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Syracuse Football Travels to Wake Forest Hoping to Avoid Five Straight Losses

Garrett Shrader (6) throws a pass against Florida State. Last Saturday was Shrader's first game action since Notre Dame two weeks prior.

Three weeks ago, Syracuse and Wake Forest were top-20 teams in the nation. The 16th-ranked Orange were 6-1 coming off of a 27-21 loss to Clemson. The tenth-ranked Demon Deacons were cruising on a three-game winning streak and had just beaten Boston College 43-15. Since that point in the season, the tides have turned.

Syracuse has dropped its last four and is hanging on to the semblance of a successful season for dear life. Wake Forest is on a three-game skid and has fallen to 2-4 in conference play. One of the two streaks has to budge, but which will it be?

Throughout its month-long rough patch, the SU offense has scored less than 15 points per game. That’s a far cry from the offense that averaged 36 points through six games.

Offensive coordinator Robert Anae had plenty of success early in this season, but this cold streak has exposed the team’s flaws. Syracuse scored a season-low three points in Saturday’s 38-3 loss to Florida State. After the drubbing, Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said he still has confidence in his staff.

“We’ve got an offensive coordinator that’s called good plays. He called six weeks of perfect plays,” Babers said.

The Orange don’t look to have any momentum in their favor on the offensive side of the ball, but the Demon Deacons are a different story. Wake Forest boasts the second-best scoring offense in the ACC. The Winston-Salem squad tallies over 36 points per game and more than 430 total yards of offense.

Wake clearly has the advantage on the offensive end, but defensively Syracuse may still have a slight edge. In conference play, Wake allows over 33 points per game, while SU has only given up 20 per contest. In the ACC, the Demon Deacons are 12th in average yards allowed with almost 400 but the Orange are third with just over 300.

At this point in the season, the Syracuse defense has been stronger than Wake Forest’s. The same could be said for Wake’s offense over SU’s which makes this matchup even more intriguing.

The last time Syracuse football took on Wake Forest, broken hearts were left on the turf. It was a 40-37 overtime loss with the Demon Deacons crushing the souls of Orange fans on the last play of the game. A 22-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hartman to A.T. Perry put SU in the coffin and brought the Orange to 3-3.

This time around, Syracuse’s record is above .500 but it hasn’t won a game since October 15. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers knows that times are tough with his time right now, but still thinks his players have it in them.

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers roams the sideline during his team's 38-3 loss to Florida State last Saturday.

“They understand that they put so much into it that losing doesn’t feel good to them, it doesn’t feel good to us. But they also understand that they get another opportunity to do it again,” the head coach said.

It’s been a tough stretch for the ‘Cuse but Babers thinks his squad is built for times like this.

“Players are tough, players have integrity, they have character, they have competitiveness,” Babers said.

Coverage on WAER starts at 7:30 p.m. with McClurg Team Countdown to Kickoff.