Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Trailing 17-10 at halftime, Syracuse rallied to earn a 31-27 victory over host Missouri and became bowl eligible for the second time in eight seasons.
For just the second time in eight seasons Saturday the Syracuse Orange become bowl eligible, as they rallied and defeated the Missouri Tigers, 31-27, in a non-conference football game at Faurot Field. The victory helped the Orange (6-5, 4-2 Big East Conference) reach the six-win mark, while the host Tigers (5-6, 2-5 SEC) need to beat the No. 9-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in the final game of the regular season to achieve the same feat.
Senior quarterback Ryan Nassib, who's now the Orange's all-time passing leader (8,845 yards), found senior wide receiver Alec Lemon for a 17-yard game-winning touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the game to help take a 31-27 lead.
Missouri's last-chance Hail Mary fell short, and Syracuse earned its staple win under fourth-year head coach Doug Marrone.
The Orange trailed 17-10 at halftime, but rallied behind a solid performance from their defense and a career night from Lemon, who finished with 12 catches, 244 receiving yards (a collegiate best) and two touchdowns.
Nassib targeted Lemon six times on SU's game-winning drive, which moved 71 yards in just eight plays - Nassib and Lemon combined for 64 yards.
After giving up touchdowns on Missouri's first two possessions of the game, the Orange defense allowed just one touchdown and a field goal, all coming in the fourth quarter, which featured a total of 27 points (three touchdowns and two field goals).
Missouri junior quarterback James Franklin finished 18-for-24 for 317 yards and two touchdowns, but was knocked out of the game earlier in the fourth quarter. Backup Corbin Berkstresser led the Tigers to a fourth-quarter touchdown drive, however, failed to help Missouri score on its final two possessions.
Syracuse was able to overcome a late interception by Nassib, who finished the game 26-for-40 with 385 yards and two touchdowns, after holding Missouri to just a 46-yard field goal by kicker Andrew Baggett with 1:52 to go.
SU took over trailing 27-24 and marched down the field for the game-winning score.
Overall, the Orange totaled 508 yards and improved to 6-0 when committing the same or fewer turnovers than their opponent.
Next Friday, Syracuse finished regular-season play at the Temple Owls (11 a.m. ET). The Tigers play the Aggies on Saturday (7 p.m.).