East Carolina 27, No. 22 Syracuse 24
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ Jerris McPhail’s 14-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter capped East Carolina’s rally from a 21-point deficit and gave the Pirates a 27-24 victory over No. 22 Syracuse on Saturday.
Marcus Crandell threw for a career-high 392 yards and four touchdown passes, three in the second half, as East Carolina (1-1) won its second straight game in the Carrier Dome.
Redshirt freshman Donovan McNabb threw for one touchdown and set up two others with his passing to stake Syracuse (1-1) to a 21-0 lead with 5:45 to play in the first half.
The Orangemen, who upset North Carolina last week to earn a Top 25 ranking, came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the final nine minutes but couldn’t convert.
The second pickoff was by Kevin Abrams with 7:06 to play and gave Syracuse the ball on East Carolina’s 18. Syracuse failed to move the ball on three running plays and on fourth-and-4, McNabb fumbled away the snap.
The Pirates began their comeback following an interception and 25-yard return by Emmanuel McDaniel with 2:55 to go in the first half. The Pirates drove 65 yards in 13 plays, recovering two of their own fumbles and getting a key personal foul call against Abrams that gave them a first-and-goal at the 5.
Crandell, who was 31-of-59, hit Larry Shannon on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 21 seconds left in the half.
East Carolina made it 21-14 on Crandell’s 29-yard scoring pass to Derrek Batson two minutes into the third quarter. Then, after having a drive stall at the Syracuse 11, the Pirates pulled within a point on Scott Richards’ 20-yard touchdown catch with 2:43 to play.
Syracuse linebacker Antwaune Ponds blocked the extra point attempt and Syracuse clung to a 21-20 lead.
Olindo Mare kicked a 24-yard field goal on Syracuse’s ensuing possession for 24-20 lead but East Carolina came right back, moving downfield in seven plays to take go ahead on McPhail’s catch with 13:30 to play.
McNabb got the Orangemen untracked on their second possession, taking an option keeper for 39 yards and then completing a 25-yard pass to Marvin Harrison on third down to give Syracuse a first-and-goal at the East Carolina 5. Two plays later, Malcolm Thomas scored on an 8-yard run.
Syracuse extended its lead to 14-0 with 8:30 left in the half on Tebucky Jones’ 11-yard touchdown run. McNabb kept Syracuse’s scoring drive alive with a 23-yard completion to Scott Mitchem on third-and-18. A late hit on the play by East Carolina put the ball on the Pirates 11.
Less than three minutes later, McNabb threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Deon Maddox.