Syracuse is looking forward to having home field advantage when it plays USC on Saturday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Last season, the two teams met at the Coliseum in Los Angeles with the Trojans easily dispatching the Orange, 38-17. Syracuse hopes the change in venue will help make the score closer.
“Especially since now we are playing them on the east coast at a field that we’re a little more familiar with,” quarterback Ryan Nassib said during the New York’s College Classic Teleconference on Tuesday afternoon. “There is a little less intimidation in the fact that they are USC. There’s no doubt about that. Playing in their coliseum was definitely a little intimidating but at the end of the day we are playing football.”
It will also be a homecoming for several players on the SU team, including linebacker Marquis Spruill who played at Hillside High School in New Jersey.
“I’m still getting calls,” Spruill said. “I want everybody there but unfortunately, unless they buy a ticket themselves, they are not going to be able to come.”
It’s also a homecoming for Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, who was the offensive line coach for the New York Jets from 2002-2005.
Having seen the new stadium, Marrone said the biggest difference would be for kickers and punters.
“They have done a great job in designing this stadium where it’s much higher than the old stadium meaning the way it’s been designed,” Marrone said. “There’s not as much of that wind factor that comes out. Both field goal posts, whichever way the flags are blowing, is a pretty good indication of which way the winds blowing. That necessarily wasn’t the case before in the old stadium.”
Besides the benefits of friends and family having a shorter drive to see Syracuse play, the game gives Syracuse other significant advantages.
“From a recruiting standpoint, obviously we are focused in on that area,” Marrone said. “A lot of people are available to come to the game.”
It would go even further if Syracuse was able to pull of a monumental upset.
“As you know, we are looking for our first win,” Nassib said. “Going against USC, this is definitely a game that if you win, it’s something that you are going to remember for a lifetime.”Wesley Cheng