Western Michigan (1-0) at Syracuse (1-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network Extra)
Line: Syracuse by 22 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Syracuse 2-0
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Syracuse took care of business in its season-opening 65-0 rout of FCS opponent Colgate. Things won’t be quite as easy against the Broncos, but there will be a fair amount of concern if the Orange don’t walk away with another easy win before hitting the road against Purdue. Syracuse will be a step up in class for Western Michigan. An upset of Syracuse on the road or, at the very least, keeping the score close, would give the Broncos confidence heading into Iowa.
Western Michigan’s ground attack wore down the St. Francis (Pa.) offensive line to the tune of 339 total rushing yards in a 35-17 season-opening win. The Broncos can stay in the game if they can move the ball on the ground, but the Orange defensive front will pose problems. Colgate’s undersized defensive line harassed Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader repeatedly — and surprisingly — last weekend. Shrader’s offensive line needs to provide better pass protection against the Broncos.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Western Michigan: Redshirt freshman Jalen Buckley ran for a career-high 194 yards on 30 carries and a TD rushing against St. Francis and was named MAC West Division co-offensive player of the week. He’ll need to have another good effort to take the pressure off the team’s passing game and quarterback Jack Salopek.
Syracuse: Umari Hatcher, a redshirt sophomore, had a breakout game against Colgate, leading the Orange with 105 yards on four receptions. He played sparingly his first two years, and has the potential of providing Shrader another viable threat behind Oronde Gadsden II and Damien Alford.
FACTS & FIGURES
The team’s first two meetings have been high-scoring affairs, including the Orange's 52-33 win at home in 2019. The teams combined for 182 points with the Orange scoring more than 50 in each. … The teams combined for nearly 1,200 yards in their respective season openers. … Syracuse was college football’s most-penalized team in 2022 and had seven against Colgate. … Eight Orange players scored in the win over Colgate. … Broncos first-year coach Lance Taylor should be familiar to Syracuse. He served as Notre Dame’s running backs coach starting in 2019 and then was Louisville’s offensive coordinator in 2022 … The Broncos return just two starters on defense.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll