But when the two teams square off Saturday at noon, it will prove to be a different story. Syracuse has struggled heavily this year never really recovering from the gap left by Dwight Freeny. The defense routinely allows 400 yards a week and has been burned time and time again for big plays.
West Virginia possesses a powerful running game, most notably senior Avon Cobourne, regarded as one of the nation's best runners. Don't be surprised if Cobroune turns on the jets and marches right over Syracuse.
Johnnie Morant has had the biggest expectations of the Orangemen this season, and he has yet to fulfill any one of them. He was suspended for three games this season for punching Michael Springer (a lacrosse player) last spring. No time like the present to atone for one's shortcomings. Morant will have a perfect opportunity to do that against W. Va.
On the opposite side, Clifton Smith has been a solid in a defense that has been atrocious the entire year. Smith will be an NFL player next year after collecting more than 150 tackles this season. Can the rest of the defense keep pace? Probably not.
After all, Syracuse's 1-5 record hasn't been anything to brag about, especially when they lost to lowly Temple the first time in 18 years last week. A 17-16 defeat off the foot of Collin Barber, whose PAT bounced off the left upright, caused a celebration in Philadelphia not seen since… well, anyone can remember.
The players are going to take hard to the field this week because their backs are against the wall, said coach Paul Pasqualoni. They better follow their coach's advice. If they lose, they will be 1-6 for the first time since 1982. Syracuse finished 2-9 that season.
Syracuse will has extremely difficult games coming up against Miami and Virginia Tech, and with just 11 seniors on the roster, it doesn't look like this team is going to be heading to a bowl game for only the second time in the past seven years. Any type of win would be a good one.
Syracuse at. West Virginia Game Capsule
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