Four humongous plays, three of them from junior tailback Venric Mark, has helped the visiting Northwestern Wildcats take a 21-13 lead over the Syracuse Orange in Big East/Big Ten Conference showdown that has reached halftime.
The go-ahead score was a 21-yard touchdown reception by Mark from junior quarterback Kain Colter that turned a 13-7 NU deficit into a 1-point lead with 6 minutes, 53 seconds to go in the half. The score was setup by a huge interception by sophomore linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo, who snagged a deflected ball, caused by a tip from SU wide receiver Marcus Sales, out of the air and returned it 49 yards to the Orange 21-yard line. Mark scored a play later.
The final touchdown of the half came on a 14-yard crossing pass from Colter to wide out Christian Jones, who capped a small four-play, 28-yard drive that was setup by a 52-yard punt return by Mark.
Mark has also returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown, which came with :23 to go and capped the first quarter scoring at 7-6 in favor of the Wildcats.
The lead, however, was short lived as Syracuse orchestrated a beautiful 14-play, 82-yard touchdown dive that was capped by a 14-yard rush by sophomore running back Prince Tyson-Gulley.
For the most part, Syracuse has out played Northwestern as it out gained its foe 221 to 169 in total yards. However, after scoring on three of its first four possessions of the game, Syracuse has tallied no points in its last four -- which have included two turnovers.
Syracuse's six other points came from junior place kicker Ross Krautman
Krautman's first field goal capped a five-play, 26-yard drive by SU, which was setup by a muffed punt by Northwestern that gave the ball to Syracuse at its own 31-yard line.
On its ensuing possession,Syracuse marched 61 yards in nine plays to setup Krautman's second try from 33.
Syracuse will start the second half with the ball.