A quick take on Syracuse’s 31-27 win to Missouri on Saturday night:
WHAT HAPPENED: Alec Lemon caught a touchdown pass to put Syracuse up 31-27 with 20 seconds left, as Syracuse completed a 7 play 81 yard drive in 1:32 seconds for a dramatic comeback win. The play was set up by a gutsy fourth and 10 call at the Missouri 36 yard line. Syracuse coach Doug Marrone elected not to send kicker Ross Krautman out for a long field goal attempt with the wind against the Orange. The gamble paid off, as Lemon hauled in a 19 yard pass. On the ensuing possession, Keon Lyn intercepted Missouri backup QB Corbin Berkstresser as time expired. With the win, Syracuse clinches bowl eligibility for the second time in three years.
ANALYSIS: It looked like it was going to be a shootout at the outset, as Missouri scored easily on its first two possessions of the game to take a 14-3 lead with 4:48 left in the first quarter. But after a field goal midway through the second quarter, the Orange defense took over, holding the Tigers scoreless until 7:07 in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Orange offense finally put together a touchdown drive at the end of the first half, and went to the air in the second half to take the lead. Syracuse had to display even more toughness after Ryan Nassib was intercepted with with 4:34 left and the game tied at 24. That lead to a Missouri field goal for a 27-24 lead, but it was not enough for the Tigers as the Orange rallied on its final drive. It was just the second win on the road for the Orange this season, mirroring SU’s first win on the road against USF.
HERO: Lemon finished with 244 yard a pair of touchdowns while Nassib threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns. Mizzou running back Kendial Lawrence rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown. Tigers QB James Franklin threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns, but had to come out in the second half with a head injury and didn’t return. Though the SU defense gave up 484 yards, they settled down after a tough first quarter.
ZERO: Missouri’s defense absolutely folded in the fourth quarter, giving up 21 points in the final period. For the game, the Orange gained 508 yards, with 385 coming through the air. Even if Lemon had dropped the 4th and 10 pass, it wouldn’t have mattered, as the Tigers were flagged for a defensive holding. On the night, the Tigers committed 8 penalties for 68 yards. Meanwhile, the Orange played a relatively clean game, getting flagged just 5 times.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will finish out the regular season with they travel to Philadelphia to play Temple on Friday, November 24 at 11 a.m. TV: ESPN2.Wesley Cheng