WVU - SU Game Preview

The Mountaineers try to run their winning streak versus Syracuse to five games on Saturday.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: SU 23-30-0
Sat 10/14 Noon
Morgantown, WV

Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 5-0
USA/Coaches Rank: 4th
Last Game
Mississippi St W 42-14

Click for College Park, Maryland Forecast
Record: 3-3
USA/Coaches Rank: NR
Last Game
Pitt L 21-11
Rosters/ Bios
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Season Stats
2006 Schedule
First Meeting: 1945
Last Meeting: 2005
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule

Common Opponents to Date:

None to date

Injuries:

WVU: Damien Crissey - Questionable (foot sprain), Keilen Dykes - Probable (Wrist), Tito Gonzales - Probable (Concussion), Jay Henry - Probable (Shoulder)

Syracuse: Taj Smith - Out (Collarbone), Larry Norton - Probable (Foot)

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. Syracuse defense

Statistically the Syracuse defense has been an anomaly. The Orange has recorded 26 sacks, 40 tackles for a loss and nine interceptions but still ranks

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Game Info
WVU 5-0, 0-0
SU 3-3, 0-1
Sat 10/14 Noon
Milan Puskar Stadium
Series: SU 30-23
TV: ESPN Regional
BCS: WVU-8 SU-60
Harris Poll: WVU-5 SU-NR
Line: WVU -25
97th in total defense and 95th rush defense in the nation. It will be entertaining to see how the WVU offensive front matches up with the Orange defensive line.

The Syracuse defensive line has been one of the most productive in the country when it comes to producing quarterback sacks. The interior of the defensive line consists of senior Chris Thorner (6-4, 299) and Tony Jenkins (6-3, 285). The pair have combined to total 31 tackles and 3.5 sacks while the exterior linemen, Jameel McClain (6-1, 252) and Lee Williams (6-3, 262) have recorded 49 tackles, including 8.5 sacks. McClain, who tied for second in the nation in sacks per game (1.5) in 2005 leads the BIG EAST in sacks so far this season.

The Orange defense boost a trio of experieced to form their linebacking corps. Kelvin Smith (6-2, 233), leads the team with an impressive 62 tackles. The senior also has 2.5 sacks and one blocked field goal.

Manning the sam position will be Luke Cain (6-0, 225). Cain has recorded 27 tackles, two sacks and one pass break-up this season. Rounding out the trio is Jerry Mackey (6-1, 233). Mackey has totaled 37 stops to go along with one sack, one interception and one fumble recovery.

The secondary has been lead this season by junior strong safety Dowayne Davis (6-0, 200). Davis is the team's second leading tackler with 42 stops and had also recorded two pass break-ups.

Joining Davis at safety will be junior Joe Fields (6-1, 225). Fields has 30 tackles on the season and leads the team with three pass break-ups. The Texas native is a converted quarterback, starting three games for the Orange last season.

Starting cornerback Terrell Lemon (5-10, 180) has been very active for Syracuse this season. The senior has totaled 33 tackles, one sack, two interceptions, one pass break-up and three forced fumbles.

Teaming with Lemon at cornerback will be Tanard Jackson (6-1, 193). The senior has 33 tackles, two interceptions and two pass break-ups in 2006.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 9th in total offense (446.80 yds/game), 2nd in rushing offense (302.60 yds/game) and 104th in passing offense (144.20 yds/game).

SU is ranked 97th in total defense (384.83 yds/game), 95th in rushing defense (159.50 yds/game) and 66th in passing efficiency defense (126.66rating).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. Syracuse offense

The Syracuse offense is led by seasoned veteran signalcaller Perry Patterson (6-4, 242). The senior has started 23 games and played in 35 games in his career. The improved Patterson is 81-149 for 931 yards including eight touchdowns and two interceptions on the season.

Joining Patterson in the backfield will be tailback Curtis Brinkley (5-9, 197) and fullback Stephen McDonald (6-0, 240). Brinkley has gained 353 yards on 74 attempts for an average of 4.8 yards per carry, which works out to 58.8 yards per game. Brinkley has crossed the goal line only once this season.

McDonald, a senior, has only one carry this season and is used mainly for blocking.

Starting at wide receiver will be Rice Moss (6-2, 201) and Tim Lane (6-2, 206). Moss and Lane have combined for 175 yards on 19 receptions and one touchdown. Also seeing action at receiver will be highly-recruited Lavar Lobdell (6-3, 201) and Donte Davis (6-0, 185). This pair has hauled in 11 passes for 106 yards.

So far this season, Patterson's favorite target has been tight end Tom Ferron (6-3, 252). The sophomore has caught a team leading 15 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

The Orange offensive line has performed well in pass protection but has struggled to produce solid numbers on the ground. The interior of the line includes center Justin Outten (6-1, 274) right guard Ryan Durand (6-5, 312) and left guard Carroll Madison (6-2, 316).

The tackle positions are manned by left tackle Corey Chavers (6-5, 295) and Eugene Newsome (6-7, 322). Only Outten and Madison are returning starters from the 2005 season.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 34th in total defense (292.60 yds/game), 19th in rushing defense (89.80 yds/game) and 9th in passing efficiency defense (97.60).

SU is ranked 102nd in total offense (282.00 yds/game), 70th in rushing offense (126.83 yds/game) and 96th in passing offense (155.17 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU special teams vs. Syracuse special teams

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The Orange are led in scoring by Morgantown native Patrick Shadle (5-8, 203). Shadle, with 41 points, has connected on all 14 of his PATs and nine out of 10 field goals, with a long of 46 yards.

Handling the punting duties for Syracuse will be Brendan Carney (6-5, 205). Carney, an All-BIG EAST First Team selection in 2005, has averaged 40.8 yards per punt, with 15 of his 36 attempts being fair caught or downed inside the 20 yard line.

While the kicking game has been solid, the return game has struggled this season. Max Meisel (5-4, 149), who could be one of the smallest players in Division 1-A football, has averaged eight yards on 12 punt returns with a long of 12 yards. The former walkon also is a back up receiver.

Returning kickoffs will be sophomore Curtis Brinkley (5-9, 197). Brinkley has averaged 21.7 yards per return with a long of 40 yards.

By The Numbers:
WVU is ranked 3rd in net punting (41.69 yds/punt), 15th in kick returns (25.38 yds/return) and 39th in punt returns (10.27 yds/return).

SU is ranked 46th in net punting (36.14 yds/punt), 92nd in kick returns (18.31 yds/return) and 67th in punt returns (7.77 yds/return)

Advantage: WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Offensive line

On Defense: Quinton Andrews

Totally Useless Facts:

  • The Orange are 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 conference games.

  • The favorite of the WVU vs SU game is 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 meetings.

Prediction:

The Syracuse football program has definitely made stides in the last two seasons to get back into the thick of things in the BIG EAST, but the Orange are not quite ready to challege WVU and Louisville for the league championship. The Mountaineers have dominated Cuse over the last four seasons and that trend will continue on Saturday.

WVU - 40 Syracuse - 10


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