SU Football: How Syracuse Will Beat Stony Brook {And Win The.Game.Of.The.Year.}

Win number 1 of 2012 may finally be within reach for the Syracuse Orange. Did you see what I did there? I'm so clever! (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Welcome to my latest creation, "How The Orange Will Beat {insert next opponent}." Straight from my lab of steaming beakers and crazy smoking machines directly to your pupils, a perfectly crafted recipe for how the Orange will beat its next opponent. A formula on how Syracuse can inch itself ever closer to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. We'll unveil this perfect plan prior to each game - including this week's classic battle; Orange vs. Seawolves, the way God intended.

The.Game.Of.The.Year. Usually sports-writer hyperbole applied to battles featuring top ten teams, bitter rivals, or to the actual championship game itself. Rare is a game between an 0-2 FBS team and a FCS team considered a game of the year. In fact, I would bet the majority of the college football loving world doesn't even know Syracuse, coming off of defeats to Northwestern and Southern California, is playing the lower level Seawolves of Stony Brook.

Regardless of national pub, for the Orange, this easily overlooked game has become The.Game.Of.The.Year. It didn't get that hyperbolic label because the game itself will be on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement. And it's not the biggest game of the season for SU because of what it will mean if it wins. No, this game is so important for Doug Marrone's team because it's almost like a re-do. Hitting the rest button (which definitely went away with the Nintendo 64, right?) and starting the real season.

Just last weekend I tweeted that Syracuse could be the best 0-2 in the country. A surprisingly high amount of hope for a team that has some pretty big issues; special teams and injuries to name a couple. Yet, I like, many Orange observers, see Syracuse's electric offense, improved defense, and prideful play as reasons to still be optimistic for 2012.

In all reality SU could be 1-1, or, who knows if things break just a little different against USC, maybe even 2-0. A few bounces here, a few drops there, a few non-missed tackles on specials everywhere and the Orange could be a top 25 club.

It's not of course. But given what we've seen, and looking at a weak Big East, there is reason to believe that Syracuse could be in the running for the league's title come November. For that to happen, however, the Orange have to get on the board. It needs, so badly, to get that first W. Saturday isn't a must win as much as it is a can't lose. And that's why Syracuse v. Stony Brook is The.Game.Of.The.Year.

So how will Syracuse earn victory No. 1 and restart the season in style?

To get to victory you must first understand the foe, and we all know by now that the Seawolves aren't your average FCS cupcake on the schedule. Actually, this team is pretty damn good. When Syracuse was getting hammered by Northwestern two weeks ago I, and I'm sure you, thought, Boy, all of a sudden I'm a little worried about Stony Brook. Not to mention, the Seawolves have two legit runnings backs in Miguel Maysonet and Iowa refugee Marcus Coke. The two are a big reason why their team is has scored over 70 points and is sitting at 2-0 (granted, against FCS competition).

But the worry about this game was all before Ryan Nassib led an unreal comeback against the Wildcats and before SU put up one hell of a fight against SC. Even though it's freakin' Stony Brook coming in riding high at 2-0 and Syracuse fighting to get its first win, the Orange should win -- it just has to keep one thing in mind:

  • DO NOT OVERLOOK STONY BROOK - Weird advice considering, once again, Syracuse hasn't won a game, yet. Still, I would bet, even though the season hinges on the outcome, the Dome will be full of empty sections of bleachers. Plus, the team itself is coming from playing Northwestern and USC to lining up against a team from the FCS. All of those factors could easily make for an odd setting Saturday. It will be easy for players and coach to allow Stony Brook to put them to sleep. SU must fight that instinct.

The goal shouldn't be to just beat Stony Brook, it should be to continue to play like a team destined for something better. I don't think anyone sees the Orange winning its next 10 games or even getting to the BCS, but Syracuse has proven it can play with the big boys. Now it needs to start winning to validate this early season reputation. Players and coaches shouldn't worry about the name on the jersey of its opponent Saturday, it should treat the next four quarters like it's a continuation of the Northwestern or S.C. game. Keep running the same offense (no-huddle, no-huddle, no-huddle), keep pressuring the defense (improve the special teams play, too!), win the game, and start the real season.Don't look past Saturday until the win is official.

And what better way to kickoff the season by winning the biggest game of the year?

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