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SU tops Maine after shaky start

It was a tale of two different halves, as the Syracuse University football team struggled early, but then pulled away in the second half to beat the Maine Black Bears 38-14 in front of a Carrier Dome crowd of 37,751.

SU, who split season-opening road games (beating Akron but losing to Washington), won its home opener for the first since 2004, and improved to 2-1 on the season.

First-year starting quarterback Ryan Nassib led his team by going 19-for-28 for 260 yards and five touchdowns. Nassib, a sophomore, broke the previous school record of four TD passes in a game, set most recently by Andrew Robinson.

While the Orange offense was not statistically strong rushing the football, Delone Carter had 15 carries for 65 yards. SU predominately utilized three receivers, who played a large role in the outcome of the game.

Van Chew led his team with seven receptions for 113 yards and 1TD. The large-in-stature (6-4, 241 pounds) tight end Nick Provo caught five passes, accounting for 85 yards and a score. Alec Lemon dropped a few passes, but atoned by catching five others tallying 58 yards while adding two TD's. Jose Cruz chipped in with his first score of the season catching a four-yard pass.

After a very sluggish first quarter, SU's defense tightened and prevented the Bearcats from scoring for the remainder of the contest. Maine was stymied on the ground with four players who were held to a combined 119 yards.

Quarterback Warren Smith's final stats were 20-for-27 for 127 yards and two touchdowns. However, Smith was efficient only in the first two quarters, largely due an Orange defense that shutdown the Black Bears the entire second half.

At the outset of the game, SU's special team's coach Bob Casulo reiterated that it was very important that his team not get burned from trick plays and prevent Maine from having good field position.

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