SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Damien Rhodes ran for 236 yards and scored
four touchdowns, leading Syracuse to a 31-0 victory over Buffalo on
Saturday for Greg Robinson's first win as coach of the Orange.
The Bulls (0-2) were shut out for the third straight game dating
back to last season. They lost 38-0 at Connecticut last week in
their season opener and also were beaten 29-0 by the Huskies in the
2004 season finale.
Rhodes' rushing total was 16 yards shy of the school record of
252 yards by Joe Morris against Kansas in 1979 and 5 yards off the
Carrier Dome mark set two years ago by Walter Reyes against Central
Rhodes gained 216 yards on 19 carries and scored three times in
the first half to help the Orange (1-1) take a 24-0 halftime lead.
He scored on runs of 27, 50, and 54 yards, the last one alone
equaling the Bulls' offensive production for the half.
Buffalo never seriously threatened to score in the game and
finished with 123 yards on offense.
Syracuse went ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter, despite some
early rumbling from the home crowd. The jeers came after 6-foot-4
quarterback Perry Patterson, ineffective in last week's 15-7 loss
to West Virginia, had a pass batted away on a second-down play, but
the junior quickly regrouped.
After scrambling 10 yards for a first down, Patterson hit tight
end Tom Ferron for 30 yards down the right side. Rhodes followed
Ferron's first career catch with a 27-yard touchdown run.
A year ago, Buffalo threw a scare into the Orange, taking a 10-3
lead in the first quarter before Syracuse scored 34 straight points
and won 37-17 at Buffalo. There was no scare on this day -- the
Bulls drove past midfield only three times and Ben Woods punted 11
times for the second straight week.
After Buffalo failed to gain a first down after Syracuse's
scoring drive, a high snap caused a short punt by Woods and the
Orange took over at midfield. On third-and-10, Rhodes broke free
over left tackle and raced untouched into the end zone with 12:15
left in the half for a 14-0 lead.
Ricky Krautman added a 21-yard field goal for the Orange midway
through the second quarter before Rhodes struck again.
After the Bulls moved into Syracuse territory for the first time
on runs of 11 and 25 yards by quarterback Stewart Sampsel, Orange
safety Anthony Smith made his second interception of the game and
Syracuse took over at its own 27.
Rhodes gained 19 yards on consecutive runs and followed with a
54-yard sprint up the middle on the next play. He scored his final
touchdown on a 1-yard run early in the third quarter and sat out
Buffalo defensive tackle Rob Schroeder blocked a field goal
attempt by Krautman early in the second quarter. It was the eighth
block of Schroeder's career, tops in the nation among active