Syracuse had a difficult opener, facing an improved, less distracted Penn State team at MetLife Stadium, and, unfortunately for the Orange, their week two assignment is no less arduous. No. 19 Northwestern welcomes rookie head coach Scott Shafer and his squad to Evanston today for a 6:00pm ET showdown at Ryan Field (Big Ten Network). The latest College Football Point Spreads Week 2 from 5Dimes like the Wildcats at -16.5 against the spread and -800 on the money line ($800 wins $100). The game total in tonight's meeting between Syracuse and Northwestern is set at 53 points.
Syracuse lost a lot over the offseason, including its starting quarterback and head coach, but it retained a decent amount of talent with players like running back Jerome Smith returning to the fold.
Unfortunately for Syracuse, Smith, last year's leading rusher, was the only bright in last week's meeting with the Nittany Lions. The Orange stayed close to Penn State, falling 17-23, but most of that had to with sloppy play on the part of the Lions (four turnovers).
Syracuse, which had three turnovers of its own, managed just 11 first downs and 260 total yards in the loss.
Doing anything more than that against Northwestern's defense will not be easy. The Wildcats yielded 30 first downs and 548 yards in last week's 44-30 win over Cal, but they were on the road facing a fast-paced, quick strike offense to start the season.
Northwestern also forced three turnovers in the win and scored on interception returns of 56 and 40 yards.
Offensively the Wildcats were hampered by a first quarter injury to starting quarterback Kain Colter (concussion). The less mobile Trevor Siemian gets plenty of reps in game action, but he was forced to play the rest of the way, eliminating a huge part of Northwestern's offensive attack.
Colter is listed as questionable for tonight's game, but he has stated he will play; however, he must be medically cleared first.
Northwestern barely survived last year's season opener against the Orange, squeaking out a 42-41 victory at the Carrier Dome, but it should have a far easier time this evening. The Wildcats are 8-0 in their last eight home openers (Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald's tenure) and they knocked off Vanderbilt 23-13 in last year's home debut.
Syracuse vs Northwestern College Football Point Spreads Week 2:
Syracuse Orange +16.5 (-110), Over 53 (-110), +550 (Moneyline)
Northwestern Wildcats -16.5 (-110), Under 53 (-110), -800 (Moneyline)
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