By Andrew Pogar
After being shut out for the first time since 2007, Syracuse football head coach Scott Shafer says the SU Orange (3-4, 1-2) have turned the page after being dismantled 56-0 by Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
|It's been a roller-coaster first year for Head Coach Scott Shafer|
“We've gotten by that loss,” Shafer said on the ACC’s coaches’ teleconference Wednesday. . “We've had tunnel vision forward after that Sunday.”
The Orange is coming off its second bye week of the season. Shafer said the extra time has been advantageous for the team as is hosts Atlantic Division rival Wake Forest on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.
“We had a good bye week,” Shafer said. “We got to get the kids healthy and now we’re 100-percent focused on the next game against a well-coached Wake Forest team.”
Speaking of health, the Orange defense will receive a much-needed boost against the Demon Deacons as linebacker Dyshawn Davis is expected to return after suffering a high ankle sprain in the first half against North Carolina State back on October 12.
“He’s doing well,” Shafer said. “We’re ramping him up each day and looking forward to getting him out on the field.”
Shafer pointed out the importance of limiting mistakes particularly by the SU secondary against a Demon Deacons offense that throws for 230 passing yards a game.
He praised senior wideout Michael Campanaro, who ranks second in the ACC in receiving yards and needs just six receptions to move into second place on the ACC’s career list.
“He reminds me of (Wes) Welker,” Shafer said. “He accounts for 32 percent of their offense and 44 percent of their passes have been thrown at him.
|Michael Campanaro (3) and Tanner Price (10) are quite the duo|
Syracuse fans may remember Wake's quarterback from a couple of years ago. Senior Tanner Price played at the Carrier Dome back in 2011 where he tossed for 289 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Price has been on a torrid stretch for the Demon Deacons. He has thrown eight touchdowns in the last three games.
The Demon Deacons, however, are coming off a devastating 24-21 loss to seventh-ranked Miami in the final minute in South Florida. Head Coach Jim Grobe, who is one win away from breaking the school record for wins, can relate to Shafer’s game plan mentality this week.
“We’re disappointed that we came out of Miami with a loss, but now we got to try to regroup a play a talented Syracuse team that’s very well-coached,” Grobe said. “We have a big job ahead of us.”
Grobe said he’s been impressed with the air attack of the Orange, despite its ineffectiveness of late.
“One of the keys to being a good football team is to be balanced,” Grobe said. “Syracuse does a nice job of that. I think they had 16 or 18 kids catch passes for them. They've got a very talented quarterback.”
|The Orange need Terell Hunt to snap out of his funk|
Shafer says he has no concern regarding quarterback Terrel Hunt, who will attempt to rebound from three straight performances in which he did not throw for a touchdown and recorded less than 75 yards passing each game.
“He’s a fighter…a hardworking kid,” he said. “He can brush it off and go to the next game. You prepare like a man for the next game and Terrel’s done a nice job of that.”
This game has major implications for bowl eligibility for both teams. With a loss, Wake would need to win two of its final three games which are against FSU, Duke, and Vanderbilt. Syracuse on the other hand, would need to win three of its last four against Maryland, FSU, Pitt, and BC.
Another story line coming into this contest deals with the Orange kicking game. Starting placekicker Ryan Norton was suspended last Friday for the team’s game this weekend. Norton was charged with resisting arrest and underage possession of alcohol. Norton had replaced Ross Krautman who is out for the season with an injury.
“Riley Dixon and Jonathan Fisher will split kicking duties versus Wake for suspended Ryan Norton,” said Shafer. “It will depend on the situation.”
The game will be televised regionally on MSG.