Syracuse football is 3-0 for the first time in over two decades, since 1991 to be exact. In ’91, the Best Picture at the Oscars was “Silence of the Lambs”, Steffi Graf won her third Wimbeldon title, and TIME magazine’s Man of the Year Ted Turner married Jane Fonda. But I digress; Syracuse football was 3-0, and on its way to its fifth straight winning season. Let’s turn back the clocks and look at the 1991 Syracuse Orange.
Like the 2015 team, the 1991 Orange was surrounded with a lot of uncertainty. First-year coach Paul Pasqualoni had to fill the shoes of the departed Dick MacPherson, and Syracuse football was in a new conference; the Big East. Still, the Orange was #25 in the AP Preseason poll and had expectations to live up to. It did.
Syracuse started its season with two double-digit wins against Vanderbilt and Maryland. To get to 3-0, the then #18 Orange would have to take down #5 Florida in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse took care of business with a 38-21 win. Pasualoni wouldn’t lose his first game as a coach until Week 5, when top-ranked Florida State beat the Orange 46-14. Another loss against East Carolina the next week would drop Syracuse back down to #24 in the polls, but that would be the last game the Orange lost in the season. On New Year’s Day Syracuse beat Ohio State in the Hall of Fame Bowl, the team’s fourth consecutive bowl win. Syracuse finished #11 in the final AP Poll.
The ’91 Orange was led by quarterback Marvin Graves, who led the Big East with his 59.3% completion percentage. Running back David Walker ran for 969 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Pasqualoni would go 10-2 in his first season; the Orange has won 10 or more games only twice since. Who knows, maybe this year’s team will be the third.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson