Beat writers expect Syracuse to close nonconference play with win over in-state rival Cornell

first_imgPhil D’Abbraccio (10-2): Syracuse 70, Cornell 51If you don’t chew Big Red…This Big Red team is better than last year’s — which somehow had a halftime lead over Syracuse in the season opener, then went 2-26 — but still not good enough to be the better color Wednesday night. The Orange will march into Atlantic Coast Conference play with four losses, but at least it’ll do so coming off arguably its best three games of the year. Syracuse’s defense responds well from Sunday’s showing and its offense continues to gets shots to fall, just a few hours before Times Square’s ball does the same.Jesse Dougherty (10-2): Syracuse 64, Cornell 48Ithacan’tSyracuse has one more chance to refine its play before heading into its ACC schedule, and celebrates New Year’s Eve with a comfortable win over Cornell. The Big Red has been better than the train wreck it was last season, but not good enough to keep pace with a team that is faster, longer and ultimately more talented. The Carrier Dome isn’t exactly Times Square, but Jim Boeheim and Co. kick off the new year by eating the last cupcake on their plate.Jacob Klinger (10-2): Syracuse 78, Cornell 57Big OrangeSyracuse is finally starting to treat its pre-ACC opponents like the punching bags they should be, and Cornell provides the perfect dummy. The Big Red is averaging 63.8 points per game against lowly competition and simply can’t keep pace with SU on the floor or the glass. The Orange isn’t a national contender this year but is definitely still the best team in Central New York. Comments Published on December 31, 2014 at 5:11 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

National attention on Trojans as they travel to Seattle

first_imgTal Volk | Daily TrojanTime to lock it down · Junior corner back Adoree’ Jackson and the No. 20 Trojans are traveling to Seattle where they will face the No. 4 Huskies. Jackson and the defense are preparing for the highest scoring offense in the Pac-12.The Trojans have a five-game win streak on the line. The Huskies have a 12-game win streak, but one of these will end on Saturday when No. 4 Washington hosts No. 20 USC.Washington (9-0, 6-0) brings one of the most prolific offenses and stalwart defenses in the country into this game. Behind sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, the Huskies are averaging a conference-high 48.3 points per game. Their defense allows the fewest points per game at only 17.0.“It’s the most balanced team that we’ve played,” head coach Clay Helton said. “You look up and they have 231 yards rushing and 268 passing. They’re able to lean on the run game maybe when the quarterback is off.”The fewest points the Huskies have been held to this season is 31 in their win against Utah, but the Trojan defense is confident after holding both Cal and Oregon to season-lows in scoring. Luckily for USC, Helton said he expects redshirt senior defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu to play and isn’t worried about whether or not he will be limited because Washington runs so few plays.“He’s a warrior,” Helton said. “He told me when we walked off the field that he was going to play in the game.” Another boost for the Trojan defense comes with Helton’s announcement that sophomore defensive back Iman Marshall will also be in the lineup.Not only is the Husky attack balanced, but it is also efficient. Washington converts on 46.9 percent of their third downs.“When you’re playing a ball-controlled offense and know you’re going to have limited possessions, Washington averages only 65 plays a game, third downs are going to be key,” Helton said. “We put a lot of concerted effort into that today.”Defensive efforts will be spread thin, as there is no one clear rush or pass threat, but Browning’s favorite target is wide receiver John Ross, who leads the Pac-12 with 14 touchdown receptions.“He does a lot of things well, especially when he gets the ball in his hands,” junior corner back Adoree’ Jackson said. “He’s one of those guys where he can stop on a dime. He can run nice routes. And that’s pretty much what is on film; you just see a good player out there.”Just behind Ross in touchdowns is wide receiver Dante Pettis, who has caught 11 this season.On both sides of the ball, the Trojans need to play well and avoid controllable mistakes. “You better play clean football because you aren’t going to get many possessions in the game,” Helton said. “If you’re not good on third downs, if you have penalties, if you turn it over, you’re going to set yourself back against an offense that averages 48 points off of 65 plays.”USC is 10th in the Pac-12 in penalties, averaging 71.6 yards per game because of them. Washington on the other hand, is first in the conference, with only 44.8 penalty yards per game.Converting on third downs is critical to keeping the chains moving and the Trojan defense off the field. USC is third in the conference, converting on 45.3 percent of their third downs. Washington has 27 sacks this season, tied for second in the Pac-12. Helton has expressed his concern over their pass-rush, especially on third down.Additional good news on the injury front for USC came with the full practice of senior running back Justin Davis and sophomore running back Aca’Cedric Ware. The pair of backs will join sophomore Ronald Jones II, who has been dominant in Davis’ absence. In their past three games, the Trojan running back corps has earned 320, 398 and 270 yards on the ground. During their five-game win streak, USC has averaged 571 yards of total offense, with coaches and players alike praising the performance of the offensive line.“If we’re just able to keep this going, we’re a force to be reckoned with,” redshirt senior offensive lineman Zach Banner said. “I love the pace that we’re going at right now.”The game kicks off at 4:30 from Husky Stadium in Seattle and is being televised by FOX. ESPN’s College Gameday will also be covering the game, broadcasting live from the University of Washington from 6 a.m.- 9 a.m.last_img read more