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Syracuse kicks off easy opening stretch by hosting Colgate of the FCS

Colgate (Patriot League) at Syracuse (ACC), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ACC Network Extra)

Line: No line listed.

Series record: 31-31=5

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Syracuse kicks off its season with four winnable games before entering a three-game gauntlet against No. 9 Clemson, No. 21 North Carolina, and No. 8 Florida State. The Orange must start out fast to have a chance to earn a second straight bowl berth. Anything less than 3-1 start will be troubling. If Colgate can keep it interesting, it will be a moral victory for the Raiders, who haven't beaten the Orange since 1950.

KEY MATCHUP

Colgate must establish its running game to limit Syracuse’s time of possession and keep the game close. Raiders QB Michael Brescia rushed for 753 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He’s joined in the backfield by RB returnees Jaedon Henry and Max Hurleman. Colgate’s offensive line, which allowed 27 sacks in 2022, will be severely tested by Syracuse’s veteran defensive front. The Orange’s inexperienced offensive line must show progress right out of the gate.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Colgate: Bresica threw for more than 1,600 yards in 2022, but he must improve his 7-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’ll potentially have his opportunities in facing a retooled Orange secondary that lost stars Duce Chestnut, Ja’Had Carter and Garrett Williams. One drawback is Bresica won’t have Garrett Oakey, his top receiving target from a last season.

Syracuse: RB LeQuint Allen has big shoes to fill as the expected starter replacing program record-setter Sean Tucker. Allen showed flashes in limited play last season, particularly as a pass catcher. He had 94 yards rushing and caught 11 passes for 60 yards in the Pinstripe Bowl.

FACTS & FIGURES

The two programs last met in 2016, when Syracuse won its 16th straight game to even the all-time series. ... The Orange has hosted all but four games. ... Syracuse is Colgate’s only FBS opponent of the season. ... Syracuse is 20-0 against FCS foes. ... Syracuse’s defense ranked 21st nationally in 2022. ... Colgate’s defense allowed 2,837 passing yards.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll