EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the seventh of eight team previews that will be launched this week on BIGEAST.org. The order of release will coincide with the order of this year's preseason poll.
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Syracuse, which has improved its win total in each of the last two seasons, looks to return to the postseason for the first time since 2004.
In head coach Doug Marrone’s first year at his alma mater, Syracuse averaged 330.4 yards of offense — its best mark since 2004 — and held opponents to an average of 337.0 yards.
Syracuse is the only BIG EAST team to open the 2010 season with consecutive road games.
Syracuse has just four returning offensive starters, but brings back nine returning starters on defense.
The Orange ranked sixth nationally in sacks last season after ranking 100th in that category in 2008.
QB Ryan Nassib is expected to take over as the starter in 2010. Nassib appeared in 10 games and threw three touchdown passes in 2009.
The Orange return their top rusher from last season in RB Delone Carter, who ran for 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2009.
C Ryan Bartholomew earned All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades last year. Bartholomew is one of two returning starters on the offensive line, joining OG Adam Rosner.
The Orange return three of their top four receiving leaders, including WR Alec Lemon (295 yards, 1 TD), WR Marcus Sales (324 yards, 3 TDs). Bailey had 200 receiving yards out of the backfield.
Syracuse led the BIG EAST and ranked 13th nationally in rushing defense last season (101.8 yards per game).
LB Derrell Smith was an All-BIG EAST Second Team pick last year after he led the conference in forced fumbles (four) and was fifth in tackles (8.1 per game).
LB Doug Hogue had 9.5 sacks last year to rank second in the BIG EAST.
The Orange return all four starters in the secondary and three of the four starters on the defensive line.
P Rob Long is an all-America candidate and was an All-BIG EAST First Team pick last year. Long ranked second in the conference in punting (43.6 yards per punt).
K Ryan Lichtenstein emerged as a reliable kicker last year after he hit 13 of 17 field goal attempts, including 6 of 7 from 40 yards or longer.
|From the BIG EAST Newsstand
| "Although he had the benefit of a full spring practice period thanks to his enrollment at Syracuse University in January, Marquis Spruill will still be a true freshman when the Orange opens the season at 6 p.m. Saturday at Akron. Spruill (6-foot-2, 223 pounds) will start at outside linebacker alongside seniors Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue."
SU freshman Marquis Spruill will listen to tunes to calm his nerves before first start - The Post-Standard
|Heading into his second season as head coach of the Syracuse University football team, Doug Marrone says his team is in a good place. The former Orange offensive tackle is a tough disciplinarian with one major goal in mind: “We’ve got to get to a bowl,” Marrone said. “Once we pass that hurdle I think great things could happen. Because the way the program is being built, it’s being built for the long term, not the short term.”
2010 Syracuse Orange Football Preview: 'We've got to get to a bowl' - The Post-Standard