Miami and Syracuse have had a one-sided relationship where Miami has dominated the series 11-2 since 1990. There was one true classic played in 1992 where Dennis Erickson’s ‘Canes took on the Orange coached by Paul Pasqualoni and it came down to the 3 yard line to preserve Miami’s undefeated regular season. Syracuse infamously blew Miami out in 1998 on Donovan McNabb’s senior day. The ‘Canes and Orange haven’t played since 2003 which seems crazy since both are in the ACC now and are a natural “rival” of old Big East squads.
Miami vs Syracuse full game from 1992
Heading into 2017, the S&P+ predicts Miami to be ranked #18 and Syracuse to be ranked #60. Miami plays Syracuse sandwiched between Georgia Tech and North Carolina. The Orangeman on the other hand have a hell of a run playing at LSU, at NC State, hosting Pitt then Clemson before traveling to Miami and FSU. A run like that is beyond body blows and the #Canes have more talent and more experienced coaching than the Dino Babers led staff in Syracuse.
QB Eric Dungey is on the Athlon pre-season 3rd team All-ACC list after throwing for 2600+ yards and 15 TD’s on 64% passing. He also ran for 290 yards and 6 TD’s. Dungey, a rising junior, is 6-3 220 and can really cement himself as an NFL prospect with a strong junior year.
RB Dontae Strickland led Syracuse in rushing with 566 yards and 4 TD’s. Dungey was second so the ‘Cuse run game isn’t strong. However, it’s tough to not see improvement when you return your top passer, rusher and receiver.
Syracuse has WR Ervin Phillips on the 3rd team pre-season list and on the 4th team, WR Steve Ishmael. While the offense loses WR Amba Etta-Tawo who came in as a grad transfer in 2016 and his 1400 receiving yards and 14 TD’s, they do return Phillips and Ishmael who combined for 1300+ yards and 7 TD’s.
LB Zaire Franklin is a pre-season All-ACC 3rd team linebacker for the Orange. Franklin picked up 100+ tackles and 10 Tackles For Loss (TFL) with 2 sacks. He leads a defense that returns the leader in sacks, tackles and interceptions. The sack leader from ‘16 was Chris Slayton (4 sacks) the 6-4 300 lbs DL from Illinois. Combined Slayton and Franklin with tackles leader Parris Bennett (110 tackles) and you have a defense. Rodney Williams led the defense with 2 interceptions a year ago and returns as well.
DB Daivon Ellison had 90 tackles to go with outside linebacker Jonathan Thomas returning as well. The ‘Cuse defense should be improved with age just like their offense.
Punter Sterling Hofrichter picked up first team pre-season All-ACC honors heading into 2017. He averaged 42 yards per punt including 24 inside the 20. The placekicker Cole Murphy is one of the best in Syracuse history. He finished 10-18 last year on FG’s and should be improved heading into his senior season.