1:30 PM ET, September 30, 2006
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Delone Carter was Ohio Mr. Football last year. On Saturday, he showed Wyoming why.
Carter rushed for 129 yards on 20 carries and scored the first four touchdowns of his college career, the final one coming on a 15-yard run in the second overtime, and Syracuse beat the Cowboys 40-34 for its third straight triumph in a sloppy game featuring 17 penalties.
"We needed every one," said Carter, who had 49 touchdowns in 2005 as a senior at Copley High School. "I grew a lot today as a player. Once you see the goal line, you have to have the intelligence not to have them stop you. They can hop on my back or do whatever they want, but I want to get past that goal line."
The Cowboys were unable to corral Carter when it mattered most. In the first overtime, he gained nine yards on his first carry, then scored on a 16-yard run up the middle.
The Syracuse defense, which registered six sacks to boost its season total to 25, stopped the Cowboys in the second overtime after being victimized repeatedly by redshirt freshman quarterback Karsten Sween in the final minutes of regulation.
Sween, in for starter Jacob Doss for most of the second half, hit tight end Chris Sundberg for 11 yards, but defensive end Jameel McClain stopped Joseph Harris on a fourth-and-1 from the 5 to set up Carter's winning run.
"We weren't playing very good defense, so we felt we had to go for it," Wyoming coach Joe Glenn said.
That helped the Syracuse defense forget -- for a moment, at least -- the 512 yards it surrendered.
"We just knew what we had to do," said McClain, who had one sack to boost his season total to seven. "We knew we had to get big out there and make a play to change the whole momentum of the game."
Sween, who had thrown just one pass this season, had recaptured that swing in emotion by guiding the Cowboys to the tying touchdown on a 92-yard drive in the closing minutes, completing eight passes for 81 yards.
A pass interference call against Terrell Lemon in the final seconds gave the Cowboys the chance they needed, and Sween hit Hoost Marsh with a 15-yard TD pass on a slant over the middle with five seconds left.
"It's been really tough to be in another game like this. All year we've been close," said Sween, who finished 19-for-27 for 201 yards and two touchdowns and earned the start for next week's game at New Mexico. "We just have to keep doing what we're doing, and hopefully a win will come."
It was the fourth straight close loss for Wyoming (1-4), which has lost each of the last three games by seven points and also dropped a one-point decision at Virginia on a botched extra point.
The last time the Orange (3-2) won three straight was in 2002.
"The guys are really excited. We are playing for respect," said Syracuse quarterback Perry Patterson, who was 11-for-21 for 121 yards and one touchdown. "A lot of people do not respect us right now. As long as we keep getting the wins, it is going to start turning some heads."
Carter, who atoned for two fumbles by his backfield partner, Curtis Brinkley, also scored on a 13-yard scamper to give the Orange a 27-20 lead with 6:33 left in the fourth quarter and a 15-yarder late in the third.
"I was having a bad game from the beginning," said Brinkley, the starting tailback all season. "I told Delone, 'You need to step up for me.' "
After Carter scored in the first extra session, Wynel Seldon responded with a 14-yard scoring run for the Cowboys.
Wyoming had gained a 17-10 lead late in the third after Brinkley fumbled and John Prater recovered for the Cowboys at the Syracuse 26. Sween hit Tyler Holden on a 6-yard scoring strike with 3:20 left.
The Orange came right back on their next possession, with Carter capping a five-play drive with a weaving 15-yard scoring run through the secondary.
Aric Goodman's 41-yard field goal gave the Cowboys a 20-17 lead early in the fourth, and the Orange tied it at 9:42 after a special teams blunder by Wyoming.
Syracuse was forced to punt on the ensuing possession, but Marsh did not call for a fair catch and Syracuse cornerback Terrell Lemon recovered his fumble at the Wyoming 26. After Patterson threw two incompletions, Patrick Shadle kicked a 41-yard field goal to tie it.
Goodman's 43-yard field goal as time expired in the first half tied it 10-all.< ^Notes:@Michael Ford had 12 catches for 110 yards for the Cowboys, both career bests. ... The Syracuse defense had four turnovers to up its season total to 13. ... Syracuse wideout Rice Moss, who had one reception for 9 yards, injured his right shoulder in the first quarter and did not return.