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Syracuse Faces First Hurdle Of Season In Wildcats

The quest for bowl eligibility begins now.
Syracuse lineman perform the fort drum pugil fighting drill.


In a game that features two teams coming off disappointing seasons, the Syracuse Orange will play the Northwestern Wildcats in a surprisingly intriguing game. Both teams reached bowl games in 2010, but failed to recapture the glory of a winning season in 2011.

The last time these two teams met back in 2009, Syracuse wanted to prove something: that head coach Doug Marrone was the right man for the job. SU defeated Northwestern in that game 37-34, giving Marrone his first victory as the Orange head coach.

Now, in 2012, the Orange look to prove something different, yet also similar: that 2011 was an abnormality and Doug Marrone is still the right man for the job. The Orange’s first task is to beat the Wildcats, who are also coming off a losing season.

Ryan Nassib enters his third year as the starting quarterback for the Orange, and is coming off the best statistical year of his career. Last season, Nassib set multiple team records in completions (259), attempts (415) and yards (2,685), according to However, a very inexperienced offensive line may hamper Nassib’s ability to better his numbers this season. Luckily, Nassib will be throwing to the talented veteran Alec Lemon, as well as Marcus Sales, who is returning after not playing football last season.

As for matching up with Northwestern, the Orange will need to score early and often, as the Wildcats defense returns many key players that will be looking to disrupt the Orange. Also, Syracuse will have to go toe-to-toe with the explosive junior quarterback Kain Colter; and if the Orange defense can’t stop Colter, the SU offense will have to keep putting up the points.

Syracuse has a nice mix of veterans and young players, and can use that to its advantage. But if the Orange gets into a shooting match with the Wildcats, it may not be able to keep up.