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Gophers edge SU in Marrone's debut

Wipe Syracuse University football's past history off the board as the 2009 campaign begins with a new regime -- but still some work to do to get back to past glory.

Doug Marrone, once the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator, has returned to coach his alma mater Marrone made a lot changes in the off-season, adding and subtracting players that, he believes, will immediately help to resurrect the program.

At the Carrier Dome Saturday, the new era began against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in front of a near-capacity crowd of 48,617 people, most of them decked out in Orange.

It was a hard-hitting physical battle -- and though the Orange led late in the fourth quarter, it still took a 23-20 overtime loss to the Gophers.

In the first half Minnesota appeared to have control, establishing a 14-3 lead. On SU's first play from scrimmage, a bad snap over the head of Greg Paulus, and Minnesota recovered the fumble, Three plays later, Duane Bennett cashed in with 16-yard touchdown run.

SU rebounded, trimming the deficit to 7-3 thanks to Mike Jones 79-yard kickoff return that set up kicker Ryan Lichtenstein 23-yard field goal.

Minnesota's attacked Syracuse again, using an eight-play, 64-yard drive consumed 4:23 that ended with Adam Weber going seven yards to Troy Stoudermire for the TD.

However, as SU's offense got progressively better, they scored 17 unanswered points. A successful drive utilized a balance of multiple receivers mixed in with effective runs from Delone Carter. Paulus scrambled to his left, avoiding a sack, and threw to Mike Williams over the middle for a 29-yard TD reception that cut the margin to 14-10.

Ten more points came in the second quarter, as Lichtenstein hit for the second time, on a 42-yard field goal, and Carter scored on a one-yard plunge. This gave Syracuse a 20-14 advantage going to the break, though it would not score again.

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