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Orange Want To Juice Expectations Against Mountaineers

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Sorry, it's Friday.  You don't always get the headline you want.  You go to war with the headline you already have.

So here's a disturbing trend, Syracuse's record against arguably it's three biggest Big East rivals recently:

Rutgers - 0-4. Pittsburgh - 0-4. West Virginia - 0-7. That's right. Three teams that went 4-26 vs. Syracuse from 1992-2001 now own the Orange. They are 18-3 against Syracuse over the ensuing seven seasons.

You can bet your sweet ass that HCDM has been sending a message all week long.  Bring the trophy back. Of course, it helps when you know what to look for.

"They showed us a picture of it," receiver Mike Williams said. "But I didn't see it up close."

Sigh. If the Orange want to reverse the trends, they'll have to start creating offense on the ground.  The situation, which has been disappointing on a whole, has Delone Carter confused:

"Absolutely," Carter said when asked if he was puzzled by the struggles, "and a little frustrated, but I’m just keeping my head right and continuing to go out there and play like we need to play. In order to pass good you need to run good. They complement each other that way. We’re just waiting to see it fall out that way."

While the run offense is still getting it's legs under it, the run defense has been a bright spot for SU all year.  West Virginia welcomes the challenge:

''They pack the box so we've got to be able get north, find some seams and hit those things full speed,'' WVU running backs coach Chris Beatty said. ''And we've got to be able to throw them out of it a little bit. Any time anybody is packing the box full of guys, you've got to be able to go up top some. I think we'll do a good job of working on some of the things they do because they're unorthodox in some of their defensive deals.''

Noel Devine is the guy who'll be putting the defensive front to the test.  The Orange remember Devine's run last season that killed any chance they had of upsetting the Mountaineers:

Last year's run by Devine crushed the Orange (2-3, 0-1 Big East) in Morgantown, W.Va. West Virginia (3-1) faced a 3rd-and-7 at its own 8-yard line with less than five minutes to go and leading 10-6. The Mountaineers ran a power play up the middle, and the blocking worked like clockwork, as Devine burst down the field to seal the game with 4:09 left.

At the end of the day, this game is about Syracuse football taking the next step.  The Orange have proven enough that we can say they CAN win this game.  But the question is, will they?  It won't be easy and the Orange are going to have to limit their mistakes to a minimum if they want any chance of pulling it off.  Brent Axe sums it up:

Numbers are numbers, and some of those listed above are pretty impressive.

But this has not been a season about numbers.

While "seven" was a number that hung in the air like a fish sandwich that had been left out all night last week, tell me you didn't walk out of that Carrier Dome or away from your TV with the distinct feeling they could have had that game vs USF, despite those seven turnovers. 

This team seems like it is on the verge of a break through again.

Is West Virginia that break through?

Hope so.