Syracuse's BCS hopes gone with loss to Temple

The Orange started the day with a chance to go to a BCS game. Now, they'll be lucky if they head to any bowl game at all.

Temple quarterback Walter Washington ran for 185 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another as the Owls stunned Syracuse, 34-24. The win was Temple's first conference win of the year and also put Syracuse's bowl hopes in serious jeopardy.

"(Washington) makes plays, he makes you miss, he did that today," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "We had a lot of offense today but the bottom line is you have got to get the ball across the goal line."

The Orange (5-5, 3-2 Big East) came into Saturday with a 3-1 Big East record, just one game behind West Virginia – which lost to Boston College yesterday – in the standings. Two Syracuse wins and two West Virginia losses would've put Syracuse in a BCS game.

But the Syracuse loss means the Orange will need to top the red-hot Eagles next week to even play in a bowl game. (Teams need to have a .500 record to play in the postseason.)

"We had a chance today to win," Pasqualoni said. "Go 4-1 in the conference, obviously hopeful that BC could win today so we could go to Boston and have a big game. That's the part of it to me that's so disappointing."

But Syracuse couldn't stop Washington, who set the Big East season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (816), breaking the mark set two years ago by West Virginia's Rasheed Marshall (666). Washington also tied a Temple (2-8, 1-4) record by recording his 15th touchdown of the season.

"He's a linebacker playing quarterback," linebacker Kelvin Smith said. "That's what he looked like. He played great. He's strong, a big dude, hard to tackle."

It was a rare bright spot for the Owls, who will be leaving the Big East this year after they were not invited back by the conference. Temple will not have a conference affiliation next year.

The Owls went into halftime leading 21-3, but Syracuse closed the lead in the third quarter behind two scores from tailback Damien Rhodes. Rhodes (200 yards, 29 carries) started in place of the injured Walter Reyes.

But the Owls were not to be denied.

Washington capped an eight play, 80 yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and Ryan Lux all but sealed the win with a 41-yard field goal to give the Owls a 34-17 lead.

The loss intensified the questions of whether Pasqualoni will be coaching his final Syracuse game next Saturday. Pasqualoni, who has been with the Orange for the last 14 years, had little to say about his job security.

"I understand everything that is out there," he said. "But my focus as the head coach here is to try and do what I can do to help the kids win a game. I wish there was one more thing I could have done today to help them win the game. That's all."

Brad Bierman contributed to this article.

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