After a breakout season, Dino Barbers and the Syracuse Orange start their season with a road test against FBS newcomer Liberty on Saturday.
The game (6 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch it live right here on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of dozens of college football games and other live sports every week, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch Syracuse vs Liberty live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Syracuse vs Liberty Preview
Finishing tied for the second-best record in the ACC along with the most wins for the program since 2001, the Syracuse Orange come into 2019 with some hefty expectations. Dino Barbers has done an excellent job at filling the Orange’s pipeline with quality depth and talent at nearly every position. While they have to break in a new quarterback in Tommy Devito, they have plenty of help in the form of a deep stable of running backs and quality depth at wide reciever. The line saw some heavy turnover and their ability to fill those voids should play a big role in the overall success of the team. If the line can create openings for the backs and give Devito time to throw, the Orange could very well be in line to improve on an excellent 2018 season.
The Orange also return tons of talent on the defensive side of the football as well. With a battle-tested line and secondary, the Orange look surprisingly close to their 2018 version. Even down to question marks at linebacker, this unit is shaping up to be fairly comparable to their 2018 counterparts – which should bode well for the Orange.
Liberty heads into their second season in the FBS behind longtime quarterback Stephen Calvert. Despite playing in a pass-happy offense, Calvert struggled relative to his FCS success in 2017 as he saw his completion percentage drop considerably while his turnovers skyrocketed. With an FBS season under his belt now, Calvert’s ability to adjust and make smarter reads with the football should be improved. If he can improve efficiency and avoid repeatedly handing the ball to opposing teams, Liberty has a chance to build on last season’s 6-6 campaign.
Head coach Hugh Freeze has done an excellent job at recruiting talent to Liberty, specifically talent on the defensive side of the football. A quality mix of incoming freshman and some impact JUCO players, Freeze’s reinforcements should play a major role in helping turn around a defense that finished 118th out of 130 FBS programs in total defense. Calvert and the offense will move the football with regularity, so any improvement on their dismal 2018 season should yield some big results for the Flames.
As exciting as Liberty’s jump to the FBS level has been, Dino Barbers has Syracuse loaded to the gills with talent and ready to establish themselves as a perennial power in the loaded ACC. Look for Syracuse to come out and send a statement against a deceptively good Liberty team.
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