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.