Two teams trending in the wrong direction will meet Saturday night when Syracuse visits Wake Forest in Atlantic Coast Conference action in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Orange (6-4, 3-3) have dropped four straight games following their 6-0 start. They have only 12 points over the past two games and were pounded by then-No. 23 Florida State 38-3 last week.
Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader struggled in his first game back from a concussion, completing 6 of 16 passes for 65 yards and racking up minus-2 net rushing yards on 10 carries. Leading receiver Oronde Gadsden II was limited to one catch for 29 yards, and standout tailback Sean Tucker mustered an average of only 3.7 yards per carry on 14 attempts.
“We have to find a way to get Shrader at full strength,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “If we can’t get him at full strength, then we need other people to pick up where his weaknesses are and get back to that three-pronged approach we had earlier in the season.”
Tucker has scored only once on the ground in the past four games and has not exceeded 60 rushing yards in any of those contests. He is 171 rushing yards shy of 1,000 with two regular-season games remaining.
Wake Forest (6-4, 2-4) has lost three straight games and is coming off a 36-34 home defeat to then-No. 15 North Carolina, which recorded a late interception and kicked the decisive field goal with 2:12 remaining.
Wake quarterback Sam Hartman passed for 320 yards and four touchdowns in the loss, while Justice Ellison paced the rushing attack with 81 yards on 16 carries.
“I was proud of the way we bounced back, took the lead in the fourth quarter and again, it feels a little bit like (the game against) Clemson where they made a play or two more than we did,” Demon Deacons coach Dave Clawson said in reference to a double-overtime loss to the Tigers earlier this season. “That was a great football game (vs. North Carolina).”
Wake Forest has defeated Syracuse in each of the past two seasons, including 40-37 in overtime win last year.
–Field Level Media