EDITORS NOTE : This is the fifth of eight team previews leading up to the 2011 football season. The previews will be released in reverse order of the preseason poll.
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SYRACUSE' 2011 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Syracuse has increased its number of wins in each of Doug Marrone’s first two seasons as head coach, culminating with a victory against Kansas State in the 2010 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Syracuse is looking to register its first back-to-back winning seasons since 2001, when the Orange capped a streak of 15 straight winning seasons.
Syracuse was 5-1 on the road last season.
After registering just one win against top-25 opponents from 2005-08, Syracuse has defeated at least one top-25 opponent in each of the last two years.
In addition to returning starting QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse returns its five top receivers from last year. Returning players accounted for 17 of the Orange’s 19 touchdown receptions in 2010.
Nassib enters the 2011 season ranked seventh in school history in career touchdown passes (22), eighth in career completions (238) and fifth in career completion percentage (55.6 percent).
Syracuse returns four starting offensive linemen from last season, including All-BIG EAST Second Team OG Justin Pugh.
The Orange turn to RB Antwon Bailey (554 yards, 2 TDs in 2010) to replace All-BIG EAST choice Delone Carter as the featured back.
Syracuse ranked 114th nationally in total defense in 2008 — the year prior to Doug Marrone’s arrival. The Orange were 37th in 2009 and seventh in 2010.
DE Chandler Jones earned All-BIG EAST Second Team honors last year. He joins DE Mikhail Marinovich as the two returning starters on the defensive line.
SS Shamarko Thomas and FS Phillip Thomas return from a secondary that led the BIG EAST in pass defense last season. Syracuse will feature new starters at both cornerback positions.
The lone returning starter at linebacker is sophomore LB Marquis Spruill. The Orange lost two All-BIG EAST linebackers from last year.
K Ross Krautman enters the 2011 season with a streak of 16 consecutive made field goals, tying Syracuse’s career record. Krautman made 18 of 19 field goal attempts last year, setting the BIG EAST single-season record at 94.7 percent accuracy.