Scores

Final

Northwestern 34

(2-1, 0-1 away)

Syracuse 37

(1-2, 1-1 home)

7:00 PM ET, September 19, 2009

Carrier Dome, SYRACUSE, NY

1 2 3 4 T
NW 0 21 7 634
SYR 17 7 3 1037

Top Performers

Passing: M. Kafka (NW) - 390 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: D. Carter (SYR) - 18 CAR, 84 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Williams (SYR) - 11 REC, 209 YDS, 2 TD

Syracuse hits 41-yard field goal to edge Northwestern

Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Ryan Lichtenstein kicked a 41-yard field goal on the final play of the game, giving Syracuse a 37-34 win Saturday night against Northwestern and rookie coach Doug Marrone his first victory.

Max Suter set up the winning points with an interception of Mike Kafka, returning it to the Wildcats 39.

Greg Paulus scored on a 10-yard run and was 24-for-35 for 346 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for the Orange (1-2), who started 0-3 the previous two seasons under former coach Greg Robinson. Mike Williams had 11 catches for 209 yards and two TDs for the Orange.

Kafka was 35-for-42 for 390 yards and three touchdowns and scored on a 3-yard run.

Paulus, who starred at point guard for Duke for four years before giving football a shot with his final year of athletic eligibility, was elusive, sharp, and in command from the outset. He displayed a flair for the deft fake, sidestepping the rush when he had to, completing throws on the run against blitzes, even scoring on a nifty run.

But he also made two big mistakes that nearly cost the Orange the win. Paulus threw an interception in the end zone in the final 10 seconds of the first half after Syracuse had forced a turnover. He also lost a fumble that Northwestern capitalized on for the go-ahead score late in the third.

And it was Kafka, who was magnificent until his ill-fated throw. He took a snap from center and passed left to former quarterback Andrew Brewer, who then passed it back across the field to Kafka at the 30. he sidestepped his way down the sideline to give Northwestern a 28-27 lead. It was Brewer's first career TD pass.

The Wildcats scored again with 9:04 left on an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Kafka hit Zeke Markshausen for 13 and 30 yards on consecutive plays, then rolled right and hit Demetrius Fields with a 3-yard TD toss.

But Stefan Demos, whose 49-yard field goal in the final seconds gave the Wildcats a 27-24 victory over Eastern Michigan a week ago, missed the extra point and the Orange had renewed life.

Paulus quickly capitalized, guiding Syracuse 70 yards in six plays and hitting Williams with a pretty 13-yard strike over the middle on a third-and-5 play to tie it at 34-all with 6:07 left.

Syracuse looked set to run away with the game, scoring 17 straight points in the first quarter. Paulus gave the Orange a 17-0 lead with a pretty 66-yard scoring pass to Williams, faking a handoff to Donte Davis and hitting Williams in stride at the Wildcats 20.

Unaccustomed to playing from behind the first two games, Kafka got Northwestern's no-huddle offense in gear and led the Wildcats to 21 straight points in the second quarter. He led three straight scoring drives that, combined, covered 222 yards in 19 plays and only took 5:24.

The senior capped the first drive with a 3-yard run, then hit Brewer with a 39-yard touchdown pass and Drake Dunsmore with a 22-yard scoring strike to give the Wildcats a 21-17 lead with 3:59 remaining.

Mike Jones finally gave Syracuse a big jolt when he returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the Northwestern 43. After another pretty fake in the backfield, Paulus hit Davis for 23 yards down the right side to set up Delone Carter's 3-yard TD run that gave Syracuse a 24-21 halftime lead.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NW
SYR
1st Downs2523
Total Yards466471
Passing414346
Rushing52125
Penalties7-576-64
3rd Down Conversions6-142-12
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Turnovers32
Possession28:0231:58

Passing Leaders

NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kafka35/423909.331
SyracuseC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Paulus24/353469.921

Rushing Leaders

NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Schmidt10303.006
Fields22412.0025
SyracuseCARYDSAVGTDLG
Carter18844.7114
Bailey4266.5018

Receiving Leaders

NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Dunsmore10909.0122
Markshausen9869.6030
SyracuseRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams1120919.0266
Davis67312.2023

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNWSYR
FG12:33Ryan Lichtenstein 43 Yd 03
TD09:33Greg Paulus 10 Yd Run (Ryan Lichtenstein Kick) 010
TD01:17Mike Williams 66 Yd Pass From Greg Paulus (Ryan Lichtenstein Kick) 017
SECOND QUARTERNWSYR
TD14:13Mike Kafka 3 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick) 717
TD09:47Andrew Brewer 39 Yd Pass From Mike Kafka (Stefan Demos Kick) 1417
TD03:59Drake Dunsmore 22 Yd Pass From Mike Kafka (Stefan Demos Kick) 2117
TD01:15Delone Carter 3 Yd Run (Ryan Lichtenstein Kick) 2124
THIRD QUARTERNWSYR
FG04:52Ryan Lichtenstein 37 Yd 2127
TD00:17Mike Kafka 24 Yd Pass From Andrew Brewer (Stefan Demos Kick) 2827
FOURTH QUARTERNWSYR
TD09:04Demetrius Fields 3 Yd Pass From Mike Kafka (Pat Failed) 3427
TD06:07Mike Williams 13 Yd Pass From Greg Paulus (Ryan Lichtenstein Kick) 3434
FG00:00Ryan Lichtenstein 41 Yd 3437