SYRACUSE BEGINS 131ST GRIDIRON CAMPAIGN
- Syracuse opens the season with a true road game for the third year in a row when it visits North Carolina on Sept. 12.
- Saturday’s game will air on ACC Network, with Wes Durham (PxP), Roddy Jones (analyst) and Taylor Davis (reporter) calling the action.
- Syracuse is looking to win its seventh-straight season opener, a streak that dates back to 2014.
It would be the longest season-opener win streak post WWII and third longest in program history behind 25-straight season-opening victories from 1918 to 1942 and 10 from 1900 to 1909.
- The 2020 season marks the Orange’s fifth under head coach Dino Babers. Babers’ tenure includes a 10-win season in 2018.
ORANGE IN SEASON OPENERS
- Syracuse holds an 84-42-4 record in season-opening contests.
- The team has won each of its past six season openers, defeating Liberty (2019), Western Michigan (2018), Central Connecticut State (2017), Colgate (2016), Rhode Island (2015) and Villanova (2014).
- This is the third straight season Syracuse has begun on the road, and second year in a row ‘Cuse will play its first two games away from the Dome. The Orange won at Liberty 30-0 last year and at Western Michigan 55-42 to open the 2018 campaign. This is the seventh time in program history that SU has started with back-to-back true road games, joining 2019, 2010, 2004, 1984, 1956 and The Orange also started away from home in consecutive weeks in 1962, 2001 and 2013 after playing neutral site contests to open the year, followed by a road game.
- This is the third time ‘Cuse has opened three-or-more straight seasons on the road. Syracuse did so from 2002-04, 1982-85 and 1964-66. That 2003 game was also at North Carolina, where Syracuse won in triple overtime, 49-47.
- The Orange are 8-2 in their last 10 season openers, including a 4-0 mark under head coach Dino Babers.
- This is the first time ‘Cuse has opened with an ACC opponent since joining the league in 2013 and just second time opening the year with a conference opponent since Syracuse first joined the BIG EAST in 1991. A 2005 loss vs. West Virginia is the lone prior season-opening conference game for the Orange.
- It’s also the latest season opener for SU since the team played in Mississippi State on Sept. 14 in 1985.
SERIES HISTORY • Saturday’s matchup is the sixth all-time meeting between Syracuse and North Carolina, and second as conference foes. • The last two meetings between the two teams needed extra time to decide a victor. Syracuse won the 2003 matchup 49-47, in what’s one-of-four games in program history to need more than two overtimes. SU won the last meeting in a second overtime, winning 40-37 in the Dome in 2018. • ‘Cuse won the first matchup in 1995, which was during Mack Brown’s first stint in Chapel Hill, and is 2-0 in their two prior trips to Chapel Hill. • With the 10-game conference slate this season, Syracuse will play four games against ACC Coastal opponents, including North Carolina, to start the season. ‘Cuse is 4-4 under head coach Dino Babers in games vs. the ACC Coastal. Babers is 3-3 vs. this year’s slate of teams, having faced North Carolina, Duke and Pitt in his Syracuse tenure. LAST TIME VS. NORTH CAROLINA • In what was QB Tommy DeVito’s first significant action, ‘Cuse rallied from down 27-20 late in the fourth quarter and won 40-37 in two overtimes thanks to a trio of DeVito touchdown passes. • DeVito threw for 181 yards after entering the game with 5:07 remaining in regulation. • A 42-yard touchdown pass to WR Nykeim Johnson tied the score in the fourth quarter. • DeVito tossed TD passes to Jamal Custis and Ravian Pierce in the overtime periods to come away with the win. • The comeback victory snapped a two-game losing skid and corrected the ship as ‘Cuse went on to finish 10-3 and win the Camping World Bowl in 2018.
NORTH CAROLINA NOTES
TAR HEELS AND ORANGE • North Carolina and Syracuse will meet in the 2020 season opener on Saturday, Sept. 12 in Chapel Hill for a noon kickoff on ACC Network. • The Tar Heels are coming off a 7-6 record in the 2019 season. UNC defeated Temple, 55-13, in the Military Bowl to earn its first winning season since 2016. • Syracuse posted a 5-7 overall record in 2019 and went 2-6 against the ACC, winning two of its last three games against Duke and Wake Forest. • The two teams matched up as conference opponents for the first time ever in 2018 in a three-overtime thriller that went to the host Orange, 40-37. • Carolina last hosted Syracuse in the 2003 campaign, and ironically enough, the Orange won in three overtimes that day as well, 49-47. • The Tar Heels first win against the Orange was a 27-10 win inside the Carrier Dome in 1996. • The first meeting in the series was held in Chapel Hill in 1995 and the result went in favor of the visiting Orange, 20-9. The game is probably best known as the launch of the Donovan McNabb era at SU. BROWN VS. SYRACUSE • Mack Brown is 1-1 all-time against Syracuse. • UNC lost 20-9 in the fi rst ever game between the two schools on the football field in 1995 in Kenan. • The following year the Tar Heels went into Central New York and came away with a 27-10 victory. PRESEASON RANKINGS • Carolina begins a season ranked for the first time since 2016. The Tar Heels were selected No. 18 in the Associated Press top 25 poll, while the Amway Coaches Poll listed UNC at No. 19. ACC PRESEASON POLL • Carolina is predicted to finish third in the ACC Preseason Poll. The Tar Heels trail only Clemson and Notre Dame in the 15-team poll. ALL-ACC HONORS • Three Tar Heels, Michael Carter (All-Purpose), Dazz Newsome (WR) and Chazz Surratt (LB), were named to the 2020 Preseason All-ACC Football Team. UP NEXT • Carolina hosts its lone non-conference game of the season next Saturday against in-state foe Charlotte. Kick-off is slated for 3:30 pm on ACC Regional Sports Network.
SEASON OPENER SUPERLATIVES • UNC is 83-42-4 in season-opening games, including a 36-31 mark since the ACC was formed in 1953. • Mack Brown is 25-6 all-time in season openers, including 9-2 as UNC’s head coach. • UNC won its season opener last year against South Carolina for the first time since a 56-29 victory over Liberty to begin 2014. • The win over the Gamecocks was UNC’s first victory over a Power 5 opponent to open a season since 1997 when head coach Mack Brown led the Tar Heels past Indiana in Chapel Hill, snapping an 11-game losing streak. • The Tar Heels will open the season with a home conference game for the first time since 2003 vs. Florida State. • Carolina’s last season-opening win against an ACC opponent was a 45-0 drubbing of Clemson in 2006.