The Northwestern Wildcats were one of the surprise teams in 2012 as they finished the season with 10-plus wins for the first time in recent memory. Not many people outside Evanston, Ill., believed in this team, but Pat Fitzgerald knew he was coaching a talented bunch. A week one road victory at California surely proved that.
On the other side of the field, the Syracuse Orange are coming off an eight-win season, but switching to the tougher ACC will not be kind to the Orange. A week one loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions gave a bit a preview to what the 2013 season could provide — and it wasn’t pretty.
Northwestern has a solid offense with one of those successful, rare two-quarterback systems with Kain Colter as the dual-threat and gunslinger Trevor Siemian who passed for over 275 yards and a touchdown. Top rusher from 2012, Venric Mark had a tough day against the Golden Bears, rushing for just 26 yards on 11 carries while Treyvon Green ran the ball 16 times for 129 yards and two scores in a breakout performance.
Syracuse, on the other hand, is still searching for its identity on offense with under 300 total yards in week one and under 200 yards passing. Quarterback Drew Allen accounted for 189 yards on 16 for 37 passing and two interceptions.
The Orange defense was not terrible in game one, although they did allow a true freshman to pass for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns. Northwestern’s defense underperformed big time in week one, allowing over 500 yards of offense while allowing Cal quarterback Jared Goff to pass for 445 yards and two scores. They did, however, pick off three passes.
Syracuse will be traveling to Northwestern to take on the Wildcats at 6 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 7. The game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.
PREDICTION: Syracuse 13, Northwestern 35
Related: Northwestern Preview