The Syracuse Orange will visit the Missouri Tigers Saturday (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU) for a non-conference college football game at Memorial Stadium. Both the Orange (5-5) and Tigers (5-5) will be trying to become bowl eligible with a victory.
According to oddsmakers, Missouri will enter the game as a 6-point favorite over Syracuse. The point spread is not much different than the opening line which was 6.5 points in favor of the Tigers. The over/under is set at 54 points.
Earlier in the week, SB Nation New York wrote a detailed preview of the match-up, and the biggest difference maker in the game was going to be Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The 6'4, 295-pound junior leads the Tigers and all SEC interior lineman in tackles (70) and was schedule to line up against two undersized offensive linemen in Orange center Macky MacPherson (6'2, 282) and guard Rob Trudo (6'3, 282).
On Thursday night, it was reported Richardson was not going to play in the contest due to a suspension.
This is a big loss for the Missouri defense, which has to try and slow down a potent Syracuse offense, which ranks 20th in the nation in passing (301.9 yards per game) and 56th in rushing (167.9 ypg).
Despite the loss, the Tigers still have a weapon the Orange have struggled to defend under the leadership of head coach Doug Marrone - a dual-threat quarterback.
Last season, the Tigers' signal caller, James Franklin, narrowly missed out on a 3,000-yard/1,000-yard rushing season. Though, Franklin has struggled a bit this year, mainly because he's been hurt, it seems he might be coming into form at the right time.
If Franklin can use both his legs and spread the ball out with his arms the Tigers have a great shot to win.
Meanwhile, two things will be key for a Syracuse victory: turnovers and red zone production.
When the Orange have fewer or the same number of turnovers as their opponent they are 5-0. When they have lost the turnover battle they're 0-5.
Also, Syracuse's offense will move the ball its just whether or not it will move the ball into the end zone or settling for a field goal, an option that has been very shaky this season.
If the Orange can do both of those things well, they will have a solid shot at a victory.
Final score: Syracuse 31, Missouri 27.