1. USF Bulls

Know the Foe: Syracuse

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 232 yards in the Orange's 45-24 loss to USF last season.
Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 232 yards in the Orange's 45-24 loss to USF last season.
Published Sep. 13, 2016

A look at Syracuse, which hosts USF on Saturday at the Carrier Dome

Nickname: Orange
Record: 1-1 (defeated Colgate 33-7 on Sept. 2; lost Friday to Louisville 62-28)
2015 record: 4-8
Coach: Dino Babers (first season, 1-1; fifth season overall, 38-17)
The breakdown: While the jury remains out on the long-term viability of the Orange offense, no one can deny its tempo creates headaches for defensive coordinators and oxygen deprivation for foes not ready for it. Syracuse averaged a play every 22.5 seconds against Colgate, and Babers said afterward it would be the slowest his team plays all year. Following the Louisville loss, that average fell to 20.3 seconds. Sophomore QB Eric Dungey, who had a decent game (232 passing yards, two TDs) against USF in the Bulls' 45-24 victory last season, leads the ACC with 59 completions and has thrown for five TDs. Two of his targets, redshirt senior Amba Etta-Tawo and junior Ervin Phillips, have 20 catches each. Etta-Tawo, a graduate transfer from Maryland, is second nationally with 313 receiving yards. ... Defensively, the Orange's cover-two scheme was exploited at will by Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (610 total yards) last week. Syracuse enters this game ranked 113th nationally in total defense (494.0 ypg)

Odds and ends: Syracuse still owns one of college football's greatest ironies -- the Carrier Dome has no air-conditioning. ... The Orange and Bulls combined rosters feature five Plant High alumni including Orange freshmen Scoop Bradshaw and Rex Culpepper. ... Among Babers' pupils is current New England Patriots starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw for 84 TDs and nearly 9,000 yards for Babers in only two seasons at Eastern Illinois. ... Orange P Sterling Hofrichter is an Armwood High alumnus. ... Orange WR Steve Ishmael has caught at least one pass in 14 consecutive games.

Willie Taggart's take: "They pick and choose when they want to go fast. You've got to make sure you're locked in defensively to what you want to do. I think the biggest thing is getting lined up, and that happens by getting the call in and allowing the guys to get set up and ready to play. If you're not lined up it will cause you big problems because they'll go fast and they'll go formation in the boundary and create some problems for you if you're not locked in to where guys are."