A curious series of calls when Rutgers was in position for a go-ahead field goal backfired, and San San Te's miss-hit of a 45-yard attempt set the stage for Syracuse to drive 66 yards for the game-winning field goal.
Ross Krautman's 24-yard field goal with 1:07 to play lifted the Orange to a 13-10 win in front of 49,911 at Rutgers Stadium, making Syracuse bowl eligible for the first time since 2004 while the Scarlet Knights' bowl streak is in serious jeopardy.
"I thought we executed well (on the last drive)," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We need to finish those drives off. Whether it's the play calling, whether it's playing, whatever it is, we didn't do it."
Rutgers (4-5, 1-3 Big East) has lost three straight, and needs to win two of its last three games (at Cincinnati, Louisville and at West Virginia) or will miss out on a bowl for the first time since 2004.
"We still had fight in our eyes," Rutgers senior linebacker Antonio Lowery said. "We're not going to go out and say it's over. I'm not about to be that senior class that everyone said didn't make a bowl game. We're going to do it. We're going to get back on the right track."
Dodd finished 3 of 11 for 30 yards and was sacked twice in the first half. Savage took over in the second half and was 6 of 12 for 76 yards, but took a pair of bad sacks.
Deering finished with a career-high 166 yards on 29 carries, including a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter early in the third quarter to give the Scarlet Knights a 10-7 lead.
"I was just running to where I saw openings," Deering said. "It's like being a running back. You just look for a place to run."
The Scarlet Knights offense could not take advantage of three turnover, nor stopping Syracuse on downs at midfield.
But even when Rutgers had a drive moving, something usually happened it stop it. The most egregious came later in the fourth quarter when it appeared Rutgers was in position for a go-ahead field goal.
A 22-yard run by Deering moved the ball to Syracuse's 17 with five minutes to play, but Kordell Young was dropped for an 8-yard loss on a sweep right on the next play. Deering got six yards back with a rush, but Savage was sacked for an 8-yard loss.
Te then missed a 45-yard field goal attempt, in which the snap was not on target, with 3:51 to play, and Syracuse systematically mixed the pass and run to drive to Rutgers' 7-yard to set up Krautman's field goal with 1:07 to play. Krautman kicked at Ramapo High, the same school that produced Schiano.
"I need to put that ball through the uprights," Te said. "I didn't get a good hit on it and you saw what happened."
Rutgers still had a chance when it moved to its own 42 with 40 seconds left, but an incomplete pass, a nine yard sack and an incomplete pass.
"Our job is to keep getting the ball back to our offense," Rutgers middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais said. "We know that if we do that enough, they'll eventually score. I felt like we did a decent job but we just didn't finish some drives."