Know the Foe: Syracuse
A look at Syracuse, which comes Friday to Raymond James Stadium
Wins: 47-0 vs. Rhode Island, 30-17 vs. Wake Forest, 30-27 (OT) vs. Central Michigan
Losses: 24-34 vs. LSU
Coach: Scott Shafer (third season, 13-16)
The breakdown: The Orange have been a difficult team to track on film, primarily because they already have used three starting quarterbacks. Freshman Eric Dungey (534 total yards), who missed the LSU game after taking a shot to the helmet against Central Michigan, is expected to start Saturday. He'll operate an offense that could intersperse a strong dose of triple-option. While not terribly prolific -- Syracuse's 350.8 yards a game rank 111th nationally -- the Orange are efficient. They've scored on 12 of 13 red-zone opportunities and haven't lost a fumble. Defensively, Shafer will dial up a smorgasbord of blitzes and fluctuate from a 4-3 (base) to a 3-4 (passing situations). Junior ends Ron Thompson and Luke Arciniega already have four sacks each.
Odds and ends: USF leads the all-time series, 6-2, but the teams' last meeting probably should count for at least two for the Orange. Down 20 at halftime, Syracuse got a 1-yard TD pass from Ryan Nassib to Alec Lemon with three seconds to play for a 37-36 triumph on Oct. 27, 2012. ... Syracuse already has used 15 true freshmen, tied for fourth-most nationally. ... The Orange have committed 17 penalties, third-fewest in the country. ... Syracuse's roster features former Armwood PK Sterling Hofrichter and former Largo CB Cordell Hudson.
Taggart's take: "They blitz and they get you off-schedule on offense and play hard and run to the ball. You’ve got to be sound in your protection and in your run scheme and making sure you get a hat on a hat with some of the blitzes that they do."
Tom Allen's take: "The thing about them is, they're not like Navy where they run the option all the time. Right now they're about 20 percent, and you may see more of that...as they get more in with their quarterback (Dungey)."