This isn't the Northwestern Wildcats' first barn dance in the Carrier Dome. They visited here a few years back and felt the Paulusy justice that only Greg Paulus could dish out. The Wildcats lost to the Syracuse Orange 37-34 on a last second Lichtenstein! field goal, but that's not what sticks out for them. What they remember most is...the Syracuse heat?
Senior defensive tackle Brian Arnfelt remembers one thing from Northwestern’s last trip to Syracuse in 2009.
"It’s hot," he said.
"We had a perfect day to prepare for what we’re going to have to see in the dome — (it was) warm, muggy outside," coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "We were outside a majority of practice and then went inside to try and simulate the crowd noise that we’ll see on Saturday. We couldn’t have asked for anything better, as far as weather-wise prep, for today."
Northwestern will look very different when they visit the Dome this time and a large part of that will be dual threat QB Kain Colter, the first of many SU will face this season. Colter is the realized potential of what Ashton Broyld could become.
In four starts at quarterback and seven as a receiver in 2011, Colter passed for 673 yards, ran for 654, and caught 14 passes for 466 yards. The honorable mention All-Big Ten selection accounted for 18 of the Wildcats’ 51 touchdowns last season – three as a receiver, nine as a runner and six as a passer.
For the Orange, it's no surprise to hear that All-Big-East tackle Justin Pugh will be on the sidelines for this one. He's probably going to stay there for a few more games as well.
"I’m just trying to get back as soon as possible," he said. "I’m running, I’m lifting. The progress I’m making, they say I’m ahead of schedule. It’s just the waiting game. They have to prepare for the worst-case scenario. But if things go right, if things swing in my favor, they won’t have to worry about (finding a replacement). I’m probably giving you the best-case scenario and he’s probably giving you the worst-case scenario. Hopefully it’s the best-case."
The Syracuse defense is all about meat metaphors. The best hit each week earns someone The Bone. The key cogs in the defensive line refer to themselves as The Meat. And when it comes to Davon Walls, he takes it one step further...
"I’m like a steak," he said. "People want it medium rare. That’s how I am. Right now I’m just doing what I have to do to help the team."
I'm not entirely sure what he means, but, I like it.