SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Chris Jacquemain threw three touchdown passes, including a 12-yarder to Andre Jones midway through the fourth quarter to break a tie, and Akron held off struggling Syracuse 42-28 on Saturday.
For the Zips (1-1), coming off a 38-17 loss at No. 11 Wisconsin, it was only their second win over a BCS conference team. They upset North Carolina State two years ago.
It was the first of four straight home games for the Orange (0-2), who dropped to 7-30 under coach Greg Robinson, in his fourth year and under intense pressure to turn around a program that has not had a winning season since 2001.
The Orange didn't go down quietly behind quarterback Cameron Dantley, who was 13-for-20 for 135 yards and three touchdowns in just the second start of his career. Curtis Brinkley had 143 yards on 21 carries and Delone Carter 77 yards on 13 carries for the Orange.
Trailing 28-14 at halftime, Dantley guided Syracuse to a quick score, hitting tight end Mike Owen all alone in the back of the end zone to make it 28-21.
After Dashan Miller caught a 20-yard pass over the middle on a third-and-15 play, the beleaguered Orange defense finally made a big stop. Paul Chiara hit Allen behind the line for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1, and Igor Iveljic's 41-yard field-goal attempt was wide left.
Syracuse tied the game at 28-all early in the fourth. Carter broke two tackles and gained 17 yards on a fourth-and-1 play. On the next play, Dantley rolled right and hit tight end Nick Provo in the right corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.
Jacquemain directed the decisive drive, a nearly flawless 10 plays that included five passes and five runs. He completed it by hitting Jones with a pretty fade with 7:28 left and finished the Orange with an 18-yard scoring pass to tight end Merce Poindexter with 2:43 left.
The Zips went ahead 7-0 on Jacquemain's 33-yard TD pass to Jones on the first possession of the game.
After missing several key tackles at Northwestern, the Orange focused all week on correcting that problem. All the work seemed for naught when Kennedy, facing third-and-23, scored on a 35-yard run around the left side, breaking several tackles along the way, to make it 14-0 with 3:33 left in the first quarter. Akron converted all but one of eight third-down tries in the opening half.
Syracuse was unable to generate anything early. Before Brinkley entered the game late in the first quarter, the Orange had 28 yards offensively.
That changed quickly when Brinkley, who missed four games last season with a broken leg, gained 29 yards on four carries to get the offense rolling. Dantley then hit Owen over the middle with a 32-yard touchdown pass to pull Syracuse within 14-7 early in the second.
Jacquemain led the Zips back on a 12-play drive, hitting Brandon Williams for 22 yards to the Syracuse goal line to set up Allen's 1-yard TD run and a 21-7 lead midway through the period.
Brinkley, the starter the previous two years before injuries relegated him to the bench, again provided a spark, gaining 50 yards on eight carries and scoring on a 1-yard dive to narrow the gap to 21-14 with 2:17 left in the half.
But Syracuse has struggled against fast-paced spread offenses like Akron's and the Zips needed less than 2 minutes to score again. Jeremy Bruce caught three consecutive passes for 30 yards, and Kennedy and Allen each had 11-yard carries to set up Allen's 1-yard TD.