Every week, Syracuse coach Dino Babers stresses the importance of respecting the opponent. This week, that message carries a special meaning for Babers and the undefeated Orange.
Syracuse (3-0) will wrap up non-league play Saturday when it hosts Army (2-1) on Military Appreciation Day.
“It’s a prideful thing,” said Babers, who grew up in a military family. “I told the guys, ‘Hey, these guys are different.’ They’re out there protecting us, and we need to give them the respect they deserve. One of the things they would want us to do is play the best game that we can play.
“I’m talking about a team that is very capable of beating us. The way they play the game and the way their head coach coaches the game — I tip my hat to them. I have a lot of respect for them.”
The Black Knights may have their hands full with Orange quarterback Garrett Shrader, who rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns in last weekend’s 35-20 win at Purdue. He also passed for 184 yards.
The Syracuse offense is averaging 542.7 yards per game — fifth in the nation — despite the absence of star tight end Oronde Gadsden II, who is out for the season with a foot injury.
Army enters Saturday’s game on the heels of a 37-29 win at UTSA in which Hayden Reed and Bryson Daily combined for 207 rushing yards. Both found the end zone on the ground, while Daily also passed for 133 yards and a score.
As a team, the Black Knights are averaging 235.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks ninth nationally.
“Our guys want to line up and run around and knock people off the ball,” said Army coach Jeff Monken, who signed a multi-year contract extension earlier this week. “We’ve got to play a different style of game — and that’s running the football, controlling the clock, and limiting possessions. That’s always been our philosophy here.”
This will be the 22nd meeting between the schools, albeit the first since 1996. The Orange lead the all-time series 11-10.
–Field Level Media