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Marrone, Syracuse wary of modest win streak
By JOHN KEKIS
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Syracuse coach Doug Marrone isn't ready to lead any bandwagon just yet. But everyone in and around the Orange has to feel good about the direction of the team after a shaky start.
His Orange (4-4, 3-1 Big East) posted a scintillating comeback win at South Florida to remain in the hunt for the league title. Syracuse came back from a 20-point halftime deficit to win 37-36, one of the greatest comebacks in school history.
But Marrone has seen this act before and doesn't put much stock in it.
"I don't put a lot into one game," Marrone said. "I think that's been done before in the past, and I think it's hurt us a little bit."
Syracuse is 2-0 at home and 1-1 on the road in the Big East as it prepares to travel to Cincinnati on Saturday. Two years ago, the Orange went 4-0 on the road in the conference and winless at home.
The team's recent history certainly backs up Marrone's thought process. Syracuse was 3-25 in the Big East in four years under Greg Robinson and in two of his first three seasons, Marrone went 1-6 in the conference. The exception was 2010 when Syracuse finished 7-5 in the regular season - two of those wins were against FCS teams - and then defeated Kansas State in the Pinstripe Bowl.
The Orange reverted to form last year, going 1-6 in conference play despite a promising 5-2 start to the season and finished at 5-7.
That his team rallied vs. South Florida did nothing to dissuade Marrone's outlook.
"I think a lot of people write about that stuff, but I'm trying to have a significant season," he said. "It's very difficult. We've taken one step forward, at times we take steps back, we take a couple more steps forward, we take steps back."
The South Florida game offered a perfect example.
In the first half it was all backward. The Orange dropped balls, failed to intercept a pass, missed a 22-yard field goal, and was whistled for five penalties. All against a team that had lost 10 of 11. At halftime, the Bulls led, 23-3.
Syracuse regrouped in the locker room, then proceeded to fashion the comeback. Nassib threw two touchdown passes, and Alec Lemon ran one in, all before the 6:00 mark of the third.
And away they went.
"My goal is just to try to become a more consistent team and program and play better," Marrone said. "And I have to be more consistent in getting them ready."
Updated October 29, 2012