and also making the tackles against a 3rd mobile quarterback in a row.


Be dynamic on offense

While the potential loss of Leary is detrimental to NC State’s offensive outlook, the presence of backup Jack Chambers does open the playbook to be a little more dynamic.
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Syracuse Football: Where ‘Cuse ranks among country’s undefeated teams (itlh; Adler)

Heading into week seven in college football, the Orange is one of 15 undefeated squads still remaining, as No. 18 Syracuse football gets set to host top-15 N.C. State on Saturday afternoon in Central New York.

The ‘Cuse (5-0) has had a few easy wins so far, for instance versus Louisville, UConn and Wagner. But the Orange’s other two victories, at home against both Purdue and Virginia, weren’t decided until extremely late in the fourth quarter.

Syracuse football would emerge triumphant over the Boilermakers and the Cavaliers by a combined five points. Some of my fellow ‘Cuse fans say that the Orange hasn’t been overly impressive at this juncture in the 2022 stanza.

I would counter that, a season ago, Syracuse football lost three games by three points each. To date in 2022, the Orange has found ways to conquer foes in closely fought contests, and I find that to be an encouraging sign.
Syracuse football is one of 15 teams that have yet to lose this fall.

The ‘Cuse is 5-0 for the first time in 35 years. When the Wolfpack invades the JMA Wireless Dome this Saturday, it will mark the first encounter where both Syracuse football and its opponent have resided in the top 20 of the major polls in nearly 25 years.
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Meet the Enemy: NC State’s Facts and Players to Know – Orange Fizz – Daily Syracuse Recruiting News & Team Coverage (orangefizz.net; Griffin)

Get amped, Fizz Nation. Saturday’s matchup between #18 Syracuse and #15 NC State is the first matchup between two top-20 teams in the Dome since 1998. How long ago was that? Well, 1998 saw “Seinfeld” air its final season, the first iMac, and the founding of Google. Over 45,000 tickets have already been sold for this game, here’s what to expect from the enemy.

SEASON/PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Wolfpack have established themselves as one of the premier programs in the ACC over the past few seasons. NC State has been bowl eligible in seven of the last eight seasons and has found itself ranked at least at one point in five of the last six. That stretch, combined with Clemson’s down year a season ago, had several people including some here at the Fizz thinking that the Wolfpack could take home their first ACC crown since 1979. But a loss to the Tigers a few weeks ago as well as shaky performances against East Carolina and Florida State have subsided those expectations. Still, NC State is easily the toughest opponent the Orange have had on the docket so far.

HEAD COACH DAVE DOEREN

Doeren’s time in charge with NC State has for the most part been solid, but there have been a few bumps in the road. The Wolfpack have won four or fewer games twice in Doeren’s previous nine seasons at the helm, but every other year they have won at least seven. And Doeren has been at his best in the past two years. A top-20 finish last season had NC State enter this one at #13, and it peaked at #10 before its loss to Clemson. Still, the Wolfpack hadn’t been ranked that high since 2002. Doeren is also 7-2 in his career against SU. Let that sink in.

QB DEVIN LEARY*

There’s an asterisk by Leary’s name because his status for Saturday’s game is up in the air. The New Jersey native left NC State’s contest with Florida State in the third quarter last weekend. But if Leary plays, look out. He torched the Orange and then some last season. Leary threw for over 300 yards and a pair of scores while completing 70% of his passes as NC State ran Syracuse out of Raleigh. If this gunslinger plays this weekend, he is priority #1 and then some for Tony White’s defense.
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Syracuse Football: Where ‘Cuse ranks among country’s undefeated teams (itlh; Adler)

Heading into week seven in college football, the Orange is one of 15 undefeated squads still remaining, as No. 18 Syracuse football gets set to host top-15 N.C. State on Saturday afternoon in Central New York.

The ‘Cuse (5-0) has had a few easy wins so far, for instance versus Louisville, UConn and Wagner. But the Orange’s other two victories, at home against both Purdue and Virginia, weren’t decided until extremely late in the fourth quarter.

Syracuse football would emerge triumphant over the Boilermakers and the Cavaliers by a combined five points. Some of my fellow ‘Cuse fans say that the Orange hasn’t been overly impressive at this juncture in the 2022 stanza.

I would counter that, a season ago, Syracuse football lost three games by three points each. To date in 2022, the Orange has found ways to conquer foes in closely fought contests, and I find that to be an encouraging sign.
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Syracuse-N.C. State football game tops 45,000 mark in ticket sales (PS; Axe)

Saturday’s Top 20 football matchup between 5-0 Syracuse and 5-1 North Carolina State will have the biggest crowd at the JMA Wireless Dome in over three years.

Over 45,000 tickets have been sold for the matchup between the 15th-ranked Wolfpack and No.18 Orange. The updated ticket figure was mentioned in an email from the school to Dome event staff on Wednesday.

A crowd of over 45,000 would represent the biggest at the Dome for a football game since a sold-out game (50,428) against No.1 Clemson in 2019. It would be the highest number for a non-sellout at the Dome since 48,961 attended a Syracuse-Clemson game in 2013.

If the Orange win, it will be the first 6-0 start for the program since 1987 and just the third time ever.

A win would also give SU its first 3-0 start in ACC play in program history.

Below is a list of crowds at the Dome that have topped 45,000 since 2000:

Clemson (2019); 50,248
Clemson (2013); 48,961
West Virginia (2011); 45,265
Minnesota (2009); 48,617
Penn State (2008); 45,795
West Virginia (2005); 45,418
Notre Dame (2003); 48,170
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Through a painful loss, Wax and his mom showed up for each other (PS; $; Leiker)

Marlowe Wax’s mom, Dara Ryan, had owned an Android phone her whole life.

But when her son was preparing to move from Baltimore to Syracuse for his freshman year of college, the then-18-year-old convinced Ryan she needed to make a technology switch. Wax knew his mom would want to see her youngest child’s face more often than when she could just visit in person.

In a time before the popularity of video conferencing apps, Ryan needed to be able to FaceTime.

“Mom, you gotta get an iPhone,” Wax said. “How are you going to see me? You don’t wanna be on the phone the whole time.”

It’s one of the many adjustments, probably the smallest, Dara Ryan has made in her life for her son, a third-year linebacker and second-year starter for Syracuse football. After Wax’s father died from a heart attack when his son was 8, Ryan stepped up to help keep Wax on track in his athletic pursuits.

He’s now as recognizable a face in the Syracuse community as his fellow linebacker Mikel Jones. Wax has enjoyed just as much on-field success this season as his older peer, too, totaling 28 tackles with 2.5 sacks, and forcing and recovering a fumble in Week 2 at Connecticut. He has the seventh-most tackles for loss in the ACC and leads the Orange with 5.5 for 23 yards.

Ryan has been there for every one of Wax’s games in a Syracuse uniform. She travels from Maryland each weekend — sometimes in her car and sometimes by plane — to the Salt City or wherever SU is playing, usually accompanied by Wax’s grandmother, Darlene Holley.
...


Syracuse vs NC State Prediction, Game Preview (CFN; Fiutak)

Syracuse vs NC State How To Watch

Date: Saturday, October 15
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: JMA Wireless Dome
How To Watch: ACC Network
Record: Syracuse (5-0), NC State (5-1)

Syracuse vs NC State Game Preview

Why NC State Will Win

The offense might not be as explosive as last year’s version, but it’s finding a way to keep things moving.

The passing game was decent in the loss to Clemson, the running game took over in the win against Florida State, and it all works in a system that got the team here at 5-1.

Keep the turnovers to a bare minimum – the O is good for one in this – the style controls the clock, and it’s all up to the D to take care of the rest.

Syracuse hasn’t seen any sort of a defense like this yet. Purdue’s is close, but it’s going to be tough throwing on a secondary that’s been the most effective in the ACC so far. But …

Why Syracuse Will Win

The Syracuse defense is currently No. 1 in the ACC.

Granted, that’s partly because of the schedule – more on that in a moment – but the pass rush is great, the run D has been a brick wall, and again, NC State isn’t high-powered and hasn’t put up points in bunches against anyone with a pulse.

The Orange have their style. Sean Tucker was left in WAY too long in a scrimmage against Wagner, but he had two weeks to freshen up, the team is rested while the Wolfpack are coming off tough battles against Clemson and Florida State, and the style of play might work.

As long as the Syracuse O line can hold up – NC State doesn’t have much of a pass rush – QB Garrett Shrader and Tucker should be able to do what they want.

What’s Going To Happen

Is Devin Leary okay? The NC State quarterback hurt his shoulder and is questionable, but can he really go? No matter what, this is where the kicking game comes in.

Syracuse might be unbeaten, but it took a clutch late throw to get by Purdue, and that’s been about it. Beating Virginia and Louisville isn’t that big a deal this year, and it’s been a huge help to only leave home once so far – going to UConn isn’t really a true dangerous road game.

NC State is going to power its way through.

The defense that got ripped up by the FSU running game last week will have a few problems with Tucker, but there will be plenty of bending without breaking.

The offensive side won’t be pretty – assume Leary isn’t a go for now – and it’ll get a huge game out of Christopher Dunn. The veteran kicker has yet to miss this year.
...


Checking in on ACC football after Week 6 (backingthepack.com; Muma)

It’s been a couple weeks since we last checked in on SP+, and you’re never gonna believe this, but Clemson is still the best team in the ACC. Yes, it’s true.

Week 6 was relatively uneventful within the league—the only somewhat surprising result was Georgia Tech beating Duke, but that game was in Atlanta, so it doesn’t exactly qualify as a shocker.

Georgia Tech is one of the teams trending up over the last fortnight:

ACC in SP+



Clemson13130
Wake Forest423012
NC State2032-12
FSU33330
Pitt3742-5
UNC675116
Miami4554-9
Syracuse59572
Louisville4960-11
Duke85778
Virginia8183-2
Georgia Tech1038518
Virginia Tech7986-7
BC9394-1
NC State is no longer in the top 30 overall thanks to its confoundingly bad offense, which SP+ currently ranks 71st. The Wolfpack defense ranks 12th and its special teams are 25th (seems low for the special teams), but you already knew those units weren’t the problem.
...


Bleav in Syracuse Episode 51: Keys to NC State Game, Predictions (SI; podcast; Bleav)

Bleav in Syracuse podcast episode 51, presented by Bet Online and Hofmann Sausage Company, is out! The Orange has returned from a bye week and is preparing for a top 20 matchup in the JMA Wireless Dome with NC State. The guys break down the keys to the game and predict the winner. You can subscribe and listen on your favorite podcasting platforms as linked below.

Syracuse football: Is it cake? (TNIAAM; Wall)

Syracuse Orange fans probably remember some of the best press conference nuggets from Dino Babers. High on that list is this one from 2016

“I think when it’s all said and done you guys will like the cake that we’re baking. Right now is not the time to eat the batter. Wait for us to bake the cake.”

Dino’s cake has been a staple of discussion around here from Sean to John, which means it’s my turn to use the analogy to describe Syracuse Football. Dino was right that upset wins over Virginia Tech and Clemson were certainly to be enjoyed but the feeling didn’t last long.

Last year it sure appeared that the cake was beyond repair and Dino seemed to recognize that it was time to adjust his recipe and start over. The coaching hires of Robert Anae, Jason Beck and Bob Ligasheshky have done for the Orange offense and special teams what Tony White has done for the defense since he arrived. But would customers be convinced that Babers Bakery was once again worth the trip?
...


Heels' Maye, Syracuse's Babers top AP's midyear ACC honors (lancasteronline.com; AP; Beard)

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye and Syracuse coach Dino Babers headline the honorees in The Associated Press' midseason report for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Maye, a second-year passer, was picked as the league's top offensive player through the season's first half in voting by AP writers covering league teams after ranking among the Bowl Subdivision's most prolific passers. Babers was the choice as top coach for the 18th-ranked Syracuse, which was also voted as the league's most surprising team on the list released Wednesday.

Maye entered this year with just seven pass attempts but has thrived in Phil Longo's high-scoring scheme beyond all expectations. He is third in FBS with 21 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions, while his passing yardage (317.2 average) is eighth in FBS and he also ranks in the top 20 in completion percentage (69.4%).

Maye's brilliance has allowed the Tar Heels (5-1, 2-0 ACC) to overcome a shaky defense through sheer scoring volume, which has put them in contention in the league's Coastal Division.

“He gives us a chance because we can score points offensively to be in every game,” UNC coach Mack Brown said recently, "and never be out of a game.”

Babers entered his seventh year facing growing pressure. The Orange had been picked last in the Atlantic Division race after going from a 10-win season in 2018 to just one win two seasons later.

Syracuse (5-0, 2-0) ranks near the top of the league in scoring (38.4) while boasting one of the nation's top defenses, which ranks ninth in FBS by holding opponents to 14.0 points per game.

“They haven’t played perfect football, but the record is still perfect and now they get an opportunity to do some exciting stuff,” Babers said. "It doesn’t mean that we will, but it does mean we have a chance.”

TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER

Syracuase LB Mikel Jones, the leader of the Orange's testy defense after being a first-team AP all-ACC pick last year. Jones is a two-time league linebacker of the week so far and has averaged 8.8 tackles while tallying two sacks in four games against FBS opponents.
...

Arthur-Jones-Chandler-Jones.jpg

Boston Globe


Jones brothers make seven-figure commitment to Syracuse University football (romesentinel.com)

Former Syracuse University football stars Arthur and Chandler Jones made a seven-figure commitment in support of the John A. Lally Athletics Complex, to assist with construction of the new Football Operations Center.

The brothers, who grew up in Endicott, were standout defensive linemen for the Orange from 2005 to 2009 and from 2008 to 2011, respectively.

Arthur Jones was a two-time All-Big East first team selection and was selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He played for the Ravens from 2010 to 2013, including a win in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. He then played with the Indianapolis Colts from 2014 to 2016 and the Washington Redskins in 2017.

Chandler Jones was an All-Big East first team selection, was a first-round pick by the New England Patriots in the 2012 NFL Draft. During his four years with the Patriots, New England won Super Bowl XLIX (2014). From 2016 through 2021 he played for the Arizona Cardinals before signing with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022. He has recorded the most sacks and forced fumbles of anyone in the league since 2012. His 71.5 sacks during his first five-plus seasons with the Cardinals (2016-21) ranks third in the NFL during that span and first all-time in franchise history. A four-time Pro-Bowl Selection (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021), he was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team in April 2020.

The announcement did not state a specific amount.

“The Jones brothers’ commitment represents a major boost for Syracuse University’s $1.5 billion Forever Orange Campaign and continues to build momentum toward completing phase 1 of the John A. Lally Athletics Complex,” the university stated. Initial components of the first phase began in the spring with construction of a new front entrance into the complex. Additional renovations included in the phase are “dependent upon philanthropy being secured,” including the Football Operations Center and the updated Olympic Sports wing.
...


Even people who didn’t like football came to see one of the world’s most famous athletes play Syracuse in 1912 (PS; $; Croyle)

As they made their way towards Archbold Stadium, excitement rippled through the thousands of Syracuse University football fans on Oct. 12, 1912.

The game between the 1-1 Orange and the 4-0-1 Carlisle Indian School was billed by the Syracuse Journal that morning as the “the greatest battle to be waged in Central New York this year.”

But it was the appearance of Carlisle’s Jim Thorpe that the paper thought would “draw thousands” even those “who do not care for the great fall game.” Newspapers said he was “the attraction” that afternoon.

It was not every day that an American Olympic hero and arguably the world’s most famous athlete came to the SU hill.

Jim Thorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, had made history that summer at the Olympics, winning gold medals in the decathlon and modern pentathlon. He was first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States.

At the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, Thorpe competed in baseball, track and field, lacrosse, and ballroom dancing, but it was football where he especially stood out. He played defensive back, placekicker, punter, and running back.

Thorpe and teammates received little of the rewards that other college football players enjoyed.
...


ACC News

ACC football: Ranking all starting quarterbacks entering Week 7 (247sports.com; Crawford)


The quarterback pecking order in the ACC this season is considerably different than what we expected in August through six games with many top 25-rated signal callers rated near the bottom of the league at the position. New schemes at Miami and Virginia have been difficult to grasp for Tyler Van Dyke and Brennan Armstrong, guys with NFL-level talent who appear to have taken a step back in development.

In the opposite breath, first-year starter Drake Maye at North Carolina has taken the league by storm and Clemson's D.J. Uiagalelei has turned back doubters with an excellent start to his junior season for one of college football's top five teams.

We've added every signal caller's Adjusted Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) to aid in this power ranking. QBR values the quarterback on all play types on a 0-100 scale adjusted for the strength of opposing defenses faced. In other words, it's an objective grade which takes into account all throws and the number of points added by each quarterback, among other details.

Nearing midseason, here's how we rank every starting quarterback in the ACC and what we've seen during the first six games.


1. DRAKE MAYE, NORTH CAROLINA

Adjusted Total Quarterback Rating (QBR): 90.6 (1st in ACC)
The word: Only Mississippi State's Will Rogers has thrown more touchdown passes than Drake Maye (21) across college football this season, and the UNC signal caller's 1,903 yards passing is third-best among Power Five starters. He has been electric from the pocket and is completely nearly 70% of his throws in an offense that needs his arm badly. Maye's 90.6 total QBR is behind Heisman frontrunner C.J. Stroud in the FBS ranks, so why isn't the former four-star a candidate in the race at the halfway point? If UNC wins the Coastal and this level of play continues, he will be.

2. DJ UIAGALELEI, CLEMSON

Total QBR: 74.9 (5th)
The word: Dabo Swinney was right — DJ Uiagalelei is taking names this season. For those who doubted Clemson's junior signal caller, the former five-star has already surpassed last season's touchdown pass total with 14 and has trimmed his mistakes considerably for the unbeaten Tigers. Two of his best games this fall came against nationally-ranked NC State and Wake Forest as he helped Clemson push to the front of the ACC Atlantic race. He has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards and all the murmurs surrounding Tigers freshman Cade Klubnik and when he'll take over QB1 honors have ceased.

3. SAM HARTMAN, WAKE FOREST

Total QBR: 77.8 (3rd)
The word: Sam Hartman has thrown 16 touchdown passes this season in five games, and his only two interceptions came against Liberty in his first home start coming off the injury situation before the season. He had a jaw-dropping performance in Wake Forest's only loss, the overtime setback against Clemson, when he finished with 337 yards and six touchdowns. Hartman is the heart and soul of the Demon Deacons, but they need help in getting back to the ACC Championship Game given their loss to the Tigers and Clemson's unbeaten streak at midseason.

4. GARRETT SHRADER, SYRACUSE

Total QBR: 74.2 (6th)
The word: Syracuse is 5-0 nearing the midseason point and the combination of Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker in the backfield has been a nightmare for opposing defenses. Shrader leads the ACC in completion percentage (70.9), ranks second in yards per attempt and does so in a run-heavy offense. Shrader's touchdown to interception ratio sits at 10:1 right now and if he keeps up his turnover-free mentality, the Orange will have a shot in the Atlantic with games against N.C. State, Clemson and Wake Forest still to come.

5. JORDAN TRAVIS, FLORIDA STATE

...

Week 7 ACC football power poll (dailyprogress.com; Madia)

While Clemson has stayed busy building its résumé as a potential College Football Playoff contender and the hands-down favorite in the Atlantic Division with Top 25 victories over Wake Forest and N.C. State in recent weeks plus a thrashing of Boston College this past weekend, quietly North Carolina has emerged to take the inside track in the Coastal Division.

The Tar Heels are the lone team in the division without an ACC loss and the only one from the Coastal within the top five of this week’s Lee Enterprises ACC Power Poll.

Voters: Mike Barber and David Teel (Richmond Times-Dispatch), Greg Madia and John Shifflett (Charlottesville Daily Progress), Aaron McFarling (Roanoke Times) and John Dell (Winston-Salem Journal)

1. Clemson (6-0, No. 1 last week): The Tigers’ victory at Boston College extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 12 straight wins, and coach Dabo Swinney’s squad earned their 31-3 pummeling of BC in dominating fashion. Clemson racked up four sacks and 11 tackles for loss while limiting the Eagles to 25 rushing yards. Next: at Florida State, Saturday
2. Wake Forest (5-1, No. 2 last week): Wake Forest wrapped up the non-conference portion of its schedule with 45-10 drubbing of Army. The Demon Deacons blanked the Black Knights through the first three quarters, and wide receiver A.T. Perry hauled in five catches for 118 yards and a touchdown to send his bunch cruising into the bye week. Next: vs. Boston College, Oct. 22
3. North Carolina State (5-1, No. 3 last week): The Wolfpack revealed an important quality this past weekend — the ability to bounce back. After falling in a tight game at Clemson on Oct. 1, they knocked off Florida State, 19-17, this past Saturday while their defense made it difficult on Seminoles QB Jordan Travis. N.C. State intercepted Travis twice. He had only thrown one interception this fall entering the game. Next: at Syracuse, Saturday
t-4. Syracuse (5-0, t-No. 4 last week): Off their bye week, the Orange have to be feeling good about what they’ve done through their first five contests. They won nail-biters against Purdue and Virginia, and signal-caller Garrett Shrader has developed into one of the better quarterbacks in the conference while Syracuse’s defense is tied for ninth in the country for scoring defense (14 points per game allowed). That’s a good combination. Next: vs. N.C. State, Saturday
...


Over/UnderRated 2022 Oct 12 (RX; HM)

Over/UnderRated 2022 Oct 12

Good news for fans of certain ACC teams...


Throwing our hats into the nightmarish circle of hell that is publicly CFB ranking teams. Here's what we got:

Overrated (6+ places): Okie St., Oregon, KSU, Utah, Cincy, UK (wildly so)

Underrated (6+ places): Cuse, Illinois, JMU (wildly so, but duh!) pic.twitter.com/BDyoqKdSrL
— Man vs Model Podcast (@modelpicks) October 12, 2022

Louisville fans will be happy to know that Kentucky is "wildly" overrated (according to this computer model). Syracuse fans who think their Orange football team is underrated can feel vindicated now.
...


2022 P5 OOC Report Cards (mid-season) (RX; HM)

2022 P5 OOC Report Cards (mid-season)

Conference reputations are built on non-conference wins (and a lot of hype!). Here's the mid-season report card for each power five (P5) league:


vs all DI (FBS+FCS)
RankConfWLPctGraph
1SEC3850.884*****************
2XII2550.833****************
3B1G32100.762***************
4ACC33110.750***************
5Pac2490.727**************

These are the overall OOC records, which are used to pump up the SEC and the Big Ten (and, to a lesser extent, the Big XII - though they may have a legitimate claim this year - read on!)
vs FBS only
RankConfWLPctGraph
1SEC2750.844****************
2XII1750.773***************
3B1G2490.727**************
4ACC20110.645************
5Pac1490.609************


When we remove the FCS games the order remains the same but, of course, all of the win percentages drop.
...


Links, News and Rumors 2022 Oct 12 (RX; HM)

Links, News and Rumors 2022 Oct 12

From Nielsen: Streaming Sports: The New Frontier

Sports is a massive driver of TV engagement and presents significant opportunities for brands as advertisers and sponsors. But where brands find their audience—and how they engage with them—continues to evolve, as viewing options increase and more consumers look to streaming for their sports fix...
Audiences are increasingly gravitating to streaming options, with streaming winning the largest piece of the total viewing pie (35%) for the first time in July (Nielsen, The Gauge).
The NFL’s Thursday Night Football streaming package on Amazon Prime (which Nielsen is measuring in a first-of-its-kind deal) and Major League Soccer’s exclusive streaming deal with AppleTV are evidence of this new streaming-first frontier when it comes to watching live sports...

Will we see ACCN.com streaming subscriptions someday?
...


2022 UNC at Duke Preview (RX; HM)

2022 UNC at Duke Preview

Saturday, Oct. 15th at 8:00 pm on the ACC Network
North Carolina at Duke (Victory Bell trophy game)

UNC leads series, 63-49-4; Last meeting: UNC, 38-7 (2021)
Head Coaches:
North Carolina
- Mack Brown (95-64-1 in 14th season at UNC; 270-140-1 in 34th season overall)
Duke - Mike Elko (4-2 in first season at Duke and overall)
Notes:
North Carolina seeks four consecutive wins over the Blue Devils for the first time since winning eight straight from 2004-11 • UNC leads Duke 46-22-1 in ACC play and 30-19-2 in Durham • The schools first met in Raleigh, N.C., in 1888, with Duke (then Trinity College) winning 16-0 • Duke won three straight over the Tar Heels from 2016-18, and the teams have split the 10 games in the series played since 2012 • QB Sam Howell threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns to lead UNC’s 38-7 win last year at Kenan Stadium • Keyed by four first-half touchdowns by RB Javonte Williams, UNC scored on its first seven possessions en route to 56-24 victory in the most recent meeting between the teams at Wallace Wade Stadium in 2020 • UNC’s Mack Brown owns 11 consecutive wins versus the Blue Devils (1990-97; 2019-21) and is 11-2 all-time versus Duke as head coach of the Tar Heels
...


ACC football predictions for Week 7 led by top-20 matchup (greenvilleonline.com; Staff)

Week 6 was good to our USA TODAY Network ACC experts, with Clemson reporter Todd Shanesy going a perfect 7-0.

This week offers a short stack of league games, and our crew likes the road teams. The most intriguing matchup includes a pair of top-20 teams in No. 13 NC State at No. 18 Syracuse.

Here's how our panel predicted Saturday's ACC slate.

Miami at Virginia Tech (12:30 p.m., RSN/ESPN3)

  • Sammy Batten, Fayetteville Observer: Miami
  • Carter Karels, Tallahassee Democrat: Miami
  • Alexis Cubit, Louisville Courier Journal: Miami
  • Jim Rice, Greenville News: Miami
  • David Thompson, Fayetteville Observer: Miami
  • Scott Keepfer, Greenville News: Miami
  • Todd Shanesy, Greenville News: Miami

No. 13 NC State at No. 18 Syracuse (3:30 p.m., ACC Network)

  • Sammy Batten, Fayetteville Observer: NC State
  • Carter Karels, Tallahassee Democrat: Syracuse
  • Alexis Cubit, Louisville Courier Journal: NC State
  • Jim Rice, Greenville News: NC State
  • David Thompson, Fayetteville Observer: NC State
  • Scott Keepfer, Greenville News: NC State
  • Todd Shanesy, Greenville News: NC State
...

Other

4ABAR7JBDRHOXCQECCLVHC4IBI.jpg

The Dwyer family visits Owen Orchards every year at this time. They're pleased that it's added an outdoor bar. Adult-friendly apple and pumpkin picking. (Charlie Miller | cmiller@syracuse.com)

7 ‘adult-friendly’ pumpkin patches and apple orchards you’ve got to try this fall in Central NY (PS; $; Miller)

For years, moms and dads all over Central New York would load the kids into the minivan and head to a nearby farm to pick pumpkins and apples. This autumn tradition would entail hours chasing the young‘uns through rows of dirt in search of a blemish-free squash for that Halloween’s jack o’lantern.

We’d hoist them up to only to have them drop the best apples onto the ground. We’d treat them to a cup of cider and maybe even a pony ride. All the while, we parents would get nothing but a backache.

A few genius farmers finally decided it was time to give all those exhausted adults a break.

“Being a parent is hard work. It’s like shopping at the mall. You deserve some time to relax when you’re out here,” said Alice Abbott of Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville. “Sit down. Have a cup of hard cider or a cocktail while the kids have fun. Who says we can’t all have fun?”

You know what? Alice is right. We do deserve a breather, and there are plenty of pumpkin patches and apple orchards that have become “adult-friendly” over the past few years. They’ve added restaurants and taverns that serve cider and beer made right on the farm.

Here are a few stops that just might make your annual pilgrimage more pleasant. (Not that lugging the kids around a farm isn’t pleasant in and of itself. It just can be more enjoyable.)

Crazy Daisies

Address: 4693 Kasson Road, Syracuse, just outside of Marcellus
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Let’s Go Crazy? Talk about a full-service pumpkin patch. Owners Jennifer and Glenn Cox pick all the pumpkins for you. In fact, their idea of date night is filling their tumblers with a fancy cocktail from their Garden Cafe, hopping on a tractor and loading it up with pumpkins from their six fields.

“I know I would’ve been a lot happier at a pumpkin patch back then with a drink in my hands,” Jennifer said on Sunday. “We should’ve done this years ago.”

All you have to do at Crazy Daisies is pick a pumpkin or two from a table and order some food and drinks.

These aren’t just any cocktails, mind you. Take, for example, the Pumpkin Fishbowl. They fill a hollowed-out pumpkin from the farm with your choice of honeycrisp lemon twist with 1911 vodka or cranberry sage lemonade with Alb vodka. Whichever you choose, your Sunday Fun Day will be all that more fun.
...
 
Last edited:

gbo

Resident Clemson Fan
Joined
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They rattled off three straight wins before almost beating then-No. 5 Clemson and beating Florida State 19-17.
Did the writer even watch the same Clemson game as I did? When did they almost beat us?
 

upperdeck

Living Legend
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
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Did the writer even watch the same Clemson game as I did? When did they almost beat us?
well they were ahead with 2 min to go in the first half.. After that not so much.
 
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