BIGEAST.org will be previewing all eight BIG EAST teams leading up to the start of the season. Team previews will be released in inverse order of the preseason media poll - today's preview will be of the Syracuse Orange, who were picked seventh.
Syracuse played three overtime games in the 2011 season, going 2-1 in those contests.
The Orange were 5-1 when they scored at least 21 points and 0-6 when they were held to 20 points or fewer.
Syracuse won five of its first seven games, but closed the 2011 season with a five-game slide.
Among the Orange’s 2012 nonconference opponents are two teams from the Big Ten and one each from the Pac-12 and SEC.
QB Ryan Nassib leads a group of five returning starters on offense. Nassib enters his third year as the starter ranked fourth in school history in career yards (5,441) and touchdown passes (44).
The Orange return All-BIG EAST Second Team WR Alec Lemon as well as WR Marcus Sales, who capped the 2010 season with a 172-yard, three-touchdown effort in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Sales did not play in 2011.
OT Justin Pugh earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors last year and is one of three returning starters on the offensive line. C Macky MacPherson was named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top center.
LB Marquis Spruill, who earned All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades last year, leads a veteran defense that returns seven starters.
Spruill joins LB Dyshawn Davis — a FWAA Freshman All-America selection last year — and LB Dan Vaughn — the team’s second-leading tackler — as returning starters at linebacker.
SS Shamarko Thomas, who had 67 tackles last season, anchors the secondary.
The defensive line will have to replace first-round draft choice Chandler Jones, but will feature DE Deon Goggins and DT Jay Bromley, who combined for 13 tackes for loss last year.
K Ross Krautman set the BIG EAST’s single-season field goal accuracy record in 2010 (94.7 percent) and enjoyed a solid sophomore year in 2011, making 15 of 19 attempts (78.9 percent).
WR Jeremiah Kobena amassed 1,027 yards on kickoff returns last season and averaged 22.8 yards per attempt.