Madei Williams hit Pat Woodcock with a 22-yard touchdown pass and Nate Trout kicked a 37-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half to break open a tight game. The defense then held the high-powered Green Wave (2-2) scoreless in the second half as No. 22 Syracuse rolled to a 47-17 victory.
Holding the ball for as long as possible was a high priority for Syracuse (4-1) and the Orangemen did a decent job, keeping time of possession virtually even.
"The offense kept moving the ball until the defense settled down," said coach Paul Pasqualoni, who notched his 72nd victory in his 100th game at Syracuse. "We got a little fouled up there for a while, but the offense kept us ahead and kept controlling the ball."
"When you make as many mistakes as we did, and playing on the road with a young team, it's hard to bounce back," Tulane coach Chris Scelfo said. "And every time we made a mistake Syracuse capitalized."
Ramsey, fourth nationally in total offense with 355 yards per game, and his no-huddle offense made the game exciting for a while. He finished 26-of-53 for 342 yards before leaving with 4:11 left.
With Syracuse ahead 17-14 early in the second quarter, the Green Wave moved across midfield. But Ramsey fell after taking the snap on a fourth-and-4 play with receiver JaJuan Dawson wide open and Syracuse escaped, much as it did in 1997 when Tebucky Jones returned an interception 98 yards on the final play of a 30-19 victory.
"We got beat pretty badly today," Ramsey said. "We didn't execute and they did."
Scelfo called Ramsey's fateful trip the turning point, but te final 55 seconds of the first half really turned the game in Syracuse's favor. Tulane had matched the Orangemen to that point.
Trout's field goal with only one second left not only put Syracuse ahead 34-17 at halftime, it landed him in the record book as Syracuse's all-time leading scorer.
"It's ironic that I did it (broke the record) on the field goal to end the half," said Trout, whose career-high 17 points boosted his career total to 304, eight more than John Biskup's previous record, set from 1989-92. "It was a situation where the team needed points, and we went into the locker room with the momentum."
The blitz-happy Green Wave defense entered the game allowing 439 yards of offense per game, and this one was more of the same. Syracuse gained 507 yards with a balanced attack 243 rushing and 264 passing.
"We didn't want to have to rely on the defense any longer," said tailback Dee Brown, who led the Orangemen with 79 yards rushing on 15 carries. "We wanted to step forward and lead the team today. We wanted to keep the offense on the field as long as we could."
Williams, who got his second straight start at quarterback, and Nunes again rotated for the Orangemen. Williams finished 9-of-15 for 168 yards and Nunes was 4-of-7 for 96 and also gained 47 yards on eight carries.
Turnovers plagued both teams in the high-scoring first quarter. Ian McIntosh set up a 46-yard field goal by Trout with his third interception in two weeks, picking off Ramsey's lob pass to the left sideline on the game's second play.
Ramsey suffered another on Tulane's next possession, this time by free safety Quentin Harris at the Syracuse 23. A 25-yard completion from Williams to Quinton Spotwood set up an 8-yard touchdown run by James Mungro midway through the quarter.
Tulane then took advantage of a fumble by Spotwood on a punt. Ramsey hit Adrian Burnette with a 32-yarder over the middle on the next play, then scored on a 3-yard keeper to move Tulane within 10-7.
The aerial show continued as Nunes hit Woodcock with a 47-yard bomb and Brown scored on a 6-yard run to put the Orangemen ahead 17-7 with 2:06 left in the period.
Ramsey got that back in 47 seconds. He hit Kerwin Cook with a quick pass over the middle, and Cook outraced the secondary to complete an 80-yard scoring play.
Burnette caught seven passes for 92 yards. Dawson, who caught seven passes for 204 yards in the loss here two years ago, had nine catches for 120 yards.
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