WNUR’s Predictions: Northwestern football versus Syracuse

The WNUR Sports crew provides their predictions of the victor, score and player to watch for Saturday’s contest between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Syracuse Orange.

Zach Kisfalusi (@zKisfalusi): Northwestern, 31-17. Both of these teams are heading in opposite directions. The secondaries of both squads look to be a place of concern, so the player to watch is non-other than senior WR Rashad Lawrence. Expect this game to be lively with a Blackhawks flare. Northwestern keeps on winning this week.

Jim Sannes (@JimSannes): Northwestern, 27-21. This game may be bit closer than originally thought solely due to the number of critical injuries the ‘Cats have suffered thus far. No Daniel Jones for the rest of the season and the possibility of no Colter or Mark should make ‘Cats fans a bit nervous, but the depth of this team should help them overcome the losses. Player to Watch: Ibraheim Campbell. As he showed against Cal last week, the man has some serious ball skills. Look for the Orange to try to attack Dwight White and for Campbell to be the antidote.

Greg Mroz (@GregDMroz): Northwestern, 27-14. This will be a game that you might expect to see some guys look a little bit tired. The game at Cal took a lot out of the team, and as we saw last year, Syracuse is no pushover. What will be important though is how the run game responds if Kain Colter doesnt play. If its just Siemian, the backfield will get a lot of the workload, and that will fall on guys like Treyvon Green and Mike Trumpy. Yet, the pass defense needs to show that it can do better than their output at Cal. Player to watch: Dwight White.

Tralon Williams (@itsyaboytray): Northwestern, 44-17. Syracuse gave NU no reason to think this will be a challenge. The defense showed sparkles of high-level play, but still looked amateur against a freshman QB and the offense was terrible all game. That being said, NU has to bounce back from some key injuries, most notably Dwight White stepping into the starting role following the Daniel Jones injury. The offense should be good to go regardless of who takes the field at QB and RB but the biggest catchup here will for sure be the secondary vs Cuse QB Drew Allen. Player to Watch: Dwight White. I said on the SportsVoice as my “Bold prediction” that he would be a freshman All-American. He is going to have to take a big step in that campaign today to put many fans at ease after last week’s rocky start.

Jeffrey Eisenband (@JeffEisenband): Northwestern, 34-20. ‘Cuse showed a lot of guts last week against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions are considerably worse than they were in 2012. In Berkeley, the ‘Cats looked shaky for three quarters, but the defense woke up in the fourth. Expect that pass rush and tight coverage to carry over into this Saturday. Player to Watch: Nick VanHoose.

Eric Klaus (@EKlaus1): Northwestern, 31-23. Northwestern takes the lead early after picking off Syracuse QB Drew Allen twice in the first half. Dan Vitale and Treyvon Green continue to carry the NU offense, scoring a touchdown apiece, and Kain Colter helps salt away the victory with two clock-killing drives in the 4th quarter. Player to Watch: Treyvon Green.

Cameron Songer (@CameronSonger): Northwestern, 27-14. Northwestern should have a ton of confidence about this game. The Wildcats just proved that they can win with Colter and Mark spending a lot of time on the sidelines, plus this game’s at Ryan Field. Player to Watch: Collin Ellis, who will have more of a spotlight on him after his 2 interceptions at Cal. As long as the national recognition doesn’t go to his head, the ‘Cats are fine.

Nick Petro (@NickPetro15): Northwestern, 34-24. After watching Syracuse’s new quarterback (5th-year senior and Oklahoma transfer) Drew Allen struggle against Penn State (16-37, 189 yards, 2 INTs), I was very tempted to pick Northwestern in a multi-touchdown victory. However, I have doubts as to the availability of both Kain Colter and Venric Mark; thus, the ‘Cats may be in for yet another nailbiter… hey, what else is new? Player to Watch: CB Dwight White. After a season-ending injury to Daniel Jones, the redshirt freshman must grow up fast in his new starting role. Jared Goff and Cal’s speedy receiving corp burned him a couple times last weekend.

Gordon Voit (@GordonVoit): Northwestern, 34-20. Syracuse’s Dyshawn Davis and Marquis Spruill are a fine pair of linebackers, but there’s not enough talent around them to be truly effective. That lack of balance means OC Mick McCall can be more aggressive with his efforts to neutralize Davis and Spruill with the superback corps and weaksiders Ian Park and Paul Jorgensen. Player to Watch: Tyler Scott, who will threaten Syracuse’s smallish offensive line throughout the game.

Enrique Perez (@EPerez1792): Northwestern, 31-17. NU’s offense puts up points–regardless of starting quarterback–thanks to a solid performance from the offensive line while the defense forces a key turnover to stop any momentum from the opposition. Syracuse quarterback Drew Allen will continue struggling in succeeding Ryan Nassib–who threw for 4 touchdowns last season against NU. The defensive line should trouble the Syracuse offense throughout game. Player to Watch: Tyler Scott.

Ben Goren: Northwestern, 38-17. I predicted a coast to victory last week and was shown up by a true freshman qb who nearly stole a victory from the Cats. No drama this week. The NU passing game and Christian Jones will prove too much for an Orangemen team still reeling from the loss of Ryan Nassib as the Wildcats win. Player to Watch: Christian Jones.

Nick Scoliard: Northwestern, 42-31. With Colter and Mark still questionable, the passing attack led by Siemian and Christian Jones will have to lead the offense. The key for the ‘Cats will be stopping ‘Cuse QB Drew Allen from attacking the weak Northwestern secondary. All eyes will be on CB Dwight White to see if he can replace Daniel Jones after being torched in the last game. Player to Watch: Dwight White.

Kevin Harris (@KevinGoesCats): While this game has the potential to be a trap game for the ‘Cats, I expect them to run away with the game in the second half following a slow start. NU will once again win the decisive turnover battle and Trevor Siemian will once again throw for over 200 yards with Venric Mark and Kain Colter seeing very limited action. Although running back Ashton Broyld has the potential to be a threat, look for the Wildcat defense to once again stop the run as they also put a lot more pressure on Drew Allen when he drops back (Tyler Scott will have at least two sacks in this one). Player to Watch: Dwight White. Following Daniel Jones’ season ending injury, expect Syracuse to throw in White’s direction a lot as they try and take advantage of his inexperience like Cal managed to do in the second half last week.

Preston Michelson (@PrestonMich): Northwestern, 27-17. Syracuse’s defense played pretty well against a modest Penn State team with a freshman quarterback in Christian Hackenberg en route to a 23-17 demise. Their offense, however, left a little to be desired. If Colter returns for Saturday’s game, the Wildcats will give the Orange quite a bit of trouble. Player to Watch: Dan Vitale.

Jesse Kirsch (@JesseRKirsch): Northwestern, 35-20. Northwestern showed why it’s a top-20 team with its season opening win at Cal. Syracuse, conversely, had a mediocre debut with the ACC–the Orange put up half the offense, punted the ball away twice as much, and didn’t pass for any TDs (suggesting that Dwight White will not deal with as much traffic this Saturday). Overall, the Wildcats capitalized on defense (a pair of pick-6s by Ellis) and offense alike, despite dramatic injury to a pair of lethal rushers–they should come in with confidence and squeeze the orange for their home opener. Player to Watch: Treyvon Green is an intriguing character for Saturday’s matchup. With Mark recovering from pre-season injury, Green ran for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns at Cal–both double his SEASON totals from last year. With Venric Mark’s status at “day to day,” Green has another opportunity to put up big numbers and lead the Wildcat charge.

Bob Hayes (@_BobHayes_): Northwestern, 34-20. Facing an inexperienced Syracuse team, Northwestern should be able to flex their muscles in the Wildcats’ first home game of the year. The injury to Daniel Jones leaves questions about the shaky secondary for the rest of the season, but there’s no better time to break in Dwight White than against a new quarterback. Whether the NU offense is led by Colter and Mark or Siemian and Green, it will be difficult for this Syracuse offense to keep up with the Wildcats. Player to Watch: Northwestern’s defensive line. They need to shut down the running game and force the pressure onto Syracuse QB Drew Allen, who went 16-37 with two interceptions last week. Forcing Allen to be a playmaker is the key to success in this week’s game.

Predictions from the Crowd

Harry Swartout: NU over Syracuse: 35-21. Trevor Siemian 2 TDs no picks.

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