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Temple vs. Syracuse: Orange earn 38-20 victory in Big East finale

Syracuse won its final Big East Conference football game, 38-20, over the Temple Owls.

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Syracuse ends Big East tenure with 38-20 victory

The Syracuse Orange rushing attack compiled 260 yards and scored three touchdowns Friday to propel the Orange to a 38-20 victory over the Temple Owls in their Big East Conference football finale. The win helped Syracuse University's 21-year tenure as a Big East member conclude with a 76-75 record and cemented the second winning season under head coach Doug Marrone.

The Orange, who began the season with a 1-3 record, finished regular-season play with a 7-5 overall record (5-2 Big East) and secured, at least, a fourth-place finish in the Big East standings. SU could still earn the league's automatic BCS bowl berth, but needs a lot of help.

Syracuse junior running back Jerome Smith ran for a team-high 96 yards on 20 carries, sophomore Prince-Tyson Gulley carried the ball 13 times for 83 yards and a touchdown while sophomore Adonis Ameen-Moore powered his way to 57 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns.

Ameen-Moore's last touchdown came with 4:32 to go in the third quarter and helped give SU a 24-20 lead it would never lose, while Smith's performance helped him surpass the 1,000-rushing mark for the first time in his career.

Another Orange player that cleared a 1,000-yard mark was senior wide receiver Alec Lemon, who caught a team-high five passes for 74 yards. Lemon, who also broke his own single-season and school record of 68 catches, now has 1,063 yards entering SU's final game of the year.

Senior quarterback Ryan Nassib finished 16-for-28 with 215 yards and a touchdown - a 24-yard second-quarter pass to senior wide receiver Marcus Sales. Nassib became Syracuse's all-time leading passer in last week's victory over the Missouri Tigers.

Temple earned an early 10-0 lead, but could not overcome four turnovers. The third was an interception thrown by quarterback Clinton Granger that was returned for a touchdown by Syracuse senior defensive back Keon Lyn with 2:37 to go in the game. Lyn's touchdown cemented SU's third straight victory.

Syracuse improved to 7-0 when committing the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent.

Granger compiled 234 yards of total offense (173 through the air) and scored two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing). Senior running back Montel Harris rushed for a game-high 106 yards on 21 carries for Temple (4-7, 2-5), which ended its season losing five of the last six games.

The Orange will now wait to see how the rest of the Big East plays out and for their second bowl invite in three seasons.

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SU leads Owls, 17-13, at halftime

The Syracuse Orange offense came alive in the second quarter and helped the Orange earn a 17-13 halftime lead over the Temple Owls in a Big East Conference football game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Syracuse (6-5, 4-2 Big East) helped erase two first-quarter turnovers by tallying a pair of touchdowns - one by senior wide receiver Marcus Sales and another by sophomore running back Adonis Ameen-Moore -- and a 26-yard field goal by kicker Ross Krautman, which came with seven seconds remaining in the half.

Sales scored on a 24-yard throw from quarterback Ryan Nassib just 1:37 into the second quarter, while Ameen-Moore ran in from 18 yards out to help give Syracuse a 14-10 lead with 9:11 remaining in the first half.

Krautman's kick capped a small 10-play, 38-yard drive that capped the half's scoring.

Nassib finished the half 8-for-16 with 116 passing yards, while junior running back Jerome Smith has rushed for 56 yards on seven carries.

Temple junior quarterback Clinton Granger is 11-for-13 for 89 yards, and has added 57 rushing yards on eight carries. Owls senior running back Montel Harris has a game-high 63 yards on 13 carries.

Temple led 10-0 after the first quarter, however, managed just a 22-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus in the second quarter.

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SU trails Temple, 10-0, after 1st quarter

A 12-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Clinton Granger to wide receiver John Christopher and a 47-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus has helped the Temple Owls earn a 10-0 lead on the Syracuse Orange in a Big East Conference football game that has reached the conclusion of the first quarter.

So far, Granger is 6-for-8 for 46 passing yards and has 47 rushing yards on six carries, while senior running back Montel Harris has 48 yards on eight carriers.

Syracuse (6-5, 4-2 Big East) turned the ball over on its two possessions of the first quarter. Both were fumbles that happened inside Temple's 40-yard line.

The Owls (4-6, 2-4) turned the Orange's second fumble into a touchdown after marching 74 yards on 11 plays in 5:55. The drive ended with Granger finding Christopher.

McManus' field goal capped Temple's game-opening drive, which marched 43 yards in eight plays in 4:10.

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Syracuse barely, but still in, BCS bowl hunt

On Friday, the Syracuse Orange visit the Temple Owls in their final Big East Conference football game ever. The Orange (6-5, 4-2 Big East) seem to be playing for just a chance to cement its second winning record in 10 seasons, however, there's a very small chance SU can still earn the league's automatic BCS bowl berth.

According to CBS Sports' Evan Hilbert, here's how:

Scenario No. 2: Louisville loses to UConn, beats Rutgers; Rutgers loses out; Cincinnati loses one of its last two; Syracuse beats Temple.

Now, again, we create a mini-conference between the three teams at 5-2. That would be Louisville, Syracuse, and Rutgers. But, uh-oh, head-to-head records here are all 1-1. Louisville beat Rutgers, lost to Syracuse; Syracuse beat Louisville, lost to Rutgers; Rutgers beat Syracuse, lost to Louisville. In this case, the determining factor becomes which team has the highest BCS ranking. As of Nov. 17, CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm has Rutgers (18) ahead of Louisville (20) ahead of Syracuse (43). So, in this case, the most likely outcome would be Louisville leaping over Rutgers after having won and edging out Syracuse for the BCS berth based on ranking. Unless, of course, something wacky happens, like Connecticut beating Louisville 40-0 and the Cards turning around and beating Rutgers 7-6, then, maybe, Syracuse somehow ends up ranked higher.

Obviously, this scenario is calling for a lot to happen but truly anything can happen in the Big East.

What's also a bit disheartening is Syracuse was oh-so-close to defeating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Cincinnati Bearcats. It can be argued, the Orange controlled both games, however, were undone by their own wrong-doings - costly turnovers and bad penalties being the main problem.

By weekends end, Syracuse football fans will more than likely be asking "what if." Yet, it's still impressive that after starting the season 1-3, SU is in this possession.

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