Syracuse has lost six straight games dating to last October, including a 1-point setback in its season opener a week ago. Now comes a real chance at redemption — facing second-ranked Southern California Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
‘‘We’re definitely motivated,’’ Syracuse linebacker Dan Vaughan said. ‘‘We’re looking to do well.’’
Syracuse lost, 42-41, to Northwestern last Saturday after a stirring 28-point rally gave the Orange a 41-35 lead with less than three minutes to play.
Behind five touchdown passes from Matt Barkley, the Trojans beat the Orange, 38-17, a year ago in Los Angeles. Just having played in that setting against such a storied program gives this year’s Syracuse team a good dose of confidence.
‘‘There is a little less intimidation in the fact that they are USC,’’ said Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who passed for 482 yards and accounted for 512 total last week. “Playing in their Coliseum was definitely a little intimidating, but at the end of the day we are playing football. At any given day, the team can be beat regardless of who they are and how intimidating they can be.’’
Barkley threw for four touchdowns last week in a 49-10 win over Hawaii and USC rolled up 481 total yards.
‘‘We understand the challenge ahead of us,’’ Nassib said. ‘‘We’re doing a good job of motivating ourselves. I feel like if we can keep it close, play them tough all game long and not let the game get away from us, I think we’ve got a good shot.’’
There’s no doubt about what a win would accomplish for a program that’s been down and out for a decade.
‘‘It would mean a great start to something even greater,’’ Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill said. ‘‘We have been working on getting this program back on the top, and that would be a very, very great way to start.’’
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Keith Price will need to be at his best if Washington is to have any shot at pulling an upset Saturday night against No. 3 LSU and the Tigers’ standout defense. But if his past performances on big stages are any indication, the Huskies might just get a dynamic night from their junior quarterback.
Last season at Nebraska, Price threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns despite hobbling on a sore knee. A week later it was three more touchdown tosses against California and three more a week after that at Utah. The capper to Price’s season came in the Alamo Bowl against Baylor, throwing for a career-high 438 yards and four scores, plus three on the ground.
“My team feeds off me and if my energy level isn’t high our team energy isn’t high,’’ said Price. “We'll be ready to rock. Trust me.’’
LSU’s defensive line will be trying to make up for getting zero sacks in last week’s win over North Texas, which went with max protection to try to keep the Tigers pass rush at bay.
LSU coach Les Miles said there is ‘‘no question’’ Price’s passing ability will pose a tough test for his secondary.
‘‘They have a very, very talented quarterback,’’ Miles said. ‘‘Their passing attack is very, very good and they can run it, too, so it’s going to be a great challenge for us.’’
LSU left tackle Chris Faulk was injured in practice Wednesday and will miss the game.