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Orange Nation: Start Your Dreaming Again

SU goes to Morgantown and pulls the unthinkable by beating West Virginia.

AP Photos

6:18p: This Syracuse win was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been a part of. I rolled into Morgantown on Friday afternoon and absolutely nobody thought Syracuse would beat West Virginia. The Orange was up against the #20 team in the nation, a place it hadn’t won in since ’00, and coming off the Homecoming Horror against Pitt.

Not only did the Orange force three first half interceptions from Geno Smith, but it also held the Mountaineers to no points on their last ten drives. It was an SU football team I’ve never seen in my time at the school, and one no one has seen since ’04.

Delone Carter was declared done at halftime because of injury. Usually a crushing blow, but today not a big deal because Antwon Bailey and Prince Tyson Gulley filled the void. Ryan Nassib didn’t have a great game passing, but the defense was there to pick up the slack and shut down West Virginia.

The atmosphere at this game was incredible. As loud as the blue and gold crowd could get on third down (you couldn’t hear yourself speak at points), it was quieted by the SU offense attacking when needed.

After the game, players downplayed the significance of the win.

“Just another win.”

“We just executed the gameplan.”

“All of the credit goes to our coaches.”

Doug Marrone followed suit by not committing on whether the team was going to flip the banner at The Varsity when it got back to Syracuse. Come on – OF COURSE it would!

SU was concerned it got a little too high after the win over South Florida. So did I. This, however, was a legitimate big-time win. Chandler Jones claimed he was already thinking about the Cincinnati game in the postgame locker room. Thirty minutes after the win? I doubt it, but this team really believes it can compete for the Big East.

The Orange went on the road and shocked not just Morgantown, but also the nation since this game was on ESPN2.

How memorable was the afternoon? As I left the press box, I high-fived Daryl Gross. DARYL GROSS!!! When is that going to happen again?

It’s a game I’ll never forget, and a game that may define this season.

Posted: Mike Couzens

– – –

4:12p: Some argued that the victory at USF wasn’t a trademark win. Pittsburgh certainly was a statement, but for all of the wrong reasons. But today’s win at #20 West Virginia is patented, copyrighted and trademarked. Syracuse football has proven it comes to play every week, and will knock you in the mouth on the road.

Scott Shafer is quickly turning into a defensive hero. The packages he ran against West Virginia were similar to that against the Bulls. The strategy that worked so well against BJ Daniels also hog-tied Geno Smith. Blitz early, make the young quarterback decide quickly, and keep the big-play damage to a minimum. Ryan Nassib didn’t turn the ball over, and Antwon Bailey stepped up big time. It was a great gameplan, it was executed well, and Syracuse comes away with the Schwartzwalder Trophy.

From a national perspective, does an unranked SU team’s upset of the presumed power program have negative implications for the Big East? Absolutely. Should a Syracuse fan care? Hell no. In a sport with no playoffs, it’s every team for itself. And as we have discussed at The Fizz before, this is a league for the taking.

This chunk of SU’s schedule seemed formidable when the season began. On the road against USF (the Orange had never beaten the Bulls), home against Pitt (preseason conference favorite), on the road against West Virginia (only ranked team in the league) and at Cincinnati (reigning champs).

Through three games of this murderer’s row, the Orange is 2-1 and right where it wants to be in a parity-driven conference. The ‘Cuse is in the house. I’ll let you finish this one John Wallace.

Posted: Ted Conroy

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