SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Hello from the Carrier Dome, where most everybody expects No. 9 Louisville to face a tough challenge from Syracuse.
One of the big themes this week has been how much better Syracuse has played at home -- going 3-1 in the Dome this season. Its only loss here was in the opener against Northwestern, a heartbreaking 42-41 decision that was decided in the closing minutes.
But here is another point to remember: Louisville has done well on the road this season, going 3-0 away from home. More than that, the Cardinals have won six straight regular-season road games dating to last season. Now, none of that is to say the Cardinals are going to have a cakewalk. Those who have paid close attention know Louisville has had its share of road drama this season, needing second-half comebacks to beat Southern Miss and Pitt.
In fact, Louisville has fallen behind in all three of its road games this season, getting outscored 52-43 in the first half. But pay particular attention to the third quarter: Louisville has shut out its opposition 31-0 in that period in its three road games. For some of its warts, this Louisville team is one that simply never quits.
You can definitely bet Syracuse will not be intimidated facing one of the top-ranked teams in the nation. Back in Week 2, the Orange took No. 2 USC down to the wire, playing with the Trojans for three quarters before ultimately losing 42-29. I mentioned the loss to No. 24 Northwestern. And they also hung with then-No. 20 Rutgers a few weeks ago, before losing 23-15.
Plus, there is plenty on the line for the Orange. A win allows them to keep their bowl hopes alive. If they lose, they would need to beat both Missouri and Temple to become bowl-eligible. This is also senior day, so that could be an extra source of motivation. Ryan Nassib has had huge games in the Dome, and this is his final performance at home, along with starters Zack Chibane, Siriki Diabate, Alec Lemon, Deon Goggins, Marcus Sales, Brandon Sharpe and Shamarko Thomas.