A nine-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Demetrius Fields from sophomore quarterback Trevor Siemian with 44 seconds remaining in the game helped the Northwestern Wildcats earn a crazy, season-opening victory, 42-41, over the Syracuse Orange in a non-conference contest at the Carrier Dome.
Fields' game-winning score capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took 1:56, and answered a go-ahead TD from the Orange who clawed all the way back from a 35-13 deficit.
The Wildcats, who improve to 7-0 in season openers under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, were fueled by a unbelievable, all-around performance from junior running back Venric Mark, who compiled 284 yards of total offense and scored two touchdowns, including an electrifying 82-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Siemian, who came in off the bench after starting quarterback Kain Colter left because of an injury and stayed off the field because of a coaches decision, finished the game 8-of-11 with 78 passing yards.
In the loss, Syracuse spoiled a record-setting performance from senior quarterback Ryan Nassib. The third-year starter set new program marks in completions (44), attempts (64) and passing yards (470).