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'Something you don't forget'
Syracuse aims to avenge last year's loss to N.C. State
Posted: Monday September 28, 1998 06:35 PM
SYRACUSE, New York (AP) -- Pulling off an upset is one thing. Rubbing it in is quite another. Teams don't forget, especially when a rematch is only a year away.
Last season, North Carolina State stunned Syracuse in overtime on a hot August night, sending the then-No. 13 Orangemen into a three-game tailspin.
The loss, to a 25-point underdog that had won just six of its previous 22 games, was bad enough. What the Wolfpack did right after completing is 32-31 win in the Carrier Dome really was not a good idea -- they ran up and down the Syracuse side of the field, taunting the dazed Orangemen, before retreating to their locker room to celebrate some more.
It did not go unnoticed, and it has not been forgotten.
"The only thing I can remember is them running up and down our sideline," said Syracuse running back Kyle McIntosh, who has been nursing a leg injury but is expected to be healthy again for Thursday night's game. "You keep that in the back of your head. It's something that you don't forget. You can use it as a tool for the game we're about to play. It gives us added incentive."
So, too, does what also happened in the aftermath of that fiasco, in which Syracuse blew a 14-0 lead. The Orangemen had to suffer through a barrage of ads on ESPN featuring clips of North Carolina State's scintillating comeback: The fumble by Syracuse running back Dee Brown at the Wolfpack 2-yard line with 20 seconds remaining in regulation that sent the game into overtime, and Jamie Barnette's two-point conversion pass to Tory Holt that caught Syracuse by surprise and won the game.
"Every time you turned on the TV, that was what we were seeing," McIntosh said. "That kind of set the tone for our next two games after that [both losses]. To be reminded of that wasn't easy for a lot of the guys."
The defeat was especially demoralizing because it came just a week after the Orangemen had soundly defeated then-No. 24 Wisconsin 34-0 in the Kickoff Classic.
"It was really frustrating for us," McIntosh said. "You come off a win like we did against Wisconsin and you have such high hopes for your season. That [a loss] was the last thing on our mind. We really felt we had gotten ourselves on a roll, and we stumbled so seriously."
This year is different. Syracuse entered the season ranked 17th, lost by a point to Tennessee, which is now ranked No. 3, then beat defending national champion Michigan 38-28 and routed Rutgers 70-14.
The Orangemen enter the North Carolina State game ranked No. 11 and, unlike previous years, are playing like a force to be feared with quarterback Donovan McNabb leading the offense.
"Those games [against Michigan and Tennessee] really let us know where we're at nationally, how we compare to other teams," McIntosh said. "We know we've got something special. The only thing that can stop us now is ourselves."
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