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Marquis Spruill Back in Middle for Syracuse Orange Defense

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The Star-Ledger – USA TODAY Sports

With a new head coach and a move to the ACC on the horizon in 2013, the Syracuse Orange are getting back to a little familiarity on their defense. Marquis Spruill has bounced around on the defense during his career but will return to his old role as middle linebacker for his senior season. Will he be able to lead the Orange in 2013?

Spruill is used to getting moved around during his time at Syracuse. He started out as a freshman at outside linebacker before moving inside for his sophomore season and then back to outside linebacker for his junior campaign.  Last season, he finished No. 4 on the team in tackles with 64 with nine tackles for loss and two sacks.

The senior will be asked to move around next season in first-year defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough‘s defense, but he has expressed his interest in staying in the middle. Being at middle linebacker allows Spruill to make plays from sideline to sideline rather than just one half of the field. That opportunity to make plays appeals to Spruill greatly.

The senior will be taking on a leadership role with the Orange next season, leading the team through their time of transition. He takes the reigns of the No. 48 ranked defense in 2012 as they try and compete in 2013 in the heightened competition of the ACC. Spruill will need to ratchet up the playmaking and disruption of opposing offenses as the most experienced member of the linebacker corps.

Will Spruill’s maturity and leadership be enough to lead Syracuse through their transition to a new conference with a new head coach and defense?

You can follow me on Twitter @Teeblerone and Rant Sports @RantSports

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Duke-Syracuse Game Preview, Prediction





Starting the season outside of the Top 25, the Duke Blue Devils were playing with a chip on their shoulder. Now that they are 7-1 on the year, no one is overlooking the darkhorse favorites to dethrone Florida State for an ACC title. The Syracuse Orange started the season 2-0, but have since lost six of seven to lead to a 3-6 record. While they aren’t a threat for the conference title, the Orange can still play spoiler.

Senior quarterback Anthony Boone has been the spark that has gotten the Blue Devils going this season. Boone has passed for 1,628 yards, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions while rushing for another 243 yards and four touchdowns. Jamison Crowder is clearly the team’s top receiving weapon, catching 49 passes for 636 yards and four touchdowns. Max McCaffrey and Issac Blakeney have been basically equal in the receiving department, both catching 26 passes for three scores apiece while McCaffrey has 261 yards and Blakeney has 259 yards. Freshman running back Shaun Wilson has been a main reason for the team’s run success, rushing for 528 yards and four touchdowns.

Syracuse had been led by a dual-threat quarterback of its own in Terrel Hunt who had 983 passing yards and a touchdowns as well as 292 yards and six rushing scores before his injury. He hasn’t returned yet, paving way for freshman quarterback AJ Long to get the nod as the starter. Long hasn’t been very impressive, however, passing for 727 yards and four touchdowns with six interceptions. Jarrod West doesn’t care who’s behind center as he has been effective either way, catching 40 passes for 610 yards. Steve Ishmael has been the second-best wide out on the team, catching 20 passes for 311 yards and three scores. Prince-Tyson Gulley has been solid this season in the run game, leading the team with 526 yards and a touchdown while also catches 20 passes out of the backfield for 107 yards.

Defensively, the Orange have been a bit above average this season, ranking 38th in total yards allowed as well as 43rd in points allowed per contest. In their three wins this season, Syracuse has given up an average of 12 points. Before last week, Duke had done a solid job of keeping opponents out of the end zone. On the year, the Blue Devils rank 13th in points against and a lowly 81st nationally in total yards allowed.

Duke will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange at 12:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 8. The game will be broadcasted on GamePlan/ESPN 3.

PREDICTION: Duke 23, Syracuse 21

Want to see the Blue Devils take on the Orange in week 11? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

Duke will travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange in week 11. Who will come out on top?

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