Game Time: 7:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 4, 2021
Venue: Peden Stadium, Athens, OH
Where to Watch: CBS Sports
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Point Spread: Orange -2, Bobcats +2; Over/Under: 56 points
Bet365: Point Spread: Orange -1.5, Bobcats +1.5; Over/Under: 56 points
BetMGM: Point Spread: Orange -1, Bobcats +1; Over/Under: 55.5 points
Syracuse Orange: 0-0 (ACC Atlantic)
Ohio Bobcats: 0-0 (MAC East)
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Syracuse Orange vs Ohio Bobcats Preview and Analysis
Syracuse Orange: 8 game losing streak
Ohio Bobcats: 2 game winning streak
Orange vs Bobcats Prediction
The Syracuse Orange will be taking on the Ohio Bobcats in this nonconference matchup for their first game of the college football season on Saturday night. Syracuse finished last season in last place of the ACC with a 1-10 record overall, going 1-9 against any ACC opponent. They were 0-5 in road games where they will be in this one. Ohio finished last season in 3rd place of the MAC East with a 2-1 record overall, none of those being non conference games. They were a perfect 2-0 in home games where they will be in this game.
Syracuse are carrying over an 8 game losing streak going back to last year. They ended their season with a big 45-21 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Syracuse's scoring offense was awful last season in both the passing game and the run game and that should be their primary concern this year. They were averaging a 51.5% completion percentage, 173.3 passing yards, and 1.4 touchdowns per game through the air. They also averaged 92 rushing yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game on the ground. Their defense was very bad as well last season. They were allowing teams a 65.4% completion percentage, 254.8 passing yards, and 1.7 touchdowns per game. They also allowed 209.2 rushing yards and 2.2 touchdowns per game on the ground. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers is returning for another season and the last 3 years have just been a downhill trend with him. After a 10-3 season just 3 years ago, they went 5-7 the next year and then went even further down the well with a 1-10 season last year. He will have to make some big changes this season to turn this program around and avoid going winless or even as bad as they have been.
Ohio is carrying over a 2 game winning streak from last fall. There were a lot of cancellations of their games last season so they did not play too many games, only half of their six-game schedule. They did end off on a good note with wins against Akron and Bowling Green. The Bobcats' offense was good in the run game last year but not so much with their passing. They were averaging a 66.7% completion percentage, 146 passing yards, and 1.3 touchdowns per game through the air. They also averaged 216.7 rushing yards and 2.7 touchdowns per game on the ground. Their defense was alright with their pass defense but their run defense could use some work. They were allowing teams a 54.3% completion percentage, 195.3 passing yards, and 1 touchdown per game through the air. They also allowed 193.7 rushing yards and 1 TD per game on the ground. Ohio’s Tim Albin will be making his coaching debut in this one since former head coach Frank Solich announced his retirement July 14. This is the first time he has ever been a head coach of a college football team after being Ohio’s offensive coordinator for so long. He is picking up where Frank Solich left off and will be looking to build on their short but positive season last year.
This game really could go either way. There is Syracuse who had a terrible season last year but also plays in a much stronger conference. There is Ohio who had a good season but was only 3 games long and played in a much weaker conference. Ohio has a new coach and it will be interesting to see what direction he takes this program in. Syracuse looks like the more reliable team here of these two.
Orange Bobcats Prediction: Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, September 4, 2021 (7:00 pm ET start time) is Orange 27 Bobcats 20.
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NCAAF Betting Trends
Syracuse Orange: 0-4 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 over the last 3 years.
Ohio Bobcats: 1-7 ATS in home games over the last 3 years. 5-11 ATS in all games over the last 3 years. 1-4 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 over the last 3 years.
Syracuse Orange: L. Benson (TE) Probable for Saturday with an undisclosed injury.
Ohio Bobcats: W. Sheets (WR) Questionable for Saturday with an undisclosed injury. K. Thompson (LB) Questionable for Saturday with a knee injury.
Players to Watch
Syracuse Orange: Redshirt Junior Tommy DeVito is one of the starters to watch on these roster sheets. This will be his 3rd season playing with the team. He did not get a lot of work last season playing in just 4 games completing 48 of 96 pass attempts for 593 yards, 4 TDs and 2 interceptions. He does have some starting experience with the team but it will not be about having a lot of fun out there for him. He does not have the starting gig permanently and sophomore Garrett Shrader, a Mississippi State transfer, will also be looking for his shot at the job in this game. Watch these 2 players as they battle it out to be the starter.
Ohio Bobcats: Redshirt freshman Kurtis Rourke is one player to watch in this game. He played in all 3 games last season but did not get much done as he completed 30/44 passes for 386 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He will have some help on this offense from playmakers like RB De’Montre Tuggle who averaged more than 100 rushing yards per game last season.
"We want to play both guys. We're going to play both guys. I think the biggest thing is that we need to see them both in a game. We need to see production on the field in games. Practice is great, but eventually it comes down to who's making plays in the game. We've just got to see how it goes." - Dino Babers on their starting quarterback for week 1.
"My run defense, I was really happy with. I was making some tackles, had a good third down stop that I was happy for, but pass rush could have been a little cleaner. It's not where I want to be for week one, but I'm working on it. Now that my run defense is really down, I can really focus on tuning up my pass rush and be ready to get after the quarterback in week one." - Bryce Dugan on his performance in practice and what he wants to improve on.
WR Johnson, Sharod
WR Queeley, Anthony
WR Harris, Taj
TE Elmore, Chris
QB DeVito, Tommy
RB Tucker, Sean
RB Lutz, Cooper
WR Odom, Cameron
WR Tyson, Keeshawn
WR Cox, Isiah
TE Luehrman, Ryan
QB Rourke, Kurtis
RB Tuggle, De'Montre
RB Allison, O'Shaan
Syracuse Orange: Dino Babers (6th season)
Ohio Bobcats: Tim Albin (1st season)
72 degrees F mostly sunny, 65% humidity, 20% chance of rain, up to 5 mph wind speeds S.