Reyes will return for Connecticut

Senior tailback Walter Reyes' participation streak of 42 straight games was snapped last Thursday when a bad case of the flu caused him to miss Syracuse's 27-6 loss at West Virginia.

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 extra point.

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.


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.

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