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Orange Close Big East Run With Win

Syracuse beats Temple in final Big East conference game
Syracuse left the Big East winners, but barely.

Ryan Nassib threw for 215 yards and a touchdown, and Adonis Ameen-Moore rushed for a pair of scores to lead Syracuse to a 38-20 victory over Temple on Friday in the Orange's final Big East game.

The Orange (7-5, 5-2 Big East) have won five of six games to finish the season, and now await their bowl destination. Syracuse is moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

In 22 years as a football member of the Big East, SU finished 76-75. It was a tale of two decades--sort of. Syracuse went 54-21 in its first 11 years with the Big East and 22-54 in the last 11.

Syracuse was down 10-0 early and Temple took a 20-17 lead midway through the third quarter on quarterback Clinton Granger's 10-yard scamper that capped a four-play, 62-yard Owls drive.

But the Orange took over from there.

"We just kept fighting," Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said. "We were able to make the extra plays."

Nassib said, "We've been down like that before. It was only a matter of time before we started clicking."

Syracuse marched 75 yards on 12 plays on the next possession, ending it with Aimeen-Moore's 1-yard plunge to take a 24-20 lead with 4:37 left in the quarter.

Prince-Tyson Gulley scored on a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter, ending an 11-play, 75-yard drive that took up 4:04 and gave them a 31-20 advantage.

Syracuse clinched it on Keon Lyn's 31-yard interception return of Granger's errant pass with 2:37 left in the game. It was the first of two interceptions for Lyn.

Though Syracuse focused on its ground game, racking up 260 yards on 49 carries, Nassib completed 16 of 28 passes in his final regular-season game.

"I don't think words can put in perspective," Marrone said of Nassib. "I'm not a very good storyteller but I am very proud of him. I can promise you he'll be playing again. You'll see him on Sundays (in the NFL)."

Nassib was playing in the stadium that is home to his favorite professional team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and not far from his West Chester, Pa., home.

"It went well," he said. "We played well as a team and came out with a win. That's all you can ask for. . It was perfect. I was truly blessed."

Temple's Montel Harris, who ran for 351 yards and seven touchdowns in last Saturday's record-setting, 63-32 win over Army, ran for 106 yards on 21 carries for the Owls (4-7, 2-5), who ended their first season back in the Big East by losing five of six.

Granger, making his second start, threw for 173 yards and a TD on 16-for-23 passing with a pair of interceptions. He also rushed for 61 yards on 15 carries.

"It was a great opportunity for me to be out there and learn from my mistakes and keep growing as a quarterback and leader so I can be a good quarterback for my team in the future," he said. "They changed their front and started bringing more pressure. That's my job to recognize the pressure and put the protection to the pressure. Sometimes I didn't do that."

After being bowl eligible for each of the last three seasons as a member of the Mid-American Conference, Temple ended its first season in the Big East without a bowl bid.

But Owls coach Steve Addazio expects his team to improve going forward.

"We'll be better for that," he said. "It's a growing experience. If we had stayed in the (MAC), we'd probably have seven, eight or nine wins and going to a bowl game. You have to put your pride down a little bit, but we see a bigger picture. We know we're going to be back in a bowl game."

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