2013 Forecast: In transition, Syracuse draws Clemson for first ACC game

Syracuse's Dyshawn Davis, right, celebrates with Jeremi Wilkes after Davis intercepted a Louisville pass late in the fourth quarter last season. Davis is Syracuse's leading returning tackler (69). (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

Syracuse's Dyshawn Davis, right, celebrates with Jeremi Wilkes after Davis intercepted a Louisville pass late in the fourth quarter last season. Davis is Syracuse's leading returning tackler (69). (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

Breaking down the Orange…

Syracuse Quick Profile

Plays Clemson: at the Carrier Dome, Oct. 5.

2012 Record: 8-5 (5-2 Big East, co-champ).

Coach: Scott Shafer (0-0 career record, 0-0 against ACC [0-0 vs. Clemson], 1st year at Syracuse).

Offense (2012 ranks): Multiple (Total offense: 17th/Rush offense: 40th/Pass offense: 29th)

Defense (2012 ranks): 4-3 (Total defense: 48th/Rush defense: 43rd/Pass defense: 62nd).

2012 Special Team Ranks: Net punting – 115th/Kickoff returns – 106th/Punt returns – 108th/Punt return yardage defense – 111th/Kick return yardage defense – 2nd.

2012 Misc. stats: Turnover margin – 69th/Fewest penalties – 113th/First downs – 16th/First downs allowed – 40th/Third down efficiency – 9th/Red zone efficiency – 63rd/Red zone defense – 75th/Time of possession – 75th.

Depth Chart Breakdown – Returning starters (ACC pos. ranking)

QB – 0 (13): 1. Drew Allen (6-5 226, senior; Oklahoma transfer) 2. Terrel Hunt (6-3 215, soph.) 3. Charley Loeb (6-4 215, senior).

RB – 1 (3): 1. Jerome Smith (6-0 217, senior; 227 carries-1171 yards-3 TDs-5.2 YPC) 2. Prince-Tyson Gulley (5-10, senior; 158-830-5.3-282 rec. yards-11 total TDs)

WR – 1/3 (13): 1. Ashton Broyld (6-4 222, soph.; 7 catches-53 yards-7.6 YPR); 1. Quinta Funderburk (6-3 190, soph.; Arkansas transfer) 2. Christopher Clark (5-11 158, senior; 11-122-2 TDs-11.1); 1. Jarrod West (6-2 202, junior; 43-588-2-13.7) 2. Jeremiah Kobena (6-0 179, junior; 6-146-2-24.3).

TE – 1 (4): Beckett Wales (6-3 230, senior; 35-389-2-11.1).

OL – 3/5 (8): LT Sean Hickey (6-5 287, junior; 13 career starts); LG Rob Trudo (6-3 282, soph., nine career starts); C Macky MacPherson (6-2 286, senior, 25 career starts); RG Nick Robinson (6-5 281, soph.); RT Ivan Foy (6-4 311, soph., four career starts).

DL – 1/4 (14): DE Robert Welsh (6-3 259, junior); DT John Raymon (6-5 319, soph.); DT Jay Bromley (6-4 290, senior; 39 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL); DE Trevon Trejo (6-5 240, junior; Juco transfer).

LB – 2/3 (6): SLB Cameron Lynch (5-11 225, junior; 42 tackles, 4 sacks, 4.5 TFL); MLB Marquis Spruill (6-1 224, senior; 64 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 TFL); WLB Dyshawn Davis (6-2 212, junior; 69 tackles, 1 sack, 14 TFL).

DB – 2/4 (12): CB Keon Lyn (6-1 194, senior; 46 tackles, 3 TFL, 10 passes defended); SS Wayne Morgan (5-10 191; 14 tackles, 1 TFL); FS Jeremi Wilkes (5-9 189, senior; 61 tackles, 0.5 TFL); CB Brandon Reddish (5-11 183, 35 tackles, 1 sack, 4.5 TFL).

K – 1/1 (9): K Ross Krautman (15-23, 3-7 from 40+, long of 47).

P – 1/1 (9): P Jonathan Fisher (38.4 YPP, 18 inside the 20).

Average ACC position rating: 9.1 (9).

Syracuse Identity

1. Offense in transition – New coaches, new QB and looking for a new group of top receivers…Syracuse isn’t getting the easiest route into a new conference. The Orange are said to be running a spread offense with West Coast principles – what direction it actually goes might come down to who wins the QB competition. New OC George McDonald has highly-rated Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen incoming (No. 15 pro-style QB by Rivals out of HS), but before he stepped on campus, dual-threat Terrel Hunt and veteran Charley Loeb got a chance to show off in the spring. Whoever takes the job doesn’t have the leading ’12 receivers Alec Lemon (72-1,070-7) and Marcus Sales (64-882-8) nor an o-line in the top half of the ACC in career starts (51).

2. Solid running game to fall back on – The Orange do have one of the ACC's top tailback duos in seniors Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, who combined for 2,001 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns last season. The pressure will be on to repeat the production and more with inexperience at QB.

3. Mixed bag defensively – According to our ACC position rankings, the Orange are in the bottom three in the conference on the d-line and secondary, but have a top half of the league linebacker corps. Now head coach Scott Shafer was the Syracuse defensive coordinator previously, where he led the Orange to three top-50 (and one top-10) defense(s) in four seasons.

Odds & Trends: The long-awaited ’95 Gator Bowl grudge match is Syracuse’s first ACC game. The Orange, with Donovan McNabb as a freshman QB, won 41-0 in the last matchup between the two schools down in the Jacksonville, Fla., New Year's Day bowl. Syracuse, which has made the postseason 2-of-3 years after going five-straight without one, has been up-and-down at home the last couple seasons, but last year, they went 4-1 including a decisive upset of Big East BCS bowl rep Louisville, 45-26. Clemson played well on the road last season – not only winning, but also covering the spread handily in victories over BC, Duke and Wake Forest – and were also under the number at FSU (+14, 49-37 loss).

2013 Schedule: 8/31 Penn State (Neutral site); 9/7 @Northwestern; 9/14 Wagner; 9/21 Tulane; 9/28 BYE; Oct. 5 Clemson (Homecoming); Oct. 12 @N.C. State; Oct. 19 @Georgia Tech; Oct. 26 BYE; Nov. 2 Wake Forest; Nov. 9 @Maryland; Nov. 16 @Florida State; Pittsburgh; Nov. 30 Boston College.

2012 Results: Northwestern – L 42-41; USC – L 42-29; Stony Brook – W 28-17; @Minnesota – L 17-10; Pittsburgh – W 14-13; @Rutgers – 23-15 loss; UConn – W 40-10; @USF – W 37-36; @Cincinnati – L 35-24; Louisville – W 45-26; @Missouri – W 31-27; @Temple – W 38-20.

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