Marrone, Syracuse quickly shift focus to matchup with Rutgers; Orange prepares to face Big East’s leading rusher

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Three days later, Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone kept his thoughts on his team’s victory over Pittsburgh to a minimum. He was proud of his players on Friday night, but the win didn’t hold any extra weight for his previously struggling program.“I’d rather go back and finish the season before we start putting labels on games,” Marrone said during the Big East coaches’ teleconference on Monday. “Obviously I haven’t done a good job, I haven’t won enough games and I realize that, and our focus is to win today.”Marrone’s focus has already shifted to the team’s matchup with No. 20 Rutgers on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. The Orange’s win over the Panthers was its first in Big East play since last October. Syracuse’s next challenge will come against a Scarlet Knights team that leads the conference in scoring defense, rushing defense and interceptions.The impressive numbers are not lost on Marrone as he prepares for Saturday.“Well, where should I start?” Marrone said during the teleconference. “I mean, there’s so many different ways. Obviously total defense, the full defense, the rushing defense, the pass efficiency defense, the scoring defense, tackles for loss, the turnover margin obviously is huge; they’re seventh in the country.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRutgers ranks second in the country with 10 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. And as the statistics show, the unit has limited its opponents on the ground and through the air en route to five straight victories to start the season.“Statistically, this is probably the best defense that we’ve faced since we’ve been here,” Marrone said.Jamison to provide challengeFor Marrone, every week has presented a challenge for the rush defense. In its first five games, the Orange faced a talented playmaker in the backfield.This Saturday, the unit will face the conference’s leading rusher in Jawan Jamison.“He’s up there with the kids we just played at Pitt, with the kids that we’ve played in these past couple games,” Marrone said during the teleconference. “He’s truly an outstanding back that’s very difficult to bring down and makes people miss.”Jamison has rushed for 601 yards in five games, an average of 120.2 per game. The sophomore has carried a heavy load for the Scarlet Knights offense, getting 130 touches on the ground, second only to Connecticut’s Lyle McCombs. His effectiveness has complemented Rutgers’ stout defense, taking precious minutes off the clock with his team out in front.Rutgers is second in the Big East in time of possession, controlling the ball for just more than 33 minutes a game. It’s a battle SU lost to Pittsburgh but overcame due to a strong defensive effort.The Orange will need to contain Jamison to pull off the upset on the road — something Marrone knows will be a tough task.“On the offensive side of the football, they do an outstanding job. They’re going to move the football,” Marrone said. “They make big plays and they don’t really give you a lot of opportunity because they burn up so much time.” Comments Published on October 9, 2012 at 2:57 am Contact Ryne: [email protected]last_img read more