Yet ina repeat of last year's debacle, SU was tormented once again allowing Maine to burn them on the opening kickoff. The trick play was a reverse, handed off to Randall Desmond, who made an explosive 64-yard run to the SU 31-yard line.
But SU rose to up to the challenge, thwarting two unsuccessful running attempts and an incomplete pass as Maine came away empty-handed, generating no points on the scoreboard.
Still, Maine's offense dominated the time of possession in the opening period, holding the ball for 12:02 as compared to Syracuse's 2:56. SU was hindered with penalties, was 0-for-3 on third-down conversions and had to punt three times.
The Black Bears' most impressive scoring opportunity consisted of a long 75-yard 14-play TD drive. Smith was successful on four third-down conversions and a pair of fourth-down plays. Smith ran through a wide-open lane delivering a five-yard TD run that gave Maine a 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, a revamped Syracuse offense regained its composure, outscoring Maine 17-7. It commenced with a tremendous 62-yard kickoff return from senior cornerback Mike Holmes, who advanced the football all way to Maine's 27.
Holmes scrambled to his right, losing yardage and kept his balance, then changed direction moving to the left sideline. Then he followed the blocks down the field capping off an electrifying play that spun the home crowd into a frenzy/
"I didn't think I was supposed to catch it that deep," Holmes said. "I thought I better make a play or I'm going to get yelled at on the sideline."
Nassib eventually hit Lemon for a 3-yard score that resulted in his second TD of the season and the game was tied at 7-7.
Undaunted by the challenge, Maine countered with a five-play drive finished off by Smith's throwback toss to reserve tight end to Justin Perillo that pulled the Black Bears in the lead at 14-7.