Syracuse vs. West Virginia: No Mistakes Allowed

pizza

That monstrosity over there to the right is "Fork The Orange" Pizza and it looks...appetizing? I guess that's what passes for fine dining down there.

If Syracuse has any say on Saturday, the Mountaineers will not indeed fork the Orange. Instead, perhaps it will be Syracuse doing a little forking. We can hope. What's been the difference-maker for Syracuse to get back to a point where they think they've got a shot in this game? Doug Marrone, says Bill Stewart.

"They didn't back up an inch [last year]. They took the fight to us," Stewart said. "After the game, I went up to (Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone) and said, ‘Doug, you're on the right track. Don't change a thing, whatever you're doing.'"

"These guys have my attention. I respect these guys," Stewart said. "Syracuse is knocking on the door. They're on their way back."

Dave Rahme's Orange Insider breaks down what SU must do on the field in order to win this game. First and foremost, the mistakes have to stop.

Statistically, last week’s loss to Pitt was much more even than the final score. Commit four turnovers and force none, though, and the 45-14 final result becomes easy to understand. SU must not commit one turnover Saturday to have a chance. Conversely, its defense, which despite its aggressive style has forced only seven turnovers in six games, must create a couple and maybe even score off one of them itself Saturday.

All things equal, Syracuse has done some pretty impressive things on offense this season. Especially when you take into account what they lost before it started.

There are reasons for the optimism. In six games this season Syracuse is averaging 359.5 yards and 26 points per game, comparable to West Virginia’s 376.3 and 28.2. In Marrone’s first season as offensive coordinator the team is averaging more yards, scoring more points, allowing fewer tackles for a loss and doing better on third down than last season’s team.

Syracuse has put up those numbers with an offensive line that features one returning starter, a receiving corps depleted by injury and a first-year starting quarterback. Only three offensive players – center Ryan Bartholomew, tailback Delone Carter and tight end Jose Cruz – in the starting lineup are seniors.

Some more pre-game notes and news:

Catching up with WVU's all-time SU villain...The Charleston Gazette

Chew chomps Big East...Watertown Daily Times

Key Matchups: Syracuse at West Virginia...Otto's Army

The Daily Orange beat writers Andrew L. John and Tony Olivero analyze Syracuse's chances in its upcoming game against West Virginia.

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