(9/23/22) 7:00 PM Eastern.
Spread: Virginia +9.5 / Syracuse -9.5
Moneyline: Virginia +275 / Syracuse -350
Total: Over / Under 54
Friday night lights features the Virginia Cavaliers against the Syracuse Orange on ESPN. Both teams are coming off thrillers, Virginia is fresh of a game winning field goal with time expiring vs Old Dominion and Syracuse led a game winning TD drive with just 50 seconds on the clock. Kickoff is scheduled for 7p.m. eastern time at the JMA Wireless Dome.
Virginia Cavaliers (2-1)
Virginia’s new look offense is off to a slow start in 2022. Despite crossing the 40-yard line 8 times last week they scored just 16 points. They did throw up 34 in their season opener but in week 2 at Illinois they scored just 3. Brennan Armstrong is still Quarterbacking for the Cavaliers and he’s coming off a very successful season that saw him throw for 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2021. His completion % is down from 65.2% to 52.9% and his QBR 156.4 to 112 in 2021. The 4th year WR Keytaon Thompson has been his go to guy, pacing the team with 18 receptions for 235 yards. Starting RB Perris Jones has been effective, averaging 5 yards per carry but negative game script has kept the ball out of his hands.
Their defense has played great though. Despite a struggling offense this Cavaliers defense has allowed just 45 points all season. Granted Richmond, Illinois, and Old Dominion don’t exactly scream good offense, but they’ve kept them in every game that they’ve played. They have struggled against the run, Richmond and Illinois combined to drop 368 rushing yards on them. They kept Old Dominion in check but as 9-point favorites that’s what they were supposed to do. Syracuse has the best offense that they’ll see thus far.
Syracuse Orange (3-0)
Garrett Shrader has this Cuse offense humming to open the 2022 season. He’s completed 66.2% of his passes for 705 yards and 8 touchdowns, no interceptions. Through week 2 PFF graded him out as the top-rated passer. He did struggle last week against the Boilermakers, but he delivered when it mattered. He led two touchdown drives while trailing in the 4th quarter, most importantly a 50-yard drive with just 51 seconds to go to take the win. Oronde Gadsden has been his big play WR, reeling in 12 catches for 193 yards (16.1 YPC) and 3 touchdowns. The Orange offense still looks to run through Star RB Sean Tucker, he has 66 carries and 12 catches through 3 games this season. He is off to a disappointing start after compiling 1,496 rushing yards in 2021 but a weak Cavaliers run defense could see him breakout.
Syracuse’s defense played well in weeks 1 and 2 but got exposed against Purdue. While they only gave up 61 rushing yards, they allowed 424 passing yards. Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell completed 70.9 % of his passes and 3 touchdowns. The Orange pass rush isn’t very good and they’ll be forced to dial up pressure if they want to get home against good teams. Defensive lineman Caleb Okechukwu came up big with a Pick 6 midway through the 4th quarter, the only Boilermakers turnover. Purdue also went 10/17 3rd downs. Syracuse was fortunate to let up just 29 points.