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The Time For Moral Victories Is Over. The Time For Actual Victories Begins.


Just as Jack Burton, Wang and Egg Shen are about to have their climactic showdown with Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China, the team takes a moment.  Up until now they've have varying degrees of success.  They've learned some things and gain small victories here and there, but Lo Pan still has The Girls With Green Eyes and is about to become immortal. 

Egg provides everyone with a potion that they drink.  He says it allows those who drink it to "see things no one else can see, do things no one else can do."The effects are immediate.

Jack Burton: Feel pretty good. I'm not, uh, I'm not scared at all. I just feel kind of... feel kind of invincible.

Wang Chi: Me, too. I got a very positive attitude about this.

Jack Burton: Good, me too.

Wang Chi: Yeah! [pause]

Jack Burton: Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

Syracuse fans are a little like Jack Burton right now.  They might not be entirely sure of what's going on or what they've gotten themselves but they're not scared, they feel kinda invincible...and it's getting a little hot in here.

After two weeks of feeling about as good as you can about two losses as you could, Syracuse fans interest in continuing to be a gracious loser is waning.  The time for losing with dignity is over.  The time for actually winning has begun.

Before we move on, a few notes from the Penn State game.

You may have noticed that Syracuse used a two-QB system this weekend against Penn State.  So is that something we can expect to see more of?  Apparently, according to Donnie Webb:

"I believe that we'll need both quarterbacks to help us win this year," said Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. "Both quarterbacks are aware of the situation. We use both of those quarterbacks to help us with the run game, the pass game and all the things that we're doing. We build packages for both of them."

If you want to look to a specific unit that gave the Orange so many problems on Saturday, look no further than the Penn State defensive front four, says Dave Rahme.

Specifically, the Nittany Lions (2-0) front four dominated the line of scrimmage, holding Syracuse (0-2) to 65 yards rushing, only 2.2 yards per carry, and then made SU quarterback Greg Paulus' life in the pocket miserable. The result was a defensive gem in which PSU held the Orange to 200 yards and never really seemed threatened, even though it led only 14-0 at the half.

Penn State players and coaches were gracious in victory and talked up the difference between last year's Syracuse squad and this year's.  It's nice and all, but it kinda makes me feel like we're the Special Olympics team that is just happy to get lollipops afterwards. 

Matt Ehalt of the D.O. sees a disparaging break happening between the two units of the Syracuse football team.  One performing much better than the other.

They all headed back on the same plane after the game, but the Syracuse football team might as well have taken two separate charters back from Happy Valley Saturday afternoon.

In one plane resides the defense, riding high after an impressive goal-line stand that answered any questions about its fortitude. In the other you have the punchless offense, whose search for the mystical portion of the field known as the goal line has been like a journey to the middle of the Earth.

Bud Poliquin appreciates that Syracuse schedules tough but games like the Penn State one expose how the Orange have scheduled a little too tough in recent years:

Me? I like that Orange spine. I like that it'll climb into the ring with just about any club anywhere. You know, beyond Virginia Tech and Wyoming. But I also recognize how comfortable a whole lot of folks would be today if SU had begun things the way, oh, unbeaten West Virginia has -- by staying home to play the flyweight known as Liberty and the junior-middleweight named East Carolina -- rather than taking on the Gophers in the Carrier Dome and the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley.

That said, Bud has a short memory if he considers East Carolina a middleweight. They beat West Virginia last season. (Bud also posted another video recap after the game, sans sweaty throbbing.)

Finally, in his recap of the game, Brent Axe gets to the crux of what's going on inside Syracuse fans' heads about what the losses to Minnesota and Penn State mean relative to the Northwestern game.  That it's not a must-win by any means, but if you want the progress that you've seen so far to mean anything...the Orange need a W and they need it fast.

It is clear this team, and this fan base for that matter, needs a win and they need it bad.

For the first time in a long time, it feels like you expect this team to win against a name opponent.

Call it validation. Call it progress. Call it something to grasp on to. Call it whatever you want.

A win, not more Greg Robinson-like "I saw some good things out there" comments is what is needed here.

Syracuse didn't hang with Penn State but they proved that they could at least keep a top-five team sweating into the 4th quarter.  Minnesota might not be a powerhouse but they're still a decent squad and the Orange came thisclose to beating them. 

Northwestern is coming off a 27-24 squeaker of a win at home against Eastern Michigan.  They're fans are shaking in their boots. It won't be the crowd we saw for Minnesota but the Dome should be rocking again.  The Orange have two weeks of hard-nose experience under their belt.  They've made their mistakes.  They've learned, we hope.

Syracuse fans were hopeful about winning the Minnesota game.  I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say that Syracuse fans expect to win this one.  The Wildcats are a 4.5 favorite out of Vegas.  That's not much for a 2-0 team coming to play an 0-2 team it demolished last season.  So either Vegas doesn't have faith in Northwestern, sees something in this Syracuse team, or perhaps a little of both.

As of Monday, Orange fans agree.