USC outlasts pesky Syracuse

Saturday afternoon, for the second time in as many weeks, Syracuse dug themselves into a large hole, but could not get out, falling to #2 Southern California, 42-29, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Orange (0-2) piled up more yards (455-445) and first downs (27-17) than the Trojans (2-0), but fell behind by 18 points early in the third quarter and could never get even.

The start of the second half was delayed by threatening weather, clearing the seats and keeping both teams in their respective locker rooms for 70 minutes following halftime.

» Related: Syracuse improves, but not in W/L column

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Syracuse falls to 0-2

SU started off the game on the right foot, holding USC on a fourth down and taking over at the Trojan 42. The drive was thwarted, though, when Ryan Nassib tried a desperation pass that was intercepted. Each team had a pair of fruitless drives following that before the Trojans got onto the scoreboard with a touchdown pass just under three minutes into the second quarter.

Two possessions later, USC doubled their lead to 14-0 after another touchdown pass, this one coming with 1:15 left before halftime. Syracuse responded with their best drive to that point, moving 55 yards in seven plays to set up Ross Krautman’s 37-yard field goal that made the score 14-3 at halftime.

Following the weather delay, the Orange got the ball to start the second half, but Nassib was intercepted for the second time. USC turned the gift into another touchdown and a 21-3 lead less than five minutes into the third. Syracuse suddenly flipped the switch on offense, moving 78 yards in 12 plays to score a touchdown when Nassib zipped a three-yard pass into the arms of Marcus Sales in the end zone. Krautman’s conversion made it a 21-10 game.

On the first play of USC’s next drive, Shamarko Thomas picked off a deep pass, giving the Orange the ball at midfield. Six plays later, Prince-Tyson Gulley scooted into the end zone from eight yards out to close the gap to 21-16 with under four minutes left in the third quarter. Syracuse opted to go for a two-point conversion, but the try failed. The Orange defense forced a punt, but could not score again. USC drove for touchdowns on their next two possessions to push their lead out to 35-16 with under 12 minutes to play. SU would not go away, however, moving 82 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown. Nassib hooked up with Sales again, this time on a 17-yard scoring pass.

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An attempt for a two-point conversion was once again unsuccessful and the Orange trailed 35-22 at the midpoint of the fourth. The Trojans tacked on another touchdown to go up by 20 points, but Syracuse responded in kind, moving 70 yards in 14 plays for a score. Nassib accounted for his third touchdown of the day, diving into the end zone from a yard out. Krautman tacked on the extra point to make it 42-29 with just over a minute on the clock. USC ran out the clock from there.

Ryan Nassib had a big day for the second straight week. This time he overcame a choppy start to finish with 30 completions on 46 attempts for 322 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a pair of picks. Marcus Sales notched another 100-yard receiving day, piling up 104 yards on eight catches, including a pair of scores. Prince-Tyson Gulley topped the SU ground game with 56 rushing yards on only nine carries. Ri’Shard Anderson had nine tackles to pace the Orange defense and Brandon Sharpe logged 1.5 sacks on the day. Jay Bromley was credited with the other half sack. Shamarko Thomas was responsible for the only turnover, nabbing an interception, while Brandon Reddish forced a fumble, but USC was able to retain possession.

GAME NOTES:

  • Ryan Nassib now has 572 completions in a Syracuse uniform, passing Marvin Graves (563) for the most in school history. Nassib also passed the 6,000 passing yards mark and has 6,245 all-time, which has him in third place in the SU record book, and 50 career touchdown passes.
  • The Orange return to the Carrier Dome on Saturday to take on Stony Brook. The Seawolves (2-0), who come from the Football Championship Division, are ranked 17th in the nation in the lower division. The game will get underway at 4:00 p.m. Eastern and will be streamed online at ESPN3.com and televised on SNY.

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Jim Stechschulte

About Jim Stechschulte

A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.
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