Syracuse hopes to become home warriors

Syracuse has been the Big East's road warrior this year, going all Mad Max on four different opponents away from home and winning three Big East road games.

This seems like an odd question to ask, but can the Orange duplicate their success at home?

They haven't beaten an FBS opponent in the Carrier Dome yet, though they've only had one try. That didn't turn out so well, as Pitt blasted the Orange 45-14 and sent the crowd home early on Oct. 16. Syracuse has been building enthusiasm and support with its 6-2 start, but now it's time to put on a show for the home folks to see.

Three of the final four games are at home, including Saturday's date with Louisville.

"We want to play well at home every game," running back Delone Carter said. "And we definitely want to play well in this one."

After last week's 31-7 win at Cincinnati, head coach Doug Marrone hesitated to explain why his team performed so well on the road, lest he give up any preparation secrets. But he said that sometimes playing at home can be a distraction, especially for a team not used to success.

"Sometimes the people who love you the most will support you the most, but they also distract you the most," Marrone said. "It is just a matter of logistics. You definitely have less logistics on the road. Personally, I definitely have less logistics on the road than I do for a home game."

The Orange want to turn the Carrier Dome back into the loud, intimidating home atmosphere it used to be. They were close to doing that in the Pittsburgh game, but the Panthers took the crowd out of things by grabbing a quick early lead and never letting go.

“Hopefully, we can create an environment that I remember that makes it difficult for these teams to come in and play," Marrone said. "We have that ability. The people who have been coming to the games have been great, they’re vocal and they really appreciate how hard these players have worked to be where we are now. For the people who aren’t, I invite them to come and see what we have to offer in our program."

While Syracuse looks to improve at home, Louisville will be trying to do the same thing on the road. The Cardinals haven't won a Big East road game more than three years; the last one was a win over Cincinnati on Oct. 13, 2007.

Louisville has won just once on the road this year, against Arkansas State in a game that it almost let slip away in the second half, and got beat 20-3 at Pitt last week.

“I don't know if we have enough confidence,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “As well as we play at home, why can't we go play that way on the road?”