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Syracuse vs. Pitt: "Physical" Is The Word Of The Week

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Doug Marrone must have used the word five times in his post-game press conference this past weekend. Don't believe me?

"The most physical team is going to win this game...With the style of Pittsburgh, they are a physical team."

Now Dave Wannstedt is getting in on the action.

"Syracuse and Pitt have always had very physical, tough games. We expect that to be no different this Saturday...They're running more of a pro-style offense. It's very similar to ours. Their offensive line is playing a lot more physical."

Physicality is indeed going to be the key in Saturday's showdown. The Orange must be able to drive the Panthers back, given that they lead the nation in net punting.

"I thrive, and I'm OK with being backed up," Marrone said. "It's a mindset. … I like the challenge."

On the flip side, Derrell Smith leads the SU defense with, what else, his physical play. Brian Bennett names him Defense MVP for the Orange in his midseason report:

Smith is the anchor of the defense at middle linebacker and has continued the high level of play he established a year ago. He ranks fourth in the Big East with 42 tackles and leads an aggressive, physical defensive attack.

Syracuse defeats USF