The important news
Most of you have probably heart about Eric LeGrand, the RU junior tackle who was suffered a spinal chord injury on October 16th against Army, leaving him paralyzed. Earlier this week, he was transferred back to a rehabilitation center after being hospitalized with a high fever. You can donate or find out more information on the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund by clicking here.
In other news…
The bad news: Syracuse can’t seem to win at home.
The good news: The Orange will be on the road this weekend.
The bad news: If it clinches a bowl berth, it will be in front of people wearing red, not 40,000+ wearing orange.
The good news: It’s cold in New Jersey, which means there will be plenty of orange FACES as a result of tanning accidents.
More good news: I’ll be there!
Yes, I will be present and tweeting live from Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway, NJ as Syracuse tries again to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2004, when the newly crowned Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni was at the helm. The struggling Scarlet Knights are all that stands between SU and a football game in December. On the flip side, at 4-4 Rutgers is in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2005. The Scarlet Knights are coming off an awful loss to South Florida last Thursday, in which they recorded a safety. Syracuse is looking to rebound from last week’s 28-20 home loss to Louisville.
Here’s what the Orange must do to get its coveted 7th win of the season:
Delone, Delone, Delone
Rutgers has the second-worst rush defense in the league, giving up xxx yards per game on the ground. What does that mean? A career day for Delone Carter, providing his hip holds up. You could tell DC3 was not 100% against Louisville as he ran out of bounds whenever possible to avoid contact. He had a pretty good day for an injured back though, once again leading the Orange with xxx yards. Look out for Antwon Bailey, too. After mostly using him as a receiver earlier in the season, Bailey has been getting more carries lately. Against the Cards, he rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries.
On the Receiving End…
The passing game has taken a step back since Big East play began, and injuries aren’t helping. Both Van Chew and Alec Lemon missed practice time this week with injuries. Chew, who leads SU with 33 receptions, 519 yards, and five touchdowns, was recovering from “bumps and bruises. ‘Cuse’s second-leading receiver, Lemon, injured his left hand in the second half against Louisville (after his two brutal dropped passes). Those drops didn’t help Nassib’s 56.1% completion percentage. Although he has been hurt by a lack of a deep threat and a weak offensive line, the junior signal caller could stand to work on his accuracy. Rutgers’ weak secondary might be just what the doctor ordered for the Orange. The Scarlet Knights have not caught an interception in over a month (November 8th vs. UCONN), so SU should look to use this as an opportunity to improve its passing game.
Once again, the Orange is facing a team whose starting QB is “subject to change.” Right now, Chass Dodd is slated to start, but that could change if Schiano likes what he sees out of recently-demoted starter Tom Savage. The Scarlet Knights offense is averaging just 292 yards per game (113th in the country), so hopefully this will help the SU defense return to form. They might need to because as we saw last week, the Orange has an inconsistent offense—especially in the air– that has been masked by the exceptional play of the D.
Watch Your Backs
In three of their four victories, Rutgers has come from behind, so please do not pop the champagne until the ‘Cuse is in its victory formation. Remember, there are bowl implications for RU, too.
Fool me once, shame on you…Fool me twice?
You might remember the last time these two teams matched up. Really, how could you forget if you’re a ‘Cuse fan? On Senior Day 2009, Syracuse upset Rutgers 31-13 at the Carrier Dome. Well, the Scarlet Knights haven’t forgotten either. In fact, they’ve been watching film from that game in order to learn from last year’s mistakes. This could be a hard-fought, emotional game for both sides. Syracuse will need to channel those emotions into good, sound football on Saturday.
Ryan Krautman does his best Jeremy Ito impression, prompting the SU sideline to do their best Pauly D impressions. Fist pump!
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.