When a reporter asked Reyes about the condition of his knee after Saturday's 34-23 loss, Reyes was exact in the condition of his body.
"I'm not 100 percent, I'm 88 percent," Reyes said. "I will play Saturday. I'm going out there. It will get better everyday."
Reyes left the game early in the first quarter to get X-rays on his knee. During his time in the locker room, Reyes couldn't help but think of what happened to Miami back Willis McGahee, who suffered torn ligaments in his knee in last year's championship game against Ohio State.
"Any time you get hit like that, you're going to be nervous," Reyes said. "I was in a lot of pain."
But the X-rays were negative, and Reyes returned in the third quarter and scored on a 67-yard reception for RJ Anderson with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter to close Syracuse (5-5, 2-4 Big East) to within four points.
"I don't know a lot of people who would've had the guts to do that," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.
Reyes finished with 63 yards on 14 carries and added 80 more receiving yards.
Still, Reyes will need to ice his knee throughout the week, and will receive several other treatments to go along with it.
"I don't have that burst of speed right now," Reyes said. "I can't shift gears. I have five gears, and I can only top out at three."
Though Syracuse allowed 271 yards through the air against Rasheed Marshall and West Virginia, the SU secondary has improved steadily from 2002, dropped its passing yards allowed down to 234.2, a vast improvement from last year's 304.
Syracuse has done this despite only returning one starter, Steve Gregory.
"We're not a liability anymore," back Troy Swittenburg said. "Next year, we're going to be an asset to the team."
The Orangemen have regularly rotated nine people in and out of the secondary, with Gregory, Tanard Jackson, Swittenburg, Thomas Whitfield and Terrell Lemon playing the corners, and Diamond Ferri, Anthony Smith, and O'Neil Scott at the safeties.
"It's something that's going to get better with each game," Pasqualoni said.
Thanksgiving Day Plans
Swittenburg and Reyes each have very specific plans for Thanksgiving Day – both plan to stuff themselves.
"I'm going to eat like a pig," Reyes said. "I love turkey and stuffing. I'm gonna eat and then pass out."
"I'm a pie guy," Swittenburg said. "I'm going for the pies and potato salad.
Notes and Quotes: Jameel Dumas (knee) and Damien Rhodes (ankle) will likely miss Saturday's game against Rutgers. … Reyes' 63 yards rushing were good enough to pass 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis (2,386) for eighth on Syracuse's all time rushing list. Reyes now has 2,392 rushing yards for his career. … "We don't have any quitters on this team. Even if we are struggling, don't give up on us." – Walter Reyes about Syracuse's bowl hopes.
Reyes will play against Rutgers
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