Lemon, Nassib shine on Senior Day

Nassib led the balanced Orange offensive attack to a victory over No. 10 Louisville in the senior's final game at the Dome.

An offensive explosion propelled Syracuse (5-5, 3-3) past No. 11/10 Louisville (9-1, 4-1) on Senior Day in the Carrier Dome in front of 40,312 fans. Syracuse Univeristy scored on seven of 12 possessions in the 45-26 win.

In his final game at the Dome, senior quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were caught by fellow senior wide receiver Alec Lemon. Lemon finished the game with nine receptions for 176 yards.

“Being able to go out with the game that he had today, you can’t ask for a better thing for such a good player and such a good teammate.”
Ryan Nassib

“Me and him (Lemon), we’ve been through a lot together since we’ve been here,” Nassib said. “Being able to go out with the game that he had today, you can’t ask for a better thing for such a good player and such a good teammate.”

Both teams traded field goals early in the first quarter. SU’s Ross Krautman converted a 20-yard attempt and Louisville’s John Wallace responded with a 37-yard field to tie the game at 3-3.

SU’s next drive would end quickly on a three-and-out, but a muffed punt by the Cardinals was recovered by the Orange at the 24-yard line. Four plays later, Prince-Tyson Gulley notched his first rushing touchdown of the day on an 8-yard rush to give the Orange a 10-3 lead.

Louisville responded quickly, as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed a short, passing underneath to Corvin Lamb, who turned it into a 53-yard touchdown, tying the game 10-10 with 1:27 left in the quarter.

Nassib and company went to work in the second quarter and scored on three consecutive possessions. Nassib and Lemon connected on two touchdown passes in the quarter to pull ahead 24-10, and Gulley scrambled 55 yards for his second touchdown of the day to give the Orange a 31-10 lead. The Cardinals closed out the half with a 35-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 31-13.

“I feel like when we were out on that field, we were clicking,” Lemon said. “We really couldn’t be stopped.”

The offensive onslaught continued in the second half. After the SU defense shut down the first drive for Louisville in the third quarter, running back Jerome Smith capped off a 9 play, 74-yard drive with a 35-yard TD, giving the Orange a 38-13 lead early in the second half. Smith finished the day with 146 and a touchdown, his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance.

Syracuse’s defense continued putting the pressure on Bridgewater, who hadn’t scored since the first quarter. However, it was only a matter of time before Louisville got back into the end zone. Backed up in their own 6 yard-line, Bridgewater completed a few long passes, the final being a 44-yard touchdown to Eli Rogers, putting the score at 38-19 after blocked extra point attempt.

Nassib extended the lead to 45-19 after hitting linebacker Lewellyn Coker for three yard score. It was Coker’s first career reception and touchdown. He also recovered a Louisville fumble early in the first quarter that helped propel the SU offense. 

“First I was just on special teams and defense, and they asked me to come over,” Coker said. “It felt great. When I tripped over the defender, I thought ‘there ain’t nothing that’s going to stop me.’” 

Bridgewater and the Cardinals cut the SU lead to 45-26 after an 8-yard touchdown reception by DeVante Parker, but Dyshawn Davis intercepted Bridgewater’s pass on the next possession to close out the game for the Orange.

“I’m proud of our players,” Marrone said. “We made less mistakes. We had a good balanced attack.”

The Orange continues its quest for a bowl game next Saturday at Missouri.  

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