Mizzou football is coming off a hard fought victory over Tennessee in four overtimes last week and is one win away from being bowl eligible. Mizzou has a great opportunity to pick up its sixth win of the season at home against Syracuse this Saturday at 6 p.m. Since not many Mizzou fans know much about Big East football or Syracuse, I asked Syracuse Campus Representative Ben Glidden five questions about the Orange.
After briefly looking at statistics, it looks like quarterback Ryan Nassib is better than predecessor Greg Paulus. Is Nassib the star of the Syracuse offense and what kind of offense do the Orange run?
Ben: The offense hinges on Ryan Nassib. If he’s making mistakes and turning the ball over, the team doesn’t do well. The quarterback is the leader of any team, but Nassib’s inconsistency this season has caused some headaches. If Nassib is on, the entire team is on. The pass game gets working, which opens up the box for the run game. The longer the drives, the more rest the defense gets. When Nassib is turning the ball over, the defense gets run down and is dead by the fourth quarter.
What is the best way to attack the Syracuse defense?
Ben: The biggest flaw of the Syracuse defense has been its big play vulnerability. You never know when an opposing offense is going to break out a 80-yard run or huge pass play. But the best way to attack the Orange defense this season seems to be through the air. The run defense has been pretty solid, holding teams to double digit rushing yards. UConn rushed for -6 yards against the Orange earlier this season. But teams have had success passing the ball.
Is your win against Louisville last week the program’s biggest victory of the season?
Ben: The win against Louisville was definitely the biggest of the season. The Cardinals were ridiculously overrated. There’s no way they’re a top ten team in the country. But the win restored hope for fans and players alike. Bowl eligibility is once again a very likely situation for this team. And it gives the team a huge amount of momentum heading into the Mizzou game.
The weather on Saturday evening is calling for cold and a chance of rain. Will this be a big disadvantage for Syracuse because they play their home games in a dome?
Ben: Nah, these guys have played in the wind and rain plenty of times. The Dome is nice, but it isn’t all these guys experience. They practice outside a lot of the time and for those of you not familiar with the northeast, it’s pretty cold, especially in Syracuse. If anything, I’d say it’s a disadvantage because we have trouble holding onto the ball and rain will only make it harder on the ball carriers.
Looking past this game, what are fans’ feelings about Syracuse moving to the ACC? Are you guys happy to be in a slightly better football conference even though you will lose a few basketball rivalries?
Ben: It’s definitely an exciting move for the school. The move is great for our football program, opening up many more recruiting channels and pinning us against tougher competition. And basketball rivalries will reform with the likes of Duke and UNC. Overall, with the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, I think the ACC becomes a better basketball conference than the Big East from top to bottom.