It feels like a long time ago now that Syracuse (4-5, 2-3) knocked off the defending national champions in the Carrier Dome. After a pair of road losses and a bye week, the Orange heads home to take on Wake Forest (5-4, 2-3).
This ACC matchup will feature two high-flying offenses and two defenses searching for answers.
Syracuse's most recent game was a disappointing loss to Florida State, 27-24. Cole Murphy missed the potential game-tying field goal in the closing seconds that would have sent the game to overtime. The Orange struggled to contain the big plays for the Seminoles, as Florida State recorded touchdowns of 51, 54 and 63 yards.
That defense will need to step up against a Wake Forest team that lost in a shootout a week ago against Notre Dame. The Demon Deacons amassed 587 yards of offense and scored 37 points against a top-20 scoring defense. The defense lagged well behind though, allowing over 700 yards of offense.
Head Coach Dino Babers enters the game as the mastermind behind the 18th ranked offense in the country. He and quarterback Eric Dungey have Syracuse knocking on the door of its first bowl game since 2013. Dungey has struggled to take care of the ball this year though. His decision-making will be the key for the Orange. Syracuse is 3-0 when he doesn't throw an interception and 1-5 when he does.
In order to make it there, Syracuse likely needs to win two of its last three games. Avenging its loss from a year ago to Wake Forest would be a good first step. The Demon Deacons dispatched the Orange in Winston-Salem, 28-9. It was a rain soaked affair due to the conditions from Hurricane Matthew.
Weather will not be a factor inside the Carrier Dome, but that could aid the efficient Wake Forest passing attack. Wake averages 8.7 yards per attempt, which ranks 14th in the nation. Alex Bachman will likely be the center of attention for the Deacon offense again. The junior receiver is coming off an eight-catch, 144-yard performance.
However, the last time these two teams played in the Dome, Syracuse won 30-17 in 2015. Dungey was just beginning his Syracuse career, as it was his second career game.