EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's tailback tandem of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon combined for 196 yards rushing and four touchdowns as the Huskies beat Syracuse 56-31 Saturday to become bowl eligible.
UConn (6-5, 2-4 Big East), which lost three in a row after the stabbing death of cornerback Jasper Howard, followed up its 33-30 double-overtime win against Notre Dame by going over .500 for the first time since the Oct. 18 tragedy.
Todman ran for 123 yards and a score, while Dixon had three touchdowns and 73 yards rushing.
Greg Paulus threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for Syracuse (4-8, 1-6).
Syracuse had 489 yards of offense, but fell behind early and could not quite catch up.
Trailing 42-31, the Orange moved from their 4-yard line into UConn territory, but failed to convert a fourth-and-7, when Alec Lemon dropped a pass. The Huskies then added two late touchdowns.
UConn led 28-17 at halftime thanks to several big plays that overcame Syracuse's advantage in time of possession. The biggest was an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Mike Lang after a seven-minute Syracuse drive ended in a field goal.
It was the third time in four games the Huskies have taken a kickoff for a score.
UConn also capitalized after recovering a fumbled pitch by Delone Carter. Two plays later, Todman ran a draw up the middle for a 37-yard touchdown and 21-10 lead.
The play gave Todman over 1,000 yards rushing for the season.
Carter also passed the 1,000-yard mark, with 102 yards on 20 carries for the Orange.
Dixon had two first-half touchdowns. His 4-yard run made it 7-0 after a 13-yard Syracuse punt.
He scored again with 6 seconds left in the half on a 3-yard plunge that was set up by a 42-yard, one-handed catch by Marcus Easley down the right sideline.
Paulus completed 10 of 12 first-half passes, including a 3-yard touchdown to Lemon that cut the UConn lead to 21-17 with just over a minute left in the second quarter.
Zach Frazer hit Easley for an 8-yard touchdown to open the second half, capping a 15-play, 80-yard drive. Syracuse coach Doug Marrone refused a 15-yard penalty that would have given UConn a third-and-21 at its 41. UConn instead converted a fourth-and-5 and scored two plays later, when Easley caught an 8-yard pass over the middle.
Paulus ended his one-year career at Syracuse breaking the school record for completions and completion rate.
Connecticut's Lawrence Wilson had 17 tackles and a sack.