Syracuse football blows 16-point lead but rallies for win

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Sep 17, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers speaks to the media following SU's 32-29 win against the Purdue Boilermakers at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brad Bierman-The Juice Online.

Syracuse got five field goals out of Andre Szmyt, which is good, as they needed each and every one to pull out a 22-20 win at home over Virginia on Friday night. The last was a 31-yarder with 1:14 remaining that tied the school record for field goals in a game and put the Orange (4-0, 2-0 ACC) back in front.

The Cavaliers (2-2, 0-1) had taken their first lead of the game on the previous drive, completing a comeback from a 16-point halftime deficit. That Virginia touchdown gave them a one-point lead with just under six minutes remaining.

SU led for almost the entire game, notching a 17-yard touchdown run from Garrett Shrader less than three minutes into the action for a 7-0 lead. After the Hoos missed a pair of field goals, Szmyt made a pair in a two-minute span bridging the first and second quarters, then tacked on his third with 1:21 left in the opening half, stretching the Syracuse lead to 16-0.

» Related: A look back at thrilling finishes at the Dome

Virginia came roaring out of the break, scoring two touchdowns in 20 seconds, the latter coming after Trebor Pena fumbled a kickoff return. The first score capped a 75-yard drive, but was marred by a blocked extra point. The kick following the second touchdown was good, bringing the guests within 16-13.

Szmyt doubled the Orange lead with 24 seconds left in the third, knocking his fourth field goal through the uprights for a 19-13 advantage.

In addition to the Cavaliers’ special teams adventures, both teams played rather sloppily. Each side committed a dozen accepted penalties and SU doubled up Virginia’s turnovers, giving the ball away four times.

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About Jim Stechschulte 858 Articles
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. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. He currently resides in Syracuse.