The Mountaineers (5-1) should be the fourth and final ranked opponent Syracuse will face this season. West Virginia is the only Big East team included in the Associated Press Top 25 and the Orange have only conference games remaining on their schedule.
After losing 51-0 to Purdue on Sept. 5, Syracuse consistently
improved against ranked opponents. The Orange dropped a 31-10 decision at
Virginia, then fell just short against Florida State.
"We're pleased from where we started, on Sept. 5," coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "The kids have hung in there. I think we've gotten better
and that's satisfying. But we're not satisfied with 3-3."
Syracuse actually had a chance to beat Florida State in the game's
final minute, but quarterback Perry Patterson's pass was intercepted in
the end zone with five seconds remaining. Patterson completed 19 of 28
passes for a career-high 207 yards and a touchdown.
If tailbacks Walter Reyes (92.7 ypg.) and Damien Rhodes (50.2 ypg.)
continue to bowl over opponents, Syracuse could make a surprise run at
the Big East title. The Orange are 1-0 in league play.
KEEP AN EYE ON: SS Diamond Ferri -- The 5-10, 218-pound junior was
named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week after he recorded six
solo tackles, forced a fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown in
a 17-13 loss to Florida State on Oct. 9.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just weren't able to connect. We needed one more
big play, one more thing to happen. But we came up short." -- Syracuse
coach Paul Pasqualoni, on his team's bid to upset then-No. 8 Florida
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: Syracuse owns the Big East's third-ranked rushing
offense at 160.7 yards per game. Tailbacks Walter Reyes (92.7 ypg., 4 TDs)
and Damien Rhodes (50.2 ypg., 4 TDs) are two of the best in the league,
if not the country.
STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Syracuse must improve its third-down
consistency. The Orange converted just 2 of 13 opportunities in a 17-13 loss to
Florida State on Oct. 9. Syracuse is ranked last in the league in
third-down conversion percentage (21 of 80).
ROSTER REPORT: WR Steve Gregory has missed four games with a thigh
injury and is questionable for the West Virginia game. CB DeAndre LaCaille (hamstring) is also questionable. LB Kellen Pruitt, who missed two
games after undergoing knee surgery, should be available this weekend.
Orange continue brutal schedule
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