SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Perry Patterson threw for two touchdowns,
Walter Reyes ran for two more and the Syracuse defense forced five
turnovers to beat Connecticut 42-30 on Saturday.
Archrivals in basketball, it was the first meeting between the
teams in football and it was especially critical for Syracuse (4-4,
2-1 Big East) and its postseason hopes.
Losing to the Huskies (5-3, 2-3) in their first season in the
Big East also would not have done wonders for the job security of
Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who has been under fire from
the fans, who continued to show their displeasure with the team.
Announced attendance was 34,545, about 15,000 below the Carrier
Dome's capacity and not much more than the last basketball game
between the teams.
And it certainly wasn't easy. Connecticut lost despite gaining
566 yards and 35 first downs. UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky threw
for 445 yards and three touchdowns and completed a school-record 39
passes. He also broke the Connecticut career passing yards record
of 9,288 set by Matt DeGennaro from 1987-90. Orlovsky has 9,715.
The Huskies were done in by the turnovers and a little Syracuse
luck. Patterson hit a 36-yard Hail Mary pass to Andre Fontenette
for a touchdown as time had expired in the first half to give the
Orange a 21-20 lead.
Anthony Smith made it 28-20 when he intercepted Orlovsky's first
pass of the second half off a deflection and returned it 32 yards
for a score.
After a 48-yard field goal by Matt Nuzie moved UConn within
28-23, Patterson hit Jared Jones over the middle for a 29-yard
score with 34 seconds left in the third.
Patterson's 13-yard scramble set up a 3-yard TD run by Reyes
midway through the fourth.
The Huskies took the opening kickoff of the game and quickly
drove downfield. But after Orlovsky combined with Keron Henry on
passes of 15 and 30 yards to move the ball to the Syracuse 16,
Diamond Ferri made a one-handed interception across the middle and
returned it 30 yards to midfield.
Reyes, who sat out the Orange's last game with the flu, scored
on a 50-yard run on the next play to give Syracuse a 7-0 lead.
Reyes finished with 121 yards on 15 carries.
Orlovsky hit tight end Dan Murray for a 17-yard touchdown with
3:28 left in the first to tie it at 7-all.
After Brendan Carney missed wide right on a 43-yard field goal
attempt for the Orange, UConn drove 74 yards and gained a 13-7 lead
on Cornell Brockington's 2-yard TD run midway through the second.
Syracuse, which averaged just 62 yards rushing in losing to No.
5 Florida State and No. 15 West Virginia in its previous two games,
struck quickly again on the ground.
After a 10-yard holding penalty erased a 34-yard catch by Jared
Jones, Damien Rhodes stunned the Huskies with a 54-yard run up the
middle. Two plays later, Breyone Evans scored on a 22-yard run,
somehow maintaining his balance after stumbling at the 10. It was
his second carry of the season and gave Syracuse a 14-13 lead with
5:49 left in the half.
If the Huskies were demoralized after allowing two scores that
took just 1:49, they didn't show it. Orlovsky drove them 80 yards
on just five plays and put them ahead 20-14 on a 20-yard TD pass to
Brian Sparks at 4:07.
Orlovksy hit Brandon McLean on a 15-yard TD pass with 52 seconds
left in the game for the final points.