Syracuse Works On Defense In Bye Week

After a rough start to the season, Syracuse rolled over I-AA Rhode Island last weekend.

It was a welcome sight for fans as the Orange rolled out 629 yards and finally saw R.J. Anderson have a good game. Anderson threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns while Walter Reyes carried the ball for 128 yards.

"It just shows how good we play with a confidence quarterback," said senior WR David Tyree. "We can be more of a compliment to the ground game when that happens."

After having a quiet first few games, Anderson started being more aggressive with the ball throwing 18 passes. It was a relief for receivers who will have a week off due to a bye in Syracuse's schedule.

"I think we dictate how much he throws depending on how he starts," Tyree said.

Anderson might have another of his favorite targets to throw to next week. Johnnie Morant, who led the Orange in receiving yards in the 2001 season with 409 yards was suspended last week for punching SU lacrosse player, Mike Springer, earlier in the year.

Morant has been in and out of trouble his entire career at SU but Morant atoned for this issue immediately issuing an apology.

On a lighter note, Damien Rhodes received praise from the coaching staff and players for yet another sterling performance against Rhode Island rushing for 94 yards.

"He's really patient," teammate Thump Belton said. "He's going to be a great back."

But that doesn't make all well in Syracuse.

While the offense has been serviceable for most of the season, the defense has been atrocious.

The Rams moved the ball in the air for 145 in the first half and finished with 273 rushing yards overall. On top of the 445 yards they collected, they exposed a huge hole in the Syracuse secondary.

Eighty nine points and 1,496 yards later, Clifton Smith said that the defense needs to dramatically improve.

Hopefully it will prove enough as Syracuse prepares to head down to Auburn (3-1, 2-0 SEC) on Sept. 28.

Auburn is playing Miss. State this weekend, but the key players to watch out for are QB Daniel Cobb, who is the focal point of the offense, and CB Horace Willis.

"We're working on keeping the game we played against Rhode Island," Tyree said. "We're going to take the good things on the film and polish it up."

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