One season after an embarrassing 17-16 loss to the Owls (1-8, 0-4 Big East), the Orangemen (5-3, 2-2) set the tone early, crushing Temple 41-17. The win gave coach Paul Pasqualoni his 100th win in his 13th year as the head coach of the Orangemen.
"He coaches offense, he coaches defense, and he coaches special teams," quarterback RJ Anderson said. "Not many coaches in Division I-A do that. He does it all. It's time to give him his credit."
The Orangemen didn't waste any time putting points on the board, as Anderson's 8-yard run put the Orangemen up 7-0 with 6:22 in the first quarter. Collin Barber would add a field goal before Syracuse put together its most impressive drive of the season.
After Temple pinned the Orangemen at their own 1-yard line, the Orangemen, led by Johnnie Morant and Rashard Williams, put the game out of reach.
Facing a third down and eight at his own 14, Anderson – who had perhaps his best game this year, completing 16-of-20 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown – threw a pass behind Morant and wide, but Morant made a spectacular sprawling sideline catch for 14 yards.
"Johnnie's catch was a big time play," Pasqualoni said. "That was a key point in the game."
On the ensuing play, Anderson threw a 43-yard pass to Williams, which later set up a Walter Reyes 3-yard run for the touchdown.
"We knew there would be a point in the game where we were going to break their will," offensive coordinator George DeLeone said. "The 99-yard drive did it. There was no doubt the Orangemen weren't going to leave the game without a win after that."
Reyes, who caught five passes for 55 yards, finished with 93 yards rushing on 25 carries. He now ranks 10th all time on Syracuse's career list with 2,240 yards.
"I give credit to the offensive line," Reyes said. "Without them, I wouldn't be setting records."
The Orangemen would add another touchdown before half, as tight end Joe Kowalewski caught a 33-yard pass from RJ Anderson, giving Syracuse a 24-0 lead. Kowalewski, who dropped a sure-fire touchdown pass from Anderson earlier in the year against Toledo, found himself in a similar situation.
"I thought to myself, ‘You can't let two slip by,'" he said.
Instead, the sophomore caught the pass and jaunted into the endzone, pointing near the section where his father, John Kowalewski sat.
"I'm glad coach had enough confidence in me to make that play," he said. "I was so happy, I didn't know what to do."
Temple finally scored in the final minute of the first half, as Walter Washington completed six passes for 82 yards, his last to Makonnen Fenton, for a six-yard strike with 51 seconds left. Washington finished 19-for-34 for 184 yards, after replacing starting quarterback Mike McGann, who missed the game with a sore right arm. Washington gained 60 yards rushing, but also threw two interceptions.
Jamil Porter scored on a 1-yard run and Jared Davis kicked a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Temple.
Barber's field goals of 35 and 26 yards and Tim Washington's 1-yard run accounted for the Orangemen offense in the fourth quarter.
Syracuse will travel to Miami next week to face the Hurricanes, who dropped their second straight game, losing to Tennessee, 10-6. A win would qualify the Orangemen for a bowl game.
"We're in the home stretch," Pasqualoni said. "The importance here is we have a good win to build on."
Pasqualoni wins 100th, Orangemen roll
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