No. 24 Syracuse 31, Tulane 7
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Donovan McNabb threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns Saturday to lead No. 24 Syracuse to an 31-7 victory over Tulane.
Syracuse (6-2), ranked for the first time in six weeks, extended its winning streak to six straight games and stayed in contention for a berth in an alliance bowl.
But the Orangemen were less than impressive against clearly outclassed Tulane (2-7), which lost its fifth straight game. Tulane hasn’t won since a 35-7 victory over Texas Christian on Oct. 5.
With only a 10-0 lead at the end of three quarters, Syracuse’s usually potent offense didn’t begin clicking until it had to.
The Orangemen scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to break open the surprisingly close game.
Tulane’s defense scored on the first play of the fourth quarter. On first-and-10 at the Tulane 20, Syracuse’s Tebucky Jones fumbled a handoff and Tulane’s Tom Latos returned it 77 yards for the touchdown.
An unsportsmanlike penalty against Tulane on the touchdown return was assessed on the ensuing kickoff, and Syracuse’s Kevin Johnson took the ball at the 15 and returned it to the 48 to give the Orangemen great field position.
On third-and-9 at the Tulane 35, McNabb connected with Quinton Spotwood for a 35-yard touchdown strike to cap a four-play, 52-yard scoring drive. McNabb’s second touchdown pass of the day gave Syracuse a 17-7 lead.
On Syracuse’s next possession, Malcolm Thomas’ 9-yard touchdown run with 7:41 left gave the Orangemen a 24-7 lead.
Syracuse scored on its next possession on McNabb’s 4-yard pass to Kaseem Sinceno, capping an 11-play, 77-yard drive.
Syracuse, which had outscored its opponents 224-52 over its winning streak, exceeded 30 points for the seventh straight game.
While Syracuse’s offense stalled, Tulane’s struggled.
Syracuse, eighth nationally in total defense at 248.3 yards per game, allowed Tulane only 182 yards, including a mere 20 rushing.
Syracuse scored on its second possession of the game, driving 91 yards on nine plays and taking a 7-0 lead on McNabb’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Roland Williams.
The Orangemen extended the lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on Nathan Trout’s career-long 43-yard field goal.