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Syracuse vs. Louisville Football Prediction and Preview

Syracuse vs. Louisville Football Prediction and Preview

Syracuse (SU) vs. Louisville (UofL) Prediction and Preview

Bowl eligibility is still attainable for the Syracuse Orange if they can close out the season with two wins, including one on the road Saturday against the Louisville Cardinals.

These two teams have played nothing but blowouts as of late in this series. The Orange won 54-23 at home last year to stop a four-game win streak by UL. The Cardinals took the 2016 and '17 meetings by a combined score of 118-38 thanks to Lamar Jackson's nine touchdowns.

The 2019 Syracuse team is no longer winless in the ACC after they beat Duke 49-6 last week on the road. The Orange (4-6, 1-5 ACC) outscored the Blue Devils 35-0 in the second half and finally looked like the team we thought they would when the season began. The squad got 115 rushing yards from both Moe Neal and Jarveon Howard, as they bulldozed the Duke defensive line. Cuse's defensive line was strong as well, and part of that was the season debut of McKinley Williams, who was supposed to make a huge impact but had been out with a lower-body injury.

Louisville (6-4, 4-3) is bowl eligible after beating NC State 34-20 last week. Micale Cunningham threw for four touchdowns, as the team somewhat broke away from their run-heavy tendencies. Chatarius Atwell had five receptions for 110 yards in the victory, while Marshon Ford picked up two touchdown catches. The team even had their kicker get into the fun with a seven-yard touchdown pass. It was their second road win of the season.

Syracuse at Louisville

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. ET

TV: ACC Network

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Spread: Louisville -10

When Syracuse Has the Ball

For one week, everything seemed to work for the Orange on offense. It all begins with the failures up front in the offensive line. The unit has allowed Tommy DeVito to be sacked 42 times and hurried countless other times. The sophomore signal-caller has completed 62.9 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Early injuries to the group up front has led to some of this collapse. Moe Neal, Abdul Adams, and Jarveon Howard are the main threats out of the backfield, while Trishton Jackson and Taj Harris are the best wide receivers. Jackson has nine touchdown receptions.

Louisville's defense has been good enough despite allowing 21 points or more in every game against an FBS team. They were lucky to outscore their opponent in five of those games. Linebacker C.J. Avery leads the team with 66 tackles, just two ahead of safety Khane Pass. Eleven different players have registered sacks with Monty Montgomery putting up five and G.G. Robinson adding four of his own. Louisville has picked off just seven passes, which is one of the reasons for their struggles.

When Louisville Has the Ball

The Cardinals have scored 30 points or more five times this season, including a 62-point performance against Wake Forest and 41 versus Boston College. Micale Cunningham has been a calming influence under center as one of three signal callers who has taken snaps. Cunningham has 14 touchdown passes to just three interceptions, adding another five touchdowns on the ground. His ability to use his legs has helped big time as well. Javian Hawkins is an underrated running back with 1,045 yards rushing and 5.3 yards per carry. Louisville relies heavily on Chatarius Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Seth Dawkins, as the trio has 97 of the team's 140 receptions.

The Orange defense has been leaky for the most part this season. They came up big against Duke last week and held NC State to 16 points on the road and Pittsburgh to 27 at home. As mentioned above, the debut of a vital piece up front made a big difference. Any time you could use Kendall Coleman, Alton Robinson, and McKinley Williams all at the same time, you are going to get pressure on the quarterback. Twelve different players have sacks and six others have interceptions. Injuries to several members of the secondary throughout the season have hurt this side of the ball's consistency though.

Final Analysis

The big question is if you believe the Orange have turned the corner last week or was it a temporary blip on the radar following a bye week. Louisville is a young team that is heading in the right direction under head coach Scott Satterfield. However, I'm not ready to think that everything is okay with the team out of New York. I think it's closer then the spread indicates, but it's a win for the home team.

College football rankings: Louisville

Prediction: Louisville 27, Syracuse 23

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.