DeVito leads Syracuse to 52-33 win over Western Michigan
SYRACUSE — Syracuse coach Dino Babers was pleased his team's offense had come out of its shell, but in a game that saw both teams combine for more than 1,100 yards and 85 points, it was the defense that helped seal a 52-33 win for the Orange.
Western Michigan (2-2) had rallied from a 21-0 deficit to narrow the margin to 38-33 with a little more than 10 minutes remaining and had a fourth-and-1 from its own 42. Momentum was on the Broncos' side and the Carrier Dome knew it. But Syracuse defensive tackle Kenneth Ruff and safety Evan Foster stopped Davon Tucker about a foot short of the first down. On the subsequent drive, tight end Aaron Hackett caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Tommy DeVito and the Orange (2-2) could exhale.
"We treat fourth-down stops like a turnover," Babers said. "That was a really big deal. I thought the one stop was unbelievable where they originally gave them the first down (on third down). For us to come back and stop them on that series was a really big part of the game."
"We have to be able to convert a fourth-and-short," said Western Michigan coach Tim Lester, who served as Syracuse offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2013-2015.
DeVito passed for a career-high four touchdowns and ran for one score as Syracuse broke a modest two-game losing streak.
"I'm a throw-first guy but definitely can run if I have to," said DeVito, who broke off a career-high 60-yard run.
"I thought it was cool that he started the game and finished the game with the same number of interceptions (zero)," Babers said.
Hackett had a career day with six receptions.
"It felt good to finally get out and score my first touchdown in the Dome," he said.
Trishton Jackson, who had six receptions for 141 yards, also had two touchdown catches for the Orange. Moe Neal led Syracuse with 123 yards rushing and two scores.
Syracuse had been held to a total of 50 points in its previous three games.
"Really proud of the offense to kind of come out of their shell and put some points on the board against any defense in college football, but I'm disappointed in the turnovers," Babers said.
DeVito was 27 of 35 for 287 yards for Syracuse and picked up 84 yards on the ground. He completed passes to eight different receivers.
Jon Wassink was 23 of 46 for the Broncos for 356 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
"We started slow which hurt us," Wassink said. "We turned the ball over a couple times which we can't do. We started slow and had to claw our way back. We have to be better."
LeVante Bellamy, who was held in check in the first quarter, finished with 165 yards on just 15 carries before an injury sidelined him in the third quarter. He had touchdown runs of 47 and 43 yards. Giovanni Ricci had a season-high eight catches for 105 yards.
"Their tailback (Bellamy) is exceptional," Babers said.
The game, marred by sloppy play, saw 19 penalties for nearly 200 yards and five turnovers, all fumbles. Western Michigan turned it over three times and the teams capitalized for touchdowns on four fumbles.
"I thought it was a game of different mood swings, different momentum swings. Felt like one minute we had control of the game and the next thing you know you're back in a football game," Babers said.
"Obviously, really disappointed after all the turnovers, the guys were hanging and hanging and by end of third quarter we were in the game," Lester said. "That was the goal, stay in the game late and make a play in the last couple of drives. The offense had two or three opportunities to score to take the lead and we didn't. That's the most frustrating thing. We moved the ball which I was proud of."
Syracuse wasted little time getting on the board, going 81 yards on four plays, capped by a 23-yard run up the middle by Neal. DeVito scampered 60 yards on the game's second play to set up Neal's run.
Syracuse led 24-13 at the half. The third quarter featured four consecutive touchdown drives of less than two minutes each.
WHAT COULD'VE BEEN
Babers said he could only imagine how the game could've turned had D'Wayne Eskridge and Bellamy not been injured. Eskridge caught two passes for 53 yards on the Broncos' first possession but never returned after being hurt on his 43-yard catch.
BACK TO BACK
Bellamy followed his 192-yard effort against Georgia State with another impressive effort. He has 357 yards in his last two games.
Sean Riley is now Syracuse's all-time leader in kickoffs returned and kickoff return yardage, surpassing wide receiver Qadry Ismail.
Syracuse extended to 18 the number of consecutive games in which the Orange have recorded a takeaway.
Western Michigan: The Broncos didn't get down after falling behind 21-0 and put a scare into the Orange. With weapons like Bellamy and Ricci the Broncos will be a tough out.
Syracuse: While they scored 52 points, the Orange failed to capitalize on a couple of red-zone opportunities, which has been a recurring issue this season. Ball security will be stressed in the coming week.
Western Michigan: The Broncos host in-state rival Central Michigan Saturday.
Syracuse: The Orange conclude their three-game home stand Saturday against Holy Cross.
-- By Mark Frank, AP
Patterson leads Buffalo run attack in 38-22 win over Temple
AMHERST — Jaret Patterson ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns to lead Buffalo to a 38-22 victory over Temple on Saturday.
Buffalo's first drive stalled at their 45-yard line when Christian Braswell picked off a Matt Myers' pass. Anthony Russo then led the Owls (2-1) on a 12-play drive, capped by his 2-yard touchdown toss to Isaiah Wright. The Bulls (2-2) scored the next 24 points.
A fumbled punt led to Patterson's 4-yard touchdown run. Ledarius Mack sacked Russo and forced a fumble, and the Bulls scored three plays later on Myer's 7-yard TD run. Patterson ran for 52 yards on nine carries, and Kevin Marks capped that drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to end the half with the Bulls up 24-7.
Patterson ran it in from the 3-yard line in the third quarter and Joey Banks returned an interception 46 yards for a score to push Buffalo's lead to 38-10 with 9:43 remaining.
Russo finished 18-of-40 passing for 190 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions for the Owls.
Undercuffler passes Albany past winless Lafayette, 36-7
ALBANY — Donovan McDonald returned the opening kick 98 yards for a touchdown and Jeff Undercuffler threw four touchdown passes as Albany cruised to a 36-7 victory over winless Lafayette on Saturday afternoon.
Undercuffler hit Karl Mofor from 48-yards out to put Albany up, 12-0 after Dylan Burns misfired on both first-quarter extra point attempts.
Burns kicked a 26-yard field goal and connected on two of his four PAT attempts. Francesco Ancona kicked the final PAT.
Undercuffler was 19-of-25 passing and threw an interception. Mofor caught four passes for 58 yards and rushed for 135 on 25 carries.
Keegan Shoemaker was 22 of 37 for 230 passing yards, but the Leopards (0-4) were limited to 90 yards rushing on 30 attempts.
Albany completes the nonconference portion of its schedule with two wins in four games and opens the Colonial Athletic Association schedule Saturday against William & Mary.
The Great Danes honored active and retired military and first-responders, including police, fire and EMS workers before the game.
Cornell tops Marist 21-7, has 2 goal-line stops in opener
POUGHKEEPSIE — Harold Coles rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, Mike Catanese ran for a pair of scores and Cornell's defense stopped Marist three times on fourth-down plays in the final period to win its season opener 21-7 Saturday.
Cornell's rushing game dominated with 263 yards while holding the ball for 40 minutes. Big Red (1-0) held Marist (1-2) to two yards on the ground and held a 419-220 edge in total offense.
After a Big Red fumble in the fourth, Marist drove 71 yards in nine plays to a first-and-goal at the five. Three plays later, Dazhon Miller took a handoff straight up the middle but was pushed backward by a wall of Cornell defenders on the fourth-and-1 play.
Marist also failed to convert from fourth-and-3 at the 11 when Luke Strnad's pass fell incomplete with 2:38 remaining and, early in the fourth, turned the ball over on fourth-and-9 after another incompletion.
Strnad completed 16 of 38 passes for 218 yards.
Edwards has 2 KO TDs, Maine tops Colgate 35-21
HAMILTON — Earnest Edwards returned two kickoffs for touchdowns for the second time in his career to lead Maine to a 35-21 win over Colgate on Saturday.
Edwards added to his career record with his fifth kickoff return for a touchdown, a 100-yarder right up the middle of the field, to start the second half. Edwards, who hauled in a 40-yard touchdown bomb from Chris Ferguson in the final minute of the first half for a 21-7 lead, went 95 yards down the left sideline for his second kickoff return with 4:52 left in the third quarter. With 198 kickoff-return yards he broke his school record of 188 from last season against Elon.
Joe Fitzpatrick contributed 102 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries for the Black Bears (2-2).
Maine's defense limited Colgate to 103 yards in the first half, and 185 through three quarters before two long drives by the Raiders in the fourth quarter. The Black Bears had eight sacks, their most since getting nine in a 2012 game.
Colgate (0-4), favored to win a third straight Patriot League title, is now 0-3 against the Colonial Athletic Association after going 3-0 against the CAA last year, counting the playoffs.
Edwards has scored in 10 of his last 11 games.
Marchi leads Sacred Heart to third win, tops LIU 34-10
OLD WESTBURY — Logan Marchi passed for 375 yards and his three touchdown strikes in the second quarter propelled Sacred Heart past Long Island 34-10 on Saturday in a Northeast Conference opener.
The Pioneers (3-1) entered the second quarter trailing 7-6 but scored on their next three possessions. Marchi capped a nine-play, 88-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring pass to Tyrese Chambers, then found Del Driscoll from the 10 after the Pioneers got the ball back on a fumble and hit Chambers again from 60 yards out for a 27-7 halftime lead.
Julius Chestnut added a 44-yard touchdown run late in the game. Chestnut rushed for 141 yards, while Chambers had 144 yards receiving.
Long Island (0-2), a combination of athletic programs from LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn, is playing Division I football for the first time.
Clay Beathard led the Sharks with 135 yards passing but was intercepted twice. Three turnovers hurt the Sharks.
Marchi has passed for more than 300 yards in the last three games, all Sacred Heart wins.