Last year, the Syracuse Orange defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 19-14. You might remember that. I'm sure the West Virginia players do. Coach Dana Holgorsen says revenge is not a motivating factor for the 'Neers. Or at least it shouldn't be.
"If we need anymore motivation than [winning a conference game], then we’re out of luck because that’s all I got for them this week and that should be plenty," said Holgorsen.
Quarterback Geno Smith would like to erase last year's game from everyone's memory. He was sacked five times and threw three interceptions. He's been on a tear so far this season, fifth in the FBS with 359.8 passing yards per game. The Orange will have their hands full game-planning for him. For a defense currently ranked 112th in the FBS in pass defense, it's a scary proposition.
Hopefully the return of Chanler Jones and Olando Fisher adds something that's been missing.
At 4-2, the Orange are at the halfway mark of the season with a good chance to go to their second-consecutive bowl game. They've also looked at times like a team that can go 0-6 from here on out. There's so much potential for good and bad in the coming weeks, so is this the most important game of the Doug Marrone Era so far? Brent Axe thinks so...
I swear, it's getting harder and harder to tell when I'm making up a Doug Marrone quote and when he's actually being quoted:
"I think from the standpoint of what both teams do, I don’t think so.
So I don’t think, at least from our standpoint, that you’ll see a lot of changes."
From the standpoint of the players, you see what’s been giving them difficulties and where the breakdowns are occurring and why. You think about how to get some people more help – and that’s in all three phases from a scheme standpoint.
"When you look at things from a fragmented standpoint, or segments of games, we’ve been able to do some good things at times.
Right now, from a coaching standpoint, we have a better sense of what we’ve done well and what we haven’t and what we need to continue to improve upon, as well as recognizing what the players have done well and what we need them to improve.
So that’s the pressure they put on you from an offensive standpoint, and they do an excellent job of that.
That's the challenge of what goes on with this team, but from a schematic standpoint, it's much more difficult to take these guys out of the game because they are all over and they are spread out across the field."