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Syracuse, N.Y. - For the first time this season, UConn's defense was as much responsible for a loss as the struggling offense.
The Huskies, who entered the night ranked sixth nationally in total defense, allowed Syracuse to go up and down the Carrier Dome at critical times on Friday night as the Orange rolled to a 40-10 Big East victory.
The two defining moments of this game came late in the first half and the start of the second.
UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer, who dodged a fierce Syracuse pass rush all night, had just taken the Huskies 90 yards on four plays, completing the drive with a 32-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ryan Griffin to pull UConn (3-5, 0-3) within 13-10 with 3:39 left in the first half.
But Syracuse (3-4, 2-1) responded with a 7-play, 77-yard drive to take a 20-10 halftime lead when Ryan Nassib threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Beckett Wales just 2:20 after UConn's score.
The dagger came on the opening drive of the second half when Nassib, faced with a third-and-7 from his own 28, hit Alec Lemon on a quick post that turned into a 68-yard gain to the UConn 4. Prince-Tyson Gulley scored on the next play and the Orange were in charge, 27-10, just 1:48 into the second half.
Syracuse finished with 508 total yards against a UConn defense which had not allowed an opponent to reach 400 this season.
Syracuse's Jerome Smith rushed for 135 yards on 19 carries (7.1 yards per game) to become the third straight back to surpass 100 yards this season while Lemon, who caught an 11-yard TD pass from Nassib with two minutes left in the third quarter, finished with eight receptions for 166 yards.
Whitmer finished 22-of-40 for 285 yards with one interception while tailback Lyle McCombs, who returned to the starting lineup after missing the Temple game with a wrist injury, was held to just 16 yards on 12 carries.