As we countdown to kickoff in September, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team opponent preview each week over the spring/summer. This week, we’re previewing Syracuse’s matchup with Wagner on Oct. 1 with their major storylines.
TOUGH START FOR TOM MASELLA
Tom Masella is going into his third year as the head coach at Wagner, and currently sports an 0-13 record (thanks to a Covid-shortened 2020 season). Masella has bounced around the FCS for his career, his most prominent stops being head coaching stints in Central Connecticut and Fordham University.
Masella sits in the Wagner Football Hall of Fame thanks to his days as a player there in the early 80’s, but his return as head coach hasn’t been as smooth and the Seahawks have yet to collect their first win in his tenure.
Masella has a defensive background with multiple defensive coordinator stops on his resume, but it has yet to culminate as the Seahawks have suffered multiple blowout losses over the last 2 years, the most recent a 44-0 loss to Duquesne to close out last year.
PROMISING MID-YEAR TRANSFERS
There’s not much talent to speak of on the current Wagner roster, but Masella hopes to change that with some incoming transfers that show promise. Lance DeSorbo is a 6’4”, 270 pound defensive lineman that has size to be competitive against tougher competition, and Arnold Djanie is a 6’4”, 235 pound outside linebacker sporting the kind of size you typically don’t see at that position on most FCS teams.
Fellow OLB Hunter Abbot stands an impressive 6’5” and at 225 pounds gives the Seahawks quite an imposing linebacker duo when they’re both on the field.
Incoming quarterback Nick Kargman is a local kid from nearby New Jersey and stands 6’3”, though at a slight 190 pounds, but will certainly appreciate his new tight end transfer from Yale, D. Major Roman who measures in at 6’6” and 245 pounds. Add to that incoming defensive back Roberto Auguste- 6’1”, 200 pounds- and it’s easy to see that Masella is prioritizing size in order to be more competitive in 2022.
» Related: Previewing SU’s game against Virginia
TRAP-TYPE GAME FOR SYRACUSE
To put it simply, Wagner isn’t much of a threat to a team as talented as Syracuse but games like these do serve as a good litmus test for the better team. You’re expected to win but you don’t have much to gain outside of the benefit of one more mark on the win column. Lose, and you have to do some serious evaluation of your coaches and players. While Syracuse is expected to fully dominate the Seahawks, a roster full of much bigger and more athletic players for Wagner could give the Orange enough of a challenge to make for a fun watch.
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