Rhode Island Gamer

Much like the weather in hot and sunny Syracuse as 90-degree heat will dip into the 50s, the football team will get some relief this weekend when they play Rhode Island this weekend.

The Orange , off to their second consecutive 0-2 start will host Rhode Island ( 1 - 1 , 0 - 1 Atlantic 10) at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 14.

The Rams are led by WR Curtis Horne who is averaging 15.6 yards per reception. They lost last week against Hofstra 37-19.

While the season ended well for Syracuse last year marching to a win in the InSight.Com bowl, Syracuse will need to work on a porous defense if they want to repeat a 10-win season.

Case and point: With a six point lead in the fourth quarter, UNC marched down the field not once, but twice en route to a pair of touchdowns for a 30-22 win. On the key third downs be it the offense or defense, the Orange just were not getting the job done.

Help is on the way though. Keeon Walker and possibly Will Hunter will return to the lineup this weekend after injuries. They will hope to put a stop to the 681 yards UNC and BYU have tacked on in the past two games including an outrageous 72 points.

Opposing QBs have had a field day against the secondary. BYU QB Bret Engermann threw for three touchdowns and 386 overall yards in the opener. Damien Durant did much of the same going for 284 with a pair of scores.

Head coach Paul Pasqualoni said that he was frustrated with his team's performances on third down and that was the reason for the loss. He also noted that he was pleased with the way all three units played their game.

Looking past Rhode Island, the Orange will play arguable their most important games of the season. Away at Auburn and home for their Big East opener against Pittsburgh, the two games will likely decide whether the Orange can finish with a 10 or a five win season.

A nice surprise for the Orange offense was running back Walter Reyes. The sophomore ran for a career-high 86 yards on only 12 carries against UNC. Freshman Damien Rhodes experience similar success on the ground converting 13 rushes into 63 yards. The duo has combined for 190.5 yards a game and has scored six touchdowns.

They've done this despite the performance of R.J. Anderson. The QB had another poor outing completing just 4-of-11 passes. Anderson's states thus far: 12-35, 199 yards, three picks. Should he get on track, defenses will have less time to concentrating on Syracuse's running game.

Another bright spot came from WR Johnnie Morant. Syracuse ran a trick play giving the reverse to Morant who punched it in the endzone from 14-yards out.

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