Offense: Devante McFarlane, (Redshirt) Junior RB
Devante McFarlane is listed as Syracuse's starting running back, however he did not play last week in the Orange's 47-0 win over Rhode Island. He was banged up from practice but was ready to go if the Orange needed him (they clearly did not). He is expected to play this Saturday against Wake Forest. McFarlane had the most rushing yards of any returning back for the Orange in 2014, though that was just 169 yards on 28 carries. Unfortunately, 114 of those yards came in Syracuse's 30-7 over Wake Forest. With Freshman QB Eric Dungey replacing the injured Terrel Hunt, look for Syracuse to rely on their run game a little more than they normally would.
Defense: Zaire Franklin, Sophomore LB
As a Freshman, Zaire Franklin started in 3 games and led all Syracuse freshmen in tackles with 44. He also recorded 2 sacks for the Syracuse defense. Now, as a starter, he has the ability to greatly impact the game on the defensive side of the ball. Against Wake Forest last year, Syracuse blitzed linebackers on several plays and the O-line did not handle them very well. Syracuse knocked Wolford out of the game and got a pick 6 on the same play off of a linebacker blitz. Then, later in the game, the Orange picked up a fumble by Tyler Cameron caused by a Franklin blitz, and ran it in for a touchdown. On these blitzes the linebacker came in completely untouched by anyone and had a free shot at the QB. If the Deacs want to win this game and improve to 2-0, it will be extremely important that the O-line recognizes and blocks Franklin or the other LBs when they are blitzing.