DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 11th, 4:00 p.m
FACTS & STATS: Site: Husky Stadium (72,500) -- Seattle, Washington. Television:FSN-NW. Home Record: Syracuse 0-0, Washington 0-0. Away Record: Syracuse 1-0, Washington 0-1. Neutral Record: Syracuse 0-0, Washington 0-0. Conference Record: Syracuse 0-0, Washington 0-0. Series Record: Washington leads, 2-1.
The Orange opened its season on the road last weekend and came away with a 29-3 victory at Akron. It was the first season-opening victory for Syracuse since it bested North Carolina on the road in 2003. The win was also the first on the road under second-year head coach Doug Marrone, who guided the Orange to a 4-8 finish in 2009.
On the flip side, the Huskies fell just short in their opener at BYU, dropping a 23-17 decision on Saturday. It was a disappointing beginning for a Washington program that has expectations to reach its first bowl game since 2002. A loss this weekend however, would be damaging to those aspirations, as Nebraska and USC await the Huskies in the following weeks.
Washington leads the all-time series with Syracuse, 2-1, after taking the most recent meeting, 42-12, in 2007.
Quarterback Ryan Nassib, making his first collegiate start, threw for 229 yards and a pair of TDs to lead the Orange past Akron. The junior gunslinger, who hit on 17-of-27 attempts with one pick, also added 59 yards on the ground. The Orange totaled 202 rushing yards as team, with Delone Carter leading the way. Carter, one of only two returning starters on offense, rushed for 91 yards and a score on 26 carries. He figures to be the key to this unit after rushing for 1,021 yards and 11 scores in '09.
Despite not creating a single turnover, the Orange' defense was terrific in the opener, limiting Akron to just 166 total yards. The unit allowed only 55 yards on the ground, while limiting Akron to just a 12-of-35 effort on pass attempts. Syracuse surrendered a total of just nine first downs in the game, further displaying its dominance. Mike Holmes had six tackles and one of three sacks for the defense, which figures to be the strength of the team with nearly every starter back from a year ago.
Expectation are high in Seattle thanks to the return of QB Jake Locker, a Heisman Trophy candidate. Unfortunately, Locker wasn't able to get the job done this past weekend, as Washington failed to score after the intermission of a 23-17 loss at BYU. The senior completed 20-of-37 tosses for 266 yards and a touchdown, while adding 29 yards and another score on the ground. It was a solid effort from Locker, but he was unable to come up with the big plays down the stretch. Jermaine Kearse, last year's top receiver, continued his good rapport with Locker and finished with five receptions for 108 yards and a score. The ground game was paced by Chris Polk, a, 1,000-yard rusher in '09, who went for 92 yards on just 16 carries.
Defensively, Washington struggled last season so the team is seeking a big improvement in 2010. The defense looked better in the opener, although the unit gave up 408 total yards without creating a single turnover. Still, the Huskies stayed in position to win the game thanks to the defense, which limited BYU to only two TDs for the game.Mason Foster had 14 tackles in the loss, while Victor Aiyewa posted 10 stops and a forced fumble.
The Huskies are coming off a disappointing loss, but look for them to rebound with a big game from Locker and company this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 31, Syracuse 17