FB : Cooper: Syracuse needs to beat Tulane to gain momentum before bye week

first_imgAs Van Chew spoke on Wednesday afternoon, there was a sense of irony between his words and the backdrop behind him.Seated in front of a large panorama of the Carrier Dome displaying the kickoff from Greg Robinson’s first game as head coach — Sept. 4, 2005, Syracuse versus West Virginia — the SU wide receiver discussed getting over this past weekend, one of the most embarrassing losses for the Orange since Robinson ceased to be SU’s coach almost three years ago.‘We basically just laid that game to rest,’ Chew said. ‘And during the week we’re just going back to our fundamentals.’Last Saturday’s five-turnover implosion against Rutgers was similar to the game that started the Robinson era against WVU. In that game, a dreadful 15-7 loss for SU, the Orange turned the ball over twice, gained just 103 yards of total offense and went 0-of-15 on third down. All while forcing five turnovers in a superb defensive performance for the losing side.But that game started a 1-10 campaign and set the tone for the darkest era in Syracuse football history. Last Saturday’s loss, though, can just be a blip — a bad day for the SU stock in an otherwise rising season under head coach Doug Marrone.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTo ensure the loss to Rutgers is just a minor downtick, this week is integral for SU. The Orange plays a horrendous — absolutely horrendous — Tulane team. A Tulane team that, despite having two wins, has a coach that’s on the hot seat.The Green Wave lost 45-6 to Army and gave up 33 points to Southeastern Louisiana, a Football Championship Subdivision team that sits at 1-4.I won’t call it a must-win game for Syracuse, but it’s a really, really need-to-win game.‘It’s real important,’ Chew said. ‘Because if we go into the bye week with a losing streak, it’s going to be real bad, and it’s going to sit in people’s heads for the whole week. So we just got to strap up and be prepared for Saturday.’Syracuse needs to knock around the Green Wave. If not, if Tulane hangs around and finds a way to win, SU finds itself sitting at 3-3 at the midway point of the season.The Orange would be a .500 team without a sure win left on the schedule and bowl eligibility not even close to guaranteed. The panic buttons that were pressed after Saturday would be hammered until they broke.‘We’re not really focused too much on the future, but I’d say this is a very important game,’ said Dan Vaughan, an SU linebacker and the team’s leading tackler. ‘We can’t let one loss lead to another, so we’re just focused on Tulane.’Plus, Syracuse should simply be able to knock around the Green Wave. This game shouldn’t be close. The Orange has a goal to compete for the Big East title, and Tulane is borderline dysfunctional. Its head coach, Bob Toledo, spent this week lashing out at naysayers and bandwagon jumpers.But giving up 33, 48 and 45 points to Southeastern Louisiana, Duke and Army could make even the most loyal die-hard consider taking a leap.‘We, as coaches, don’t coach some of the things that are going on,’ Toledo said in a press conference on Tuesday. ‘ … To throw interceptions, to fumble and get beat deep. We don’t coach them to do that, but that’s part of the game. Unfortunately, it’s happened to us, and it’s happened to us numerous times.’The SU defense just forced four turnovers against Rutgers. This is a game to wreak havoc, hit the quarterback, get up a few touchdowns and watch the backups play.Right?‘The one thing that we’re dealing with is again a situation where you’re up on a team and how do you get to that next score to really put the game, to some extent, out of reach,’ Marrone said in his Wednesday teleconference. ‘That’s the situation that we haven’t been in before.’It’s a situation that the great teams find themselves in all the time. The top teams in the Big East this season have done it. West Virginia beat Bowling Green 55-10. South Florida topped Texas- El Paso 52-24. Syracuse failed in its first opportunity to pick up a comfortable win, squeaking one out over Rhode Island.The damage done by the G-Rob era is still visible. Mediocre attendance. A fan base whose belief wavers week to week.Losses to Akron and Miami (Ohio) and a single-digit win over Northeastern define those years.A big win over Tulane would show a difference. And maybe, someday, it could help lead to a new backdrop for players to sit before.Mark Cooper is an asst. sports editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at mcooperj@syr.edu or on Twitter at @M_Coops_Cuse. Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on October 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: mcooperj@syr.edu | @mark_cooperjrlast_img

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