Pasqualoni still keeping QB options open

Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni still isn't sold on quarterback Perry Patterson, but the 6-4, 250-pound sophomore appears to be the best choice four games into the season.

Patterson, who is competing with true freshman Joe Fields for snaps, completed 15 of 23 pass attempts for 141 yards at Virginia on Saturday, but didn't throw for a touchdown in Syracuse's 31-10 loss.

"Patterson, in his first career start, managed the game well," Pasqualoni said. "We were able to put together impressive drives, but we're not able to put the ball in the end zone."

The Orange (2-2) have converted 6 of 11 opportunities inside the opponent's 20-yard line, last in the Big East.

They will have to improve on that statistic on Saturday when Rutgers visits the Carrier Dome.

Patterson will start, but Fields might play at a moment's notice.

The Scarlet Knights (2-1) handed the Orange a 24-7 loss last season. Senior running back Walter Reyes (73.0 ypg.) and backup Damien Rhodes (51.5 ypg.) give Syracuse a credible ground attack, but the passing game must improve.

The Orange, who have already faced ranked teams Purdue and Virginia, host No. 9 Florida State on Oct. 9.


SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Syracuse's offense is ranked last in the Big East, averaging just 16.5 points and 269.8 yards per game. The Orange have converted only 16 of 56 third-down opportunities this season.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Orangemen are ranked sixth out of seven Big East teams in scoring defense (26.5 ppg.) and fifth in total defense (380.5 ypg.).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we're getting better. When the Big East was reorganizing, we had to make a decision about who we were going to schedule. We chose to schedule the Purdues, Virginias and Florida States. We did that in hopes it would make us a better football team." -- Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni on his team's challenging non-conference slate.


THIS WEEK'S GAME: Rutgers at Syracuse, Oct. 2 -- Syracuse is looking for revenge after Rutgers won this matchup 24-7 last year and cost the Orange a shot at bowl eligibility.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: DB/KR Diamond Ferri -- The 5-10, 218-pound senior ranks ninth nationally in kickoff return yardage (32.0). Ferri is also third on the team with 23 tackles and has managed one interception.

RB Walter Reyes -- The 5-10, 209-pound senior rushed for 83 yards on 24 carries in Saturday's loss to Virginia. Reyes needs just 21 yards to pass Larry Csonka for second place on the school's all-time rushing list.

ROSTER REPORT: CB Tanard Jackson is recovering from a stab wound suffered Saturday night and shouldn't be available for Rutgers. FB Stephen McDonald (knee) is out indefinitely.

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