It is unthinkable to believe that Syracuse has a chance to upset the Trojans on Saturday at MetLife Stadium. There is a reason why they go through the exercise of actually playing the game – anything can happen.
An upset doesn’t happen if the Trojans are mentally and physically engaged in this game. However, if the Trojans are looking ahead to Pac-12 opponent and recent nemesis, the Stanford Cardinal, an opening can be left for the Orange to pull this off.
‘Cuse will have a very tall order in disrupting the Trojans’ offense. If they are able to get to Matt Barkley, disrupt the release and timing routes of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, they should be able to keep the game close. That is a very big IF. The Trojans offensive line is very adept at protecting Barkley. Barkley is great at getting the ball out his hand. Woods and Lee are superior athletes, with supreme quickness, speed, and route running.
If the Orange can duplicate the gaudy passing numbers they put up against Northwestern, this can also make for an interesting game and put the pressure on Barkley & Co. to score every time they have the ball. This is where the defensive line needs to put on the kind of performance they put on last week against Hawaii.
The linebacker corp will need to be physical at the point of attack to shut down the run. This will eliminate the effectiveness of play action and allow for safeties T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling, and Demetrius Wright to lay back in pass coverage to frustrate the nation’s top passing offense.
The Trojans can ill afford any let down games or to look past any opponent. They have to understand that they will get everyone’s best shot and rise to the challenge. McDonald, Barkley, and Lane Kiffin will need to be the driving force to ensure the team focuses on the now. Everything else will fall into place.