Not only was Reyes unavailable, but backup tailback Damien Rhodes was also hindered by the illness. The Orange rushed for 66 yards in defeat.
"It really hurt us," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.
"Not only did it hurt us, but Damien was a step away from the same
thing. You can't go into a game like that at their place missing 50
percent of your one-two punch."
Pasqualoni made no excuses for his team's poor performance. The
Orange (3-4) moved the ball inside the Mountaineers' 25-yard line five
times, but scored only once. Special teams missed two field goals and an
Pasqualoni, however, chose to look on the bright side. Each of
Syracuse's four losses have come against teams -- West Virginia, Purdue,
Virginia and Florida State -- ranked among the nation's top 15.
The Orange will host Connecticut (5-2) on Saturday for the first
time in school history.
"Connecticut is a very experienced team, a very senior team,"
Pasqualoni said. "To me, they appear to have that leadership and type of
chemistry you'd hope to get with that kind of experience."
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: QB Perry Paterson needs to improve for
Syracuse to finish better than .500 this season. The 6-4, 250-pound sophomore
has thrown for three touchdowns against five interceptions. Running
backs Walter Reyes and Damien Rhodes have been dominant at times, but
without a passing game Syracuse isn't likely to reach the postseason for
the third straight year.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Orange will field the league's last-ranked
run defense against Connecticut (196.6 ypg.). Bear in mind, Huskies
tailback Cornell Brockington leads the conference in rushing. Syracuse has
surrendered 25.9 points per game -- fifth in the Big East. Keep an eye
on LB Jerry Mackey, who has recorded 55 tackles and one sack.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The ACC is finding out what it's like to have Miami
in their conference. They all have high aspirations until the game is
over." -- Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni, on the departure of former Big
East member Miami to the ACC.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: UConn at Syracuse, Oct. 30 -- The Orange will host
Connecticut in the teams' first meeting ever. The Huskies are coming
off a 45-31 victory over Temple. Syracuse's fourth-ranked pass defense
(212.3 ypg.) will have to limit Connecticut's second-ranked pass offense
(276.9 ypg.) to have a chance in this one.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: SS Diamond Ferri -- For the second straight game,
the senior forced and recovered a fumble on the same play. He also had
a team-high 13 tackles against West Virginia. Ferri leads the Big East
in kick return yardage (29.6).
RB Walter Reyes -- The senior missed last week's game against West
Virginia with the flu, but is expected to return against Connecticut.
Reyes is averaging 92.7 rushing yards per game -- third in the Big East.
ROSTER REPORT: WR Steven Gregory (thigh), who had missed four games,
returned to catch five passes at West Virginia. FB Stephen McDonald
(knee) is out indefinitely.
Reyes will return for Connecticut
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