Syracuse kept their momentum rolling, winning their third straight game and for the fifth time in six outings with a 38-20 victory over Temple in their final Big East game. The Orange (7-5, 5-2 Big East) started poorly, but bounced back from turnovers on their first two drives with scores on five of their next seven possessions en route to putting away the Owls (4-7). The SU offense had another strong outing, racking up 475 yards, including 260 on the ground.
Temple opened the game with a field goal, then the two teams combined for three fumbles on their next three possessions. The Owls took advantage of the second Syracuse fumble, marching for a touchdown to take a 10-0 lead just before the end of the first quarter. The Orange offense roared to life on its next possession, rolling 75 yards in seven plays for a touchdown.
The scoring play was a nifty leaping grab of a Ryan Nassib pass by Marcus Sales, who crashed to the turf with a 24-yard touchdown reception. Ross Krautman added the extra point to make it a 10-7 game just over 90 seconds into the second quarter. The SU defense took the field with momentum and backed Temple up to their own 5-yard-line. A short punt set up Syracuse with a short field and it only took the Orange five plays to eat up 41 yards and get into the end zone again.
Adonis Ameen-Moore took a handoff, blew through a wide-open running lane, and cruised in from 18 yards out. Krautman’s conversion kick put the Orange up 14-10 with just over nine minutes remaining in the opening half. Temple responded with a long drive, but bogged down and had to settle for a field goal that clipped the SU lead to 14-13 with a little over three minutes left on the clock. The Orange were forced into a three-and-out by the Owls, but the Temple returned muffed the punt and Dan Vaughan jumped on the ball, giving Syracuse a fresh possession at the Temple 47. SU drove to the Owls’ 9-yard-line before being forced to settle for a 26-yard Krautman field goal with seven seconds on the clock to restore a four-point Orange lead at 17-13.
The Orange got the ball to start the second half, but failed to convert a 4th-and-nine just outside of Krautman’s field goal range and turned it over. The Owls exploited this failure, scoring a touchdown four plays later to take control at 20-17 just over six minutes into the third quarter. Syracuse responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown.
Adonis Ameen-Moore pounded the ball into the end zone from a yard out, giving the Orange a lead they would not get up. Krautman tacked on the extra point to put SU up, 24-20, with 4:32 on the clock. After forcing a quick Temple punt, the Orange set out on another 75-yard drive, this one lasting 11 plays. Prince-Tyson Gulley was responsible for the last 40 yards of the drive including bulling into the end zone from three yards out for a touchdown. Krautman booted the extra point just over 90 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Orange a 31-20 lead.
After each team punted twice, SU cornerback Keon Lyn drove a dagger into Temple’s heart, pulling in a slightly overthrown pass and returning it 31 yards for a touchdown with under three minutes to play. Krautman closed out the scoring with an extra point that made it 38-20 in favor of the Orange. Lyn blunted the final Owls drive by intercepting an underthrown pass in the end zone for a touchback.
Ryan Nassib turned in another efficient effort, connecting on 16-of-28 passes for 215 yards and a score. Jerome Smith gashed the Owl defense for 96 yards on 20 carries and Prince-Tyson Gulley chipped in with 83 yards on 13 totes of his own. Alec Lemon led the SU receiving corps with five catches for 74 yards. Keon Lyn backed up last week’s interception with a pair of picks, including one returned for the final points of the game. Brandon Reddish had a forced fumble and Deon Goggins and Dan Vaughan both were credited with a fumble recovery. The Orange defense had three sacks on the day, one each by Dyshawn Davis, Durell Eskridge, and Cameron Lynch.
- Jerome Smith has a total of 1,019 rushing yards on the season, marking the fifth consecutive year the Orange have boasted a 1,000-yard back and the 16th time overall.
- Alec Lemon also joined Smith in the 1,000-yard club, only his mark is in receiving yards. Lemon broke his own school record with 70 receptions this season and has 1,063 receiving yards on the season, making him the third SU player to roll up a 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
- That also marks the first time since 1989 that Syracuse has both a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season.
- Ryan Nassib now has 9,060 passing yards, which is the fourth-highest total in Big East history.
- The Orange will sit back and relax, awaiting a bowl game invitation. Possible destinations include a return trip to the Pinstripe Bowl on December 29th in New York City, the Belk Bowl on December 27th in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 28th in Orlando, Florida. The bowl invitation will likely not be official until after next weekend when the college football season wraps up. The team will also be able to practice 15 times in preparation for their bowl game.