Northwestern heads indoors before trip to Syracuse

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Chicago area is experiencing its best stretch of weather in quite some time, but the Northwestern football team hasn't enjoyed the sunshine or the comfortable temperatures.

Northwestern has spent the week practicing indoors in preparation for its trip to Syracuse on Saturday night (ESPN360, 7 p.m. ET). The team's support staff has tried to transform Trienens Hall into the Carrier Dome, which used to be one of college football's toughest venues for visiting teams.

"We’ll try to do the best job we can simulating it, but you can never emulate it perfectly," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "The emotion, the momentum of a game, they’re going to have all day to get ready for us, so we’re going into a hornet’s nest."

Syracuse has won only three home games in the last two seasons, but the Orange look better than many had expected under first-year head coach Doug Marrone. Northwestern is no stranger to domed stadiums, having played in both the Metrodome and the Alamodome last year.

The Wildcats notched a season-defining win in Minneapolis, as quarterback Mike Kafka set a Big Ten record for quarterback rushing with 217 yards. They also played well against Missouri in the Alamo Bowl before falling in overtime.

"We’ve got a plan for when we’ve got to go play inside, play in hostile environments," Fitzgerald said. "We’re going to learn a lot about our football team."