Beat writers split on No. 16 Syracuse’s matchup with No. 9 Army

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 21, 2018 at 10:56 pm No. 16 Syracuse (1-1) comes off a blowout, 15-3 loss to new No. 2 Albany last Saturday. The Orange looks to bounce back against No. 9 Army (3-0) on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. Army just took down then-No. 11 Rutgers in its last outing. SU lost, 14-13, to Army in the Dome last year, so the Orange will have two trends to overcome on Saturday.Charlie DiSturcoTango DownSyracuse 12, Army 10After an obliteration by Albany in the Carrier Dome last weekend, Syracuse has tasted both success — a 21-4 rout of Binghamton — and failure. This week poses an interesting matchup for the Orange, as it fell to Army last year on a game-winner. This game is going to be intense and SU is out for vengeance. For Syracuse to pull away from Army, it will have to rely on faceoff specialist Danny Varello, who enters Saturday after a 3-for-13 performance at the faceoff X last week. He nearly led a comeback in last year’s game and while Army sports a new faceoff specialist, Varello will be crucial to giving Syracuse’s offense more possession time. In a game that will remain close for its entirety, Syracuse will pull away at the end because of its veteran defense and successful man-down unit to date. Expect Varello to bounce back and SU’s offense to string together a way-better performance than its three-goal output to Albany a week ago.Matt LibermanSalute the TroopsArmy 13, Syracuse 10Coming off a historically bad offensive performance against then No. 4 Albany, Syracuse will have to generate more opportunities to keep up in this one. Army returns nearly its entire offense from a team that downed SU 14-13 last year in the Carrier Dome, and the Black Knights just took down a loaded then-No. 11 Rutgers (2-1) team that will give the Orange fits in a month’s time. Against Albany, Syracuse just couldn’t earn any possessions and its defense was gassed from playing the entire game. TD Ierlan walloped Danny Varello at the X, as the SU sophomore faceoff specialist finished just 3-13, the worst performance of his young career. Last year, in Ben Williams’ absence, Varello saw playing time in the second half of the Army matchup and nearly spurred a comeback victory. But Army’s then-senior Dan Grabher had never seen Varello before. Now the Black Knights have, and John Ragno is no slouch. The senior has won 67.6 percent of his face-offs including going 8-for-12 against Rutgers. If Syracuse wants to win, Varello must dominate the X, and I frankly don’t see that happening.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJosh SchaferTime for warSyracuse 11 Army 9A week ago Syracuse suffered its largest loss at home under 20-year head coach John Desko. That’s something that hits a team’s pride, both Tyson Bomberry and Desko affirmed in the postgame conference a week ago. Army enters the game off an impressive win at Rutgers but it would be surprising to see them play spoilers two weeks in a row. Syracuse learned last week that without winning possessions at the faceoff X it can’t win. Army ranks only two spots above Syracuse in the national rankings for faceoff winning percentage. Look for the Orange to bounce back there and on the scoreboard. Commentslast_img

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