By JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer
Say this about Syracuse's Doug Marrone: He knows how to prepare with the best of them.
Fresh from a season-opening 29-3 victory at Akron, the Orange's second-year head coach was quick to remind everyone what lies ahead on Saturday night when Syracuse plays at Washington.
"Everybody knows that I'm big with the history of this program," Marrone said Monday as former Orange coach Dick MacPherson listened intently. "Syracuse is 1-11-1 in road games on the West Coast since 1964. We haven't done well out there, and we've had some darn good coaches and a lot of great players make that trip."
Well, not quite that many.
Actually, since 1964 Syracuse is 1-9-1 as the visitor against teams from the region - if you include games against Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma and BYU. (Marrone's total also included two losses further inland).
More importantly, Syracuse has lost its first road game of the season the past six years as it's struggled mightily to field a team that can compete in the Big East. Since Paul Pasqualoni was fired after the 2004 season, Syracuse has won only four of 35 conference games.
"It's another big challenge for us ... to start changing that," Marrone said. "What we're trying to make sure we teach this team is that we're creating some of our history ourselves. If we do things the same way, how do we expect different results?"
Marrone was 4-8 as a rookie last season as he tries to change the mentality of a team that's become too accustomed to losing. He's off to a good start this year, even if the first victim was an Akron team that's short on tradition and with a rookie head coach.
It was the Orange's first win in a season-opener in seven years.
"Learning how to win - I thought we did a nice job of that," Marrone said.
Junior quarterback Ryan Nassib was efficient in his first career start, completing 17 of 27 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns while gaining 58 yards on nine carries.
Nassib connected with Aaron Weaver for a 23-yard score on the game's first series and found Van Chew for a 26-yard touchdown just seconds before halftime for a 17-3 lead. Nassib's 287 total yards of offense is the best in the Big East so far and earned him conference player of the week honors on offense.
"I thought we did a nice job coming out strong on offense," Marrone said. "We went down the field and scored. When we have the tempo and are in sych, that's the ability we have on offense - to take the ball and score."
On defense, senior cornerback Mike Holmes made up for a dropped punt with the game-breaking play - a 57-yard touchdown return of a field goal blocked by senior linebacker Doug Hogue and junior defensive end Chandler Jones. Holmes also had six tackles, including a sack, and was tabbed Big East defensive player of the week.
Still, there were two botched extra points, two lost fumbles and an interception.
"There were mistakes made ... that we can't have as the season goes on," Marrone said. "That can cost you winning football games faster than anything else you do."
Syracuse's two-deep roster remained unchanged on Monday and overall (offense, defense and special teams) includes five sophomores and four freshmen.
"We had a lot of young players out there," Marrone said of his special teams. "I thought they got down the field well."
Notes: Syracuse last had a pair of player of the week honors in the same week in 2009, Mike Williams on offense and kicker Ryan Lichtenstein on special teams. The last time the Orange had offensive and defensive awards in the same week was 2004 when Diamond Ferri won both for his memorable performance at Boston College in the regular-season finale. Ferri scored two touchdowns on offense and one on defense to help Syracuse to a 43-17 win over the 17th-ranked Eagles. The win clinched the Orange's last bowl berth.