Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. - Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Syracuse 37, USF 36: Orange come back for thrilling victory

The Syracuse Orange trailed for much of Saturday's game against USF, but pulled out a 37-36 victory.

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Rutgers, Syracuse still in Big East title race

There's still a lot of football to be played, but the Big East Conference title contenders are slowly shaping into form.


Nassib answers call in thrilling victory at USF

Trailing by 20 points at halftime Saturday, the Orange needed to score points in the second half if it wanted to pull out a road victory. Behind the arm of senior quarterback Ryan Nassib, Syracuse did and in the process saved its season.


Orange lose...wait win, Big East thriller

The Syracuse Orange scored five second-half touchdowns Saturday to help earn a come-from-behind victory, 37-36, over the South Florida Bulls in a Big East Conference football game at Raymond James Stadium. The win was highlighted by a last-second touchdown that helped the Orange (4-4, 3-1 Big East) overcome a 20-point halftime deficit.

The rally was so improbable, SB Nation's Syracuse blog, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, began writing its game recap with four minutes left to go in the game. The result was one as if the Orange lost.

In a way, the 2012 Syracuse Orange football season is unique in that it is the singular most confusing season that I've ever had the pleasure/displeasure of watching. What happens in one game is completely outside of what happens in the next, and so on and so forth. So in that sense, it shouldn't be surprising that the Orange lost 36-31 to the South Florida Bulls, because, when you play a season like Syracuse has, what's considered a surprise?

Surprisingly, the game recap foreshadowed what was about to happen -- an unpredictable ending.

Syracuse football is like the football version of chaos theory. Drip them down your knuckle and you never know which way they're going to dribble down your hand. There's absolutely no way to predict it or assume it or allow for it.

The victory helped SU reach the .500 mark for the first time this season and moved them into sole possession of third place in the Big East standings. Next Saturday, the Orange visit the Cincinnati Bearcats for a Big East contest (noon ET on Big East Network).


Orange come back to defeat Bulls 37-36

The Syracuse Orange trailed early and often, but mounted a last-minute drive to defeat the South Florida Bulls on the road, 37-36.

Syracuse found themselves trailing 23-3 at half, but stormed back in the third quarter. The Orange scored three third quarter touchdowns, shaving the lead to 26-24 heading into the fourth quarter. After a Syracuse punt to start the fourth, each team traded touchdowns to push the score to 33-31. South Florida then went on a drive that chewed up 5:56, launching a field goal with 1:23 left to put the Bulls up 36-31.

Ryan Nassib and the Syracuse offense took over at their own 25 yard-line with only 1:23 left on the clock, but Nassib led the offense into the South Florida red zone. After two offensive penalties, Nassib completed a pass to Marcus Sales, who was stopped on the South Florida one-yard line with less then ten seconds left. On the next play, Nassib tossed a one-yard touchdown pass to Alec Lemon to give Syracuse a 37-36 win.

Nassib finished with 328 yards passing, completing 27 of his 40 pass attempts while tossing four touchdowns. Sales was Nassib's favorite target, hauling in nine receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Jerome Smith led the Syracuse rushing attack with 127 yards on 28 carries.

South Florida had a strong day running the ball, finishing with 369 rushing yards. Lindsey Lamar was the team's leading rusher, picking up 145 yards and one touchdown on the ground on just ten carries. Quarterback B.J. Daniels had 134 yards rushing on twelve carries, and added 183 yards and a touchdown through the air.

Box Score Hero: Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who went 27-of-40 with 328 yards passing while throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Rankings Ramifications: Neither team received any votes in either polls, and neither team should expect to rank in the polls next week.

But Did They Cover? South Florida was a 7½-point favorite, failing to cover the spread.

For More On This Game:

For more on Cuse football, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician plus SB Nation New York. And Big East Coast Bias, for the time being.

For more on USF football, visit South Florida blog Voodoo Five, plus Big East blog Big East Coast Bias.

Next Week's Schedule:

Syracuse - at Cincinnati

South Florida - vs. Connecticut

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube


Syracuse coming back, but still behind Bulls 26-24

The Orange played a quality third quarter, out-scoring the Bulls 21-3. Syracuse has cut into the South Florida lead, but still trail 26-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

Syracuse started the second half strong, scoring on their first three possessions of the half. The first drive ended with a Ryan Nassib 31-yard touchdown pass to Jarrod West, while Alec Lemon punched in a four-yard touchdown run for the second score.

Bulls running back Demetris Murray fumbled the football on the first play from scrimmage following Syracuse's second touchdown, giving the Orange strong field position for a chance to go ahead. Nassib and the offense capitalized on the strong field position, with Nassib tossing a five-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Sales to give the Orange their first lead at 24-23 with 6:10 to go in the third quarter.

South Florida drove down the field after the third Syracuse touchdown of the quarter, as kicker Maikon Bonani booted his fourth field goal of the day, a 41-yard field goal that put the Bulls ahead 26-24.


Halftime Update: Orange Trail Bulls

The Syracuse Orange have struggled in the first half of their Big East matchup against the South Florida Bulls, and currently find themselves trailing 23-3. Quarterback Ryan Nassib had an inconsistent first half, completing nine of his 16 pass attempts for 90 yards. The Orange had more success on the ground in the first half than through the air. Running back Jerome Smith rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries, good for 4.7 yards per carry. Fellow tailback Prince-Tyson Gulley also chipped in 49 yards rushing on eight carries.

South Florida ran all over Syracuse in the first half, with two players logging 100 yards in the first two quarters. Tailback Lindsey Lamar rushed for 110 yards and one touchdown on six carries, while quarterback B.J. Daniels ran for 100 yards on six carries as well. The Syracuse pass defense played better than the rush defense, holding Daniels to 62 yards passing. South Florida kicker Maikon Bonani has had a solid first half, connecting on all three of his first-half field goal attempts, including a long of 46 yards.


Latest updates of Syracuse at South Florida

All you need to know about Syracuse's match up with USF.


Beating USF could be big for SU's bowl hopes

If Syracuse can defeat USF on Saturday it would be the program's second victory in eight meetings. However, a victory would do more than put an end to the Bulls' dominance, but would keep SU's BCS bowl hopes alive and well.


SU's Ameen-Moore out for USF game with injury

SU's short-yardage running back suffers injury will miss Saturday's game versus USF.

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