The Syracuse University football program used a career day from senior quarterback Ryan Nassib and a fourth-quarter touchdown catch by senior tight end Mike Accione last Saturday to edged the University of Rhode Island, 21-14, at the Carrier Dome. Nassib finished with a collegiate-best 318 passing yards and three TDs to help the Orange improved to 2-0 for the first time since 1999.
SU's overall record, however, masks the early-season poor play of the program. In week one, the Orange escaped with a 36-29 overtime victory over the University of Wake Forest, which led 29-14 with 11:02 remaining in the game. A pair of late TDs -- a two-yard catch by senior fullback Adam Harris and a 53-yard run by senior running back Antwon Bailey -- and a 2-point conversion helped SU tie and send the contest into OT. A four-yard TD catch by senior Van Chew in the first possession of OT allowed the Orange to escape with the victory.
The Demon Deacons starting quarterback Tanner Price tossed for 289 yards, three TDs before leaving with an injury early in the fourth quarter. The SU defense allowed 406 total yards, while allowing Wake Forest to convert 36.8 percent (7-of-19) of its third downs.
Last week, the Orange were suppose to show that the struggles in home opener was just a fluke, but the Rams (0-1) played well and tied the game, 14-14, with a TD on their first possession in the second half. It wasn't until 8:34 to go in the game when Acchione, a former walk on, caught his first collegiate TD to help the Orange survive a second straight week.
URI's senior quarterback Steve Probst was effective completing 14-of-30 passes for 154 yards and a TD. Probst also ran for 69 yards on 15 carries. Again, the SU defense allowed its opponent to convert a good amount (35.7) of its third downs and was vulnerable to its passing attack.
On Saturday, Syracuse will face its biggest challenge of the 2011-'12 season as the Orange travel to the West Coast to take on the University of Southern California at the Los Angeles Coliseum (8 p.m. on FX). The Trojans (2-0), who earned close victories over the University of Minnesota and University of Utah, respectively, are hosting the Orange for the first time since 1924.
Coming into the game, the Orange are a 15-point underdog and will need to put together a near perfect day to pull out the upset against the talented Trojans.
Can SU pull out the victory? SB Nation New York will be examining the game against the Trojans all day. Check back to this StoryStream for all your pregame, in-game and post-game information.