And what a road game it is. The other side of the country, where the Orange have only won once in their last eleven contests this far West. Doug Marrone knows how important it will be to get there and get used to everything, that's why he successfully petitioned to get the Orange out here a day early, something rarely done.
When you've got 10 true freshmen in the mix, you want to take advantage of all the extra time and preparation you can. Wilkes, Spruill, Krautman and the rest of the freshmen all held their own last week against Akron and will try to do the same this time around. Still, the contrast between the vets and the young'ns was telling to Derrell Smith:
"The upperclassmen came out and were like, ‘This stadium really isn’t that big,’" Smith said. "And then, the freshmen went out there, and as soon as they walked out, they just started smiling, like ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m here.’"
Speaking of Smith, the defensive anchor isn't too concerned about the crowd at Husky Stadium this weekend. When it comes to enemy territory, he doesn't mind one bit:
"Actually, I love road games, the negative energy in the air," said Smith, middle linebacker for the Syracuse Orange. "I'm sure it's going to be a tough environment to play in. I'm on defense, so it probably won't be that tough because I don't think they're going to cheer when their offense isn't on the field that much."
Of course the big story on the other side is Jake Locker. Is he still a Heisman Candidate? Will he tear up SU to make up for last week? Will he lead the Huskies back to the promised land? Can he turn water into wine? These are all questions UDub fans have been asking themselves all week. You better believe Syracuse is keyed in on Mr. Locker as well. And they've got a plan for him already in place:
"Contain him and hit him in his mouth," safety Shamarko Thomas said. "First play, hit him in his mouth."
Of course, the older players remember Jake a little more vividly than the young ones. It was Jake who led Washington's onslaught in 2007 in the Dome. Syracuse's elder statesmen do not plan on letting that happen again:
"I do remember Jake Locker’s first game," Smith said. "He was extremely fast. I just remember that. We definitely won’t take his speed lightly."
One facet of Locker's game the Orange haven't seen before is his punting ability. Not that he'll break it out for sure, but with their regular punter down with a torn ACL, the Huskies need a contingency plan and they're being coy about it.
"Well, we'll kind of keep that in our back pocket. It's not a kicker. We might have a little something.''
When asked if Locker might take some kicks, Sark left it open-ended. If that's the case, SU will want to try and make sure Locker kicks a helluva lot more than he throws.