Syracuse Preview

Last week the Hurricanes lost their second straight game of the season falling to Tennessee 10-6 at the Orange Bowl. It was the first time the ‘Canes had not scored a touchdown in the Orange Bowl since 1984. Jarrett Payton who had 91 yards rushing on 15 carries led them. The Orangemen got back on a winning note last week defeating Temple 41-17.

Syracuse Orangemen (5-3, 2-2) vs. #14 Miami Hurricanes (7-2, 3-1)
Orange Bowl – Miami, Florida
November 15 – 12:00 PM Eastern on ESPN Regional

Syracuse scored touchdowns in every quarter and was able to use a lot of players in the game. Walter Reyes who rushed for 107 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns led the Orangemen.

Last year Miami defeated Syracuse 49-7 as Miami racked up 565 yards in total offense to Syracuse's 305 yards. Ken Dorsey who threw for 345 yards and Willis McGahee who ran for 134 yards led Miami. Miami outscored Syracuse 28-0 in the second half to move their winning streak against Syracuse up to four games. The last time Syracuse defeated Miami was in 1998 by the score of 66-13 at Syracuse.

Syracuse Orangemen - Notes and Quotes

Syracuse has had an up and down season failing to win more than two games in a row. The Orangemen look to win their second consecutive game after defeating Temple last week. They are looking forward to the challenge against the 14th ranked Hurricanes.

"Miami has great players," head coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "The coaching staff does a great job with kids who are very talented. They are a very gifted team."

Over the years Syracuse and Miami have not quite developed a rivalry the way the teams had hoped. Miami has won the last four games by an average score of 43-5 including two shutouts.

"You are always disappointed in a loss," Pasqualoni said. "I just wish we had played better against them. That's all. You just wish, over the years, that you had played consistently a little bit better. They have had, obviously, some of the best teams in the history of I-A football. We've played them in a stretch where they've been awfully good. It's a turnover here, a missed block there. It's always a culmination of a little bit of a lack of execution and turnovers. Before you know it, against a team like that and like the teams they have had and the talent they have, it gets out of whack."

The back-to-back losses for Miami does not mean they are beatable as ever.

"I'm sure they are really going to focus on what they have to get done this week," Pasqualoni said. "I'm not so sure they are as beatable as ever. I'm sure they paying strict attention to all the details this week. It certainly doesn't make it easier." Kids in football, like the kids here, are very competitive. Football attracts very competitive people. Like our kids would respond with great attitude and effort, you have to say that Miami will respond with great attitude and effort. They will come out. They can still accomplish what I'm sure they want to accomplished this year which is win The Big East Conference Championship. They are still in the hunt for that. We are sure they will come out and play their best game."

Miami is going with a new quarterback this week with Derrick Crudup. Berlin and Crudup have different strengths and weakness. The Orangemen know what to expect with Crudup at the helm.

"We know Derrick. Derrick's father played at Oklahoma so Derrick's had football in his blood for a long time," Pasqualoni said. "He's an outstanding quarterback. He is a big guy. He's an excellent drop-back passer. He has a quick release. He can beat you with his feet as well as his arm. He's very strong. He can run. Now you have to get ready for two quarterbacks and the style of two quarterbacks. Brock Berlin has a great arm. He's an excellent drop-back passer. Derrick is probably a little bit more mobile, probably a little faster and probably more dangerous with the run."

The game against the Hurricanes wont be an easy one for the Orangemen, but they know that they need to do in order to win.

"You have to go in there and you have to execute," Pasqualoni said. "You have to play well. You can't give up big plays on defense. You have to play field position. On Saturday (against Temple), we were fortunate in the fact that, defensively we come up with the ball a couple of times and put it on the short field for the offense. The offense was able to turn two turnovers into two scores early in the game. When those things are happening and you are playing well on special teams, you have a chance to beat anybody. That is what it is going to take."

Miami Hurricanes - Notes and Quotes

The Hurricanes will be shaking things up in their starting lineup this weekend. Derrick Crudup takes over for Brock Berlin at quarterback earning his first career start. Also out of the starting lineup due to repeated penalty infractions are Kellen Winslow and Joel Rodriguez. Joe McGrath, who was expected to be a starter before suffering a leg injury prior to the season, is expected to make his first career start replacing Rodriguez.

Penalties have been a back-breaker for the Hurricanes this season especially in their last loss against Tennessee. Winslow and Rodriguez are out of the starting lineup based on their repeated penalties.

"It goes hand in hand with losing," offensive linemen coach Art Kehoe said. "How frustrating is losing? That's how frustrating the penalties are. They have been a problem all year long. We are doing the best we can to address any problems we have on this football team. If it means someone has to get benched, then that's what we will do to get this ship right."

There are many ways to correct continuous penalties but often times there is no better tool than the bench.

"I think the bench has always been the coaches best vehicle in sports history," Kehoe said. It's the best thing I know of. And Joel has actually been playing pretty good. He just had that one holding call that was disastrous. We have talked with him before about that. I told him if he gets another holding penalty that he would sit with me and watch the game. We are playing hard and we are playing tough, but sometimes we are not playing smart."

The Big East has been a tough conference thus far and this week looks to be no different. "We have a very fine Syracuse football team coming into the Orange Bowl on Saturday," head coach Larry Coker said. "We are going to have to play a great football game to stop (Walter) Reyes, R.J. Anderson and some of their other veteran players on offense. On defense they really swarm to the ball."

Although Syracuse is not the same caliber of team the Hurricanes have faced in their last two games, it will still be a tough game. The Hurricanes know what kind of team Syracuse is despite their 5-3 record.

"They are a great team," offensive lineman Joe McGrath said. "They are very physical and they come at you all of the time. They are a group of hard-workers and they are a bit on the ropes right now at 5-3. They are going to come at us with everything they got."

Syracuse will come at the Hurricanes with a lot of different looks. The Hurricanes defense must be ready to adjust to avoid potential miss-match problems.

"They like to do a lot of shifting of formations," cornerback Kelly Jennings said. "We have been watching film so we know what defensive formation to use against them."

Syracuse is led by two stellar offensive players in junior tailback Walter Reyes, who ranks eighth in the country in rushing yards per game, and senior quarterback R.J. Anderson, who has been the starting quarterback since the second half of his freshman season.

"From what I see he (Reyes) is a pretty good back," Jennings said. "We know that and we just have to remember to wrap him up when we make a tackle. Their quarterback (Anderson) is kind of a mobile guy, kind of shifty. We have to watch for that also."

Miami Hurricanes – Projected Starters

QB Derrick Crudup Junior
TB Jarrett Payton Senior
FB Quadtrine Hill Sophomore
TE Kevin Everett Junior
WR Kevin Beard Senior
WR Ryan Moore Freshman
LT Rashad Butler Sophomore
LG Eric Winston Sophomore
C Chris Myers Junior
RG Joe McGrath Senior
RT Carlos Joseph Senior

LE Bryan Pata Freshman
LT Kareem Brown Freshman
RT Vince Wilfork Junior
RE Thomas Carroll Sophomore
WLB D.J. Williams Senior
MLB Jonathan Vilma Senior
SLB Darrell McClover Senior
CB Antrel Rolle Junior
CB Alfonso Marshall Senior
FS Sean Taylor Junior
SS Maurice Sikes Senior

Hurricane Injury Status

OL Joel Rodriguez (Shoulder) Probable
TB Jarrett Payton (Shoulder) Probable
OL Alex Pou (Ankle) Questionable
OL Vernon Carey (Ankle) Doubtful
CB Travarous Bain (Shoulder) Out
CB Glenn Sharpe (Knee) Out
DT Santonio Thomas (Knee) Out
DT Orien Harris (Knee) Out
FB Talib Humphrey (Achilles) Out
TB Frank Gore (Knee) Out

Team Leaders

Miami

Passing – Brock Berlin (1981 yards 62% 9 TD 14 Int)
Rushing – Jarrett Payton (580 yards 5.0 avg 5 TD)
Receiving – Kellen Winslow (51 rec 527 yards 1 TD) Ryan Moore (35 rec 457 yards 2 TD)
Defense – Sean Taylor (57 tackles 6 Int) Jonathan Vilma (82 tackles) Vince Wilfork (5 sacks)
Kicking – Jon Peattie (16-20 FG 26-26 XP)

Syracuse

Passing – R.J. Anderson (1373 yards 62% 8 TD 3 Int)
Rushing – Walter Reyes (966 yards 5.4 avg 14 TD)
Receiving – Johnnie Morant (32 rec 545 yards 4 TD) Jared Jones (24 rec 209 yards)
Defense – Rich Scanlon (90 tackles) Louis Gachelin (3 sacks) Anthony Smith (3 Int)
Kicking – Colin Barber (9-11 FG 24-24 XP)

Notable Team Statistics

Syracuse – 6th in Big East Pass Offense (171.63)
Miami – 1st in Big East Pass Defense (140.67)

Syracuse – 3rd in Big East Turnover Margin (+7)
Miami – 8th in Big East Turnover Margin (-5)

Two Key Match-ups To Watch

When Syracuse has the ball…
TB Walter Reyes vs. MLB Jonathan Vilma

Reyes ran for 110 yards last year against the Hurricanes and is having a stellar junior season. Reyes ranks second in the Big East in rushing only trailing Kevin Jones from Virginia Tech. Reyes is a shifty, smooth back that shows a lot of patience as a runner. It will be up to Vilma to make sure Reyes does not break loose. Vilma, who recently was named a Butkus Award finalist, leads the team in tackles and is the team's defensive leader.

When Miami has the ball…
QB Derrick Crudup vs. MLB Rich Scanlon

Crudup will be making his first career start this week and he is excited about the challenge. The Miami offense has struggled in the past two weeks scoring just 13 points, but with Crudup at quarterback it gives the defense a different look. Crudup has good velocity on his throws and will look downfield. He also has the ability to scramble and pick up positive yardage. Scanlon leads the Orangemen defense in tackles and is the only senior in the back seven. It will be up to Scanlon to read the offense and make sure Crudup does not break free.

Keep Your Eye On

Syracuse WLB Kellen Pruitt – Pruitt is tied for second on the team with two interceptions. He has shown good pursuit to the ball when it is thrown and is constantly around the ball on defense. He is the smallest Syracuse linebacker, but he has the ability to make big plays.

Miami OL Eric Winston – Winston is expected to switch from left tackle to left guard for this game due to the injury to Vernon Carey. Winston is new to the offensive line this year after making the switch from tight end. Playing as an interior lineman causes different challenges than being on the outside.

Coach Larry Coker's Final Word

"We are going to have the same defensive line that we have had and we should be fine with that group."

Player Quote of the Week

Offensive lineman Joe McGrath on the strengths of Syracuse,

"We don't really pay attention to what they are doing, we know what we have to do. If we do that, we'll be fine."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com

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