“Who says you can’t go back, been all around the world and as a matter of fact There’s only one place left I want to go, who says you can’t go home.”
–Bon Jovi “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?“
After traveling nearly 3, 000 miles to and from Akron and Washington for their first two games, SU football players will get to sleep in their own beds this weekend. Hopefully, they are not having nightmares about Jermaine Kearse.
As difficult as it was to watch Kearse score three touchdowns and Jake Locker throw for 289 yards, let’s face it: that was supposed to happen. Maybe we all got too excited after the Orange D held Akron to 166 yards in Week 1, but at the end of the day SU lost to a team it was supposed to loose to. On Saturday, Syracuse will look to rebound in its home opener against the University of Maine: a team it is supposed to beat.
“You have to learn, and you have to face it,” head coach Doug Marrone said. “And you have to focus on in your next opponent, knowing that you control what you do, not anybody else around you.”
On that note, let’s join Marrone and focus on Maine, shall we?
Fast Facts About the Black Bears
- The Black Bears are part of the Colonial Athletic Conference.
- Maine, a Division 1-AA program, is 1-1 after losing 3-0 to Albany (yes, really) in Week 1 and beating perennial Jersey powerhouse 31-23 last weekend. Can you sense the sarcasm through your computer screens?
- SU beat Maine 41-24 last year but trailed 17-13 at halftime.
- Freshman kick returner Prince-Tyson Gulley will play this Saturday despite having a “stiff leg”
- Senior cornerback Kevyn Scott will sit out for the second straight game.
- Walk- on quarterback Nick Raven suffered a season-ending torn ACL on Saturday.
What to Watch for
SU falling into “the trap”
You know that cliché that a team “plays to its competition?” Syracuse cannot afford to do that on Saturday. It is not that good nor
does it have a good rapport built up with its fan base to get any “passes” for sloppy play against a far inferior team. There are no automatic wins in football. Just ask Virginia Tech.
“I think that if we were a top team that’s won consistently for a long period of time — and some people refer to these as ‘trap’ games — you might take them for granted,” Marrone said. “We’re not even close to that stage.”
The Orange can’t just beat Maine. This game should not even be a contest. SU needs to make sure it is continuing to play aggressive defense, cut down on penalties and turnovers, and put some serious points on the board. If this game is close, expect to hear some groans in the Carrier Dome stands even if the Orange does walk away with a W.
If this game winds up being the blow out we are all hoping for/expecting, look for Doug Marrone to give some of his younger and less experienced players involved. Depth and lack of game experience are issues for the Orange on some units, especially on the oft-complained about offensive line. Look for Marrone to try to give true-freshman Macky MacPherson some playing time at center. Gulley, who has been a big part of the special teams unit for the first two games (for better or for worse, but remember: the kid is just a freshman), could see some time at tailback. Marrone is impressed with his development and speed thus far. Plus, having another player in the backfield could help SU finally get its running game going.
The more playing time the youngins get the better. SU could use some extra hands and options as it gears up for Big East play or as insurance if the injury bug bites again. A little internal competition might not hurt, either. If any of these players really stand out in the next two games, it might keep the starters motivated to keep working and playing hard so they don’t lose their spots.
Short Leash for Maine’s QB?
In Maine’s abysmal and embarrassing first game against against Albany, head coach Jack Cosgrove benched starting QB Warren Smith in favor of Chris Treister. Smith, a Jersey native who beat out Treister for the starting spot in camp, was 5-13 with 49 passing yards and one interception in the first half. The Jersey native rebounded in his home state, going 17-26 and throwing for 433 yards against Monmouth last weekend. If Maine gets off to another sluggish start, you have to wonder if Smith will be watching another second half from the sidelines. By the way, Treister did not fare that much better against the Great Danes, going 7-17 with 63 yards and never moving the ball past the Albany 30 yard line.
Threat to Run: Jared Turcotte
Junior tailback Jared Turcotte is the Black Bear’s biggest offensive threat. Turcotte rushed for 144 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns against Monmouth despite playing with a hip injury. The Orange D has been very solid against the run under Scott Shafer. Expect Turcotte to have a rough night against the much-improved unit.
The Orange avoids “the trap” and takes care of business at home.
- Syracuse is 14-16 in Dome home openers.
- Newly inducted Football Hall of Famer Floyd Little will be honored at half time.
- No new date has been set for Delone Carter’s court appearance. The redshirt senior runnin gback was supposed to appear in Syracuse Court on Tuesday on misdemeanor assault charges stemming from an off-field fight in February.
Follow me on the twitter! I’ll be tweeting about SU football during the game. Go Orange!
About the Author
Written by Beth Ann Clyde
I graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 and can count the number of times I witnessed the Orange win a football game on two hands.