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Meet the Enemy: Wagner’s Facts and Players to Know

Photo Courtesy of WagnerAthletics.com

1987. That’s the last time Syracuse Football started a season with five straight wins. Following SU’s triumph over Virginia, the Orange are one win away from that mark, and there may be magic in the air. To match its total from a season ago, Syracuse will have to take down Wagner. The Seahawks as a program are, well… let’s call it not pretty.

SEASON AND PROGRAM OVERVIEW

It has been nothing short of a struggle for Wagner on the gridiron as of late. The last time the Seahawks won a game was three years ago today (September 28, 2019). Yikes. This season hasn’t helped the cause. Wagner has lost all three of its contests, highlighted by a 66-7 drubbing at the hands of Rutgers. At least the Seahawks were somewhat competitive in the other two games? They lost them by an average of 18.5 points. Fans on Staten Island haven’t been treated to a winning season since 2016. Unless things change drastically, it may stay that way for some time.

HEAD COACH TOM MASELLA

As one could predict by what’s written above, Masella’s tenure as head coach has been adventurous. A former Seahawk himself in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Masella was hired after the 2019 season concluded. He’s winless thus far. That being said, he does bring a solid track record to the table. While coaching at Fordham, Masella led the Rams to the A-10 title in 2007 and was an assistant on Wagner’s NEC title team in 2012. But the success as head coach at his alma mater has been tough to find.

QB NICK KARGMAN

Kargman took over the starting job this season after seeing minimal action over the past few years. The Western Michigan transfer spent three seasons in Kalamazoo, throwing a grand total of three passes. One for every season. Kargman has had plenty of playing time with the Seahawks, albeit it has been tough for him. Try a completion percentage of well under 50%, barely 150 passing yards per game, and the same number of TDs as INTs as proof. If Wagner is to break its long losing skid, Kargman has to elevate his game.

WR NAIEM SIMMONS

If there is one bright spot to look at when assessing this Wagner team, it’s Simmons. The Cherry Hill, NJ native led the team in receptions and receiving yards a year ago and has kicked it up a notch this year. Simmons has over half of the team’s receiving yards, in large part thanks to a 162-yard effort in the opener. Add that to the fact that he’s caught 2 of Kargman’s 4 touchdowns, “favorite target” might be an understatement. Syracuse’s secondary was solid in containing Virginia wideouts Keytaon Thompson and Dontayvion Wicks, and it’ll have to keep an eye on Simmons this weekend.

LB TRE VALLAR

Vallar is the anchor of the Seahawks’ defensive unit. One year after finishing second on the team in tackles, the Grand Rapids, MI native has carried it over into this year. Vallar leads the team with 20 total tackles, and also has two tackles for loss. Syracuse All-American RB Sean Tucker has struggled to get it going out of the gate. If he wants to snap out of it against Wagner, he’d do well to avoid crossing paths with Vallar.

DB CHRISTIAN DAVIS

The final Seahawk we’ll talk about, Davis has been a ball magnet of sorts this year. The Piscataway, NJ native has picked up an interception and scooped up a fumble in the early going for Wagner this season. Only one other Seahawk has an INT, no one else on the team has a fumble recovery. In other words, Davis has accounted for 67% of the Seahawks’ takeaways this season. It would not be wise of Garrett Shrader to repeatedly challenge Davis. Otherwise, he could pay a big price.

Signs point toward Syracuse running away with it rather quickly. But you never know, that’s why you play the game. Opportunities to play a college football game at a historic venue like the Dome don’t come around to everyone, expect Masella and his Seahawks to give 110% for 60 minutes.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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