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September 27, 2007Can the Orange (1-3) keep the winning going? After last week's shocker over 18th ranked Louisville, the Orange hit the road again for a Saturday showdown with Miami (OH). Syracuse players have said all season that once they get things rolling, victories would start piling up.
Well they got one win, so let's see if more are to follow.
Last week's game proved the Orange could fight and show some effort when they wanted to. Quarterback Andrew Robinson looked great passing for 423 yards, and for his efforts Robinson was named player of the week by USA Today.
Taj Smith and Mike Williams were on the receiving end of most of Robinson's big plays and should look to keep things going this week.
The Redhawks come in with the same record as the Orange and are a team searching for their identity. Last week, they were shutout 42-0 by Colorado.
Here's what to look for in Saturday's clash as Syracuse hits the road in search of its second consecutive win.
Orange fans finally saw what they thought they were going to get with the receiver combination of Smith and Williams. Last week against Louisville, the duo combined for more than 250 receiving yards in the upset win.
Now they have the confidence to play against any secondary and be effective.
Fresh of his USA Today player of the week nod, Robinson should get to the Miami defense early. In throwing for 423 yards last week, the Syracuse quarterback connected with seven different receivers and tallied four touchdowns.
The biggest adjustment might have been the offensive line. Robinson has hit the ground a lot thus far this season, but last Saturday he only went down twice.
The running game also looked good. Curtis Brinkley ran for 53 yards and should get that same amount if not more on Saturday.
The Redhawks defense is very suspect against the run, so if Robinson can get receivers the ball early, Brinkley will have a chance to bust a big play open with the run.
The key for the Orange defense is stopping the run. When they can do that they have a chance to win any game. In the lossed against Washington and Illinois, both teams had a 100 yard rusher.
But against Louisville, Syracuse stopped the Cardinals on the ground and kept Anthony Allen to 66 yards.
For the secondary, the Orange should have a little easier time with the Redhawk passing game than they did with Brian Brohm.
Brohm torched the Orange secondary for 555 yards and four touchdowns. Daniel Raudabaugh or Mike Kokal aren't Brohm, so look for A.J. Brown, Joe Fields and company to really put pressure on whoever is leading the Redhawks on the field.
Miami coach Shane Montgomery says both of his quarterbacks are likely to see time against Syracuse, so the Orange will have to be prepared for both.
Miami (OH) Offense
The Redhawks made a change last week with Raudabaugh taking all of the snaps at quarterback as senior Mike Kokal looked on. Offense is where the Redhawks suffer the most and the change at QB didn't do much to help.
In the 42-0 loss to Colorado last week, Raudabaugh only threw for 95 yards on 32 attempts. It's safe to say Miami struggles a tad bit more than the Orange when it comes to moving the football.
The Redhawks could very well switch up their rotation as Raudabaugh should get the majority of the snaps while Kokal waits in the wings if needed.
With a mediocre passing game, one would think a team could make up for that with a decent running game. But the Redhawks struggle with the run as well.
Seniors Brandon Murphy and Austin Sykes lead them in rushing but the two combined only have 313 yards with two touchdowns. You do the math. That won't get it done.
Miami can't seem to find an identity on the offensive side of the ball and Syracuse hopes that search will continue this weekend.
Miami (OH) Defense
The Redhawks' defense gives up close to 36 points a game and nearly 500 total yards to opponents on average.
The main reason for their struggles is inexperience. A lot of Miami's core guys on the inside are sophomores. Linebacker Caleb Bostic tries his best week in and week out, but he can't do it alone.
For the season, Bostic leads the team in tackles with 50 and one fumble recovery.
In the secondary, the Redhawks have guys that can make plays, with Robbie Wilson, Jordan Gafford and Jarrid Gaines matching up with opponents' wide receivers.
While none of them have interceptions on the season, they play physical and bump receivers off stride just a tad to throw them off rhythm.
With the confidence boost the Orange have over their win last week against Louisville, it's hard to pick against them now.
They're riding sky high and a team like Miami (OH) is just what they needed to get things going. Look for the Orange running game to get loose as well on Saturday.
We know the ball can sail through the air once Robinson gets going; now it's time for Brinkley to bring it.
Miami (OH) 10