Syracuse leads the overall series 29-19. WVU is 2-5 at the Carrier Dome since 1987. The average score of those games is 22.42-17.85 in favor of Syracuse. WVU has lost the last three games at Syracuse and have been outscored 92-17 in those losses. The last WVU victory in the Carrier Dome was in 1993 when Robert Walker ran all over the Orangemen and the Mountaineers chalked up a 43-0 victory.
The first game in the series was in 1945, a game that saw Syracuse shutout WVU, 12-0. Last year the Orangemen came back in the fourth quarter to top the Mountaineers 31-27. That loss was soon forgotten as Don Nehlen announced his retirement after the loss.
Syracuse players to watch:
QB-R.J. Anderson, WR-Jamel Riddle, KR-Maurice Jackson, WR-David Tyree, WR-Johnnie Morant, RB- James Mungro, S- Quentin Harris, P- Mike Shafer, DE- Dwight Freeney, LB- Clifton Smith.
WVU - Phil Braxton (Foot) Out, Ken Sandor (Knee/Ankle) Questionable, Jason Brooks (Ankle) Questionable, Rick Sherrod (Knee) Probable, Grant Wiley (Hamstring) Probable, Lew Daniels (Knee) Probable
Syracuse - No significant injuries
|WVU 3-5, 1-3
Syracuse 7-2, 4-0
|Sat. 11/10 Noon|
|Series: SU 29-19|
|TV: ESPN Regional|
|BCS: WVU-74 SU-18|
|Line: SU -15|
|Stats & Trends|
West Virginia figures to be able to move the ball on the ground against the Orangemen early on, as they have against every opponent this season other than Virginia Tech. However, as the game progresses, Syracuse figures to bring more run support to the party, and at that point he scales tip toward the home team.
If WVU is forced to pass, Syracuse will unleash their fearsome pass rush, led by end Dwight Freeney. Unless WVU can either adapt to that rush, or block the Syracuse line man to man, the Orangemen will be able to dictate much of WVU's offensive strategy.
WVU defense vs.Syracuse offense
This matchup presents a major problem for WVU. Syracuse runs every type of option known to man, and of course defending the option has been headache number one for the Mountaineer defense this season.
The passing matchup presents an interesting challenge, with WVU's top rated pass defense going against a Syracuse pass offense that is not as productive as those of the past few years.
In the end, the key comes down to the run matchup, and until WVU proves it can stop the option, opponents that feature it as part of their regular game plan will have a decided edge.
Syracuse has often used stellar return teams to gain and edge, and this year it's not much different. The Orangemen average almost fourteen yards per punt return, and coupled with WVU's shaky kick coverage, the chances for a big play in the kicking game appear to be good.
On the flip side, WVU's Shawn Terry is the most dangerous kickoff return man in the conference, while Syracuse is averaging only seventeen yards per return.
WVU holds a decided edge in placekicking, as Syracuse has made only seven of thirteen field goal attempts and have also missed two extra points. Put all this together, and it's tough to determine an edge either way.
Picks to Click:
On Offense: Mike Page
On Defense: Kyle Kayden
Stat of the week:
Since 1990, the Mountaineers have been the underdog against the Orangemen 10 times. The exceptions were 1993 and 1994. WVU is 3-15 as a road underdog in the last seven years. Syracuse is 30-5 as a home favorite in the same time span.
Although the Mountaineers are improving, the Orangemen will be too much on Saturday. Syracuse has won seven games in a row including big wins over Auburn and Virginia Tech. Syracuse has averaged over 32 points per game during their winning streak while giving up only 14 point per game. The noise in the Carrier Dome should not bother WVU's spread offense but Dwight Freeney and the Syracuse defense will.
Score: WVU 17- Syracuse 31
Other Big East Games
Miami 31 at Boston College 20
Virginia Tech 28 at Temple 3
Pittsburgh 48 at Rutgers 7