No Guarantees

Perhaps the most embarrassing of Syracuse's eight losses last year came against Temple, a team the Orangemen had only lost to nine teams in school history.

The Owls upset Syracuse, 17-16, Oct. 12 at Franklin Field, as Collin Barber's potential game tying PAT sailed wide with 30 seconds remaining. If the Orangemen learned anything from the loss, it was to never overlook a team, no matter what the opposing team's record is, SU fullback Greg Hanoian said.

The Orangemen (4-3, 1-2 Big East) will have a chance for redemption this year, when Temple (1-7, 0-3) visits the Carrier Dome, Nov. 8 at 1:30 pm.

"I don't think we have to say a great deal about that game," Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "It's still fresh in their minds. It illustrated that you have to be ready for every week."

The situation this year is somewhat similar to last year. Temple finds itself struggling again, with a record of 1-7, losers of three straight. But the Orangemen, who headed into last year's game 1-4, are enjoying a better year, with a record of 4-3.

Still the Orangemen have had their struggles, sputtering recently on offense, as RJ Anderson had his consecutive passes without an interception streak snapped at 157, throwing two against Pittsburgh in a 34-14 loss.

The defense has also regressed after showing signs of recovering from last year (holding a potent Toledo offense to just seven points Sept. 27). They are allowing 28 points a game, including a 51-7 pummeling at the hands of Virginia Tech.

That doesn't bode well for the Orangemen, who had two lapses in coverage against Temple last year. The Orangemen, who went into the fourth quarter leading 10-3, allowed touchdown throws of 65 and 53 yards.

"On defense, we didn't play particularly well," Pasqualoni said. "It was like if something bad was going to happen, it was going to happen in that game."

If Syracuse wants to exorcise last year's demons, they will have to stop Temple receiver Zamir Cobb, who has averaged 83.5 yards a game.

The Orangemen certainly had plenty of practice defending against a high-caliber receiver, trying to slow down arguably the nation's best receiver in Larry Fitzgerald a week ago against Pittsburgh. Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 149 yards including a pair of scores.

"With a guy like Fitzgerald," Pasqualoni said, "you have to be perfect every snap."

Though the Orangemen have a little more leeway against a lowly Temple team, no victory is guaranteed.

"They go out and earn their scholarship just like we do," Hanoian said.

"Despite their record, they have good athletes," Marcus Clayton said.

Notes and Quotes: The Big East will hold a press conference Tuesday concerning expansion. When asked about his thoughts on expanding, Pasqualoni deferred. "Right now, all I'm thinking about is the Temple Owls. I'm sure the Big East is going to do a good job." … Damien Rhodes (ankle) will not play against Temple. … The Orangemen are 16-2 at home all time against Temple.

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