West Va. 35, No. 15 Syracuse 28
Nov. 08, 1998
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) _ Marc Bulger and David Saunders connected on a 43-yard touchdown pass with 3:04 to play Saturday night and West Virginia beat 15th-ranked Syracuse 35-28, knocking the Orangemen out of first place in the Big East.
Amos Zereoue rushed for 189 yards yards and two touchdowns for West Virginia (5-3 overall, 2-2 Big East), which averted its first three-game regular season losing streak since 1994.
Syracuse (5-3, 3-1), which came into the game as the only team without a Big East loss, fell behind idle Virginia Tech (4-1) in the league standings and into a tie for second with Miami. Syracuse plays host to Virginia Tech next week.
Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb ran for one touchdown and passed for three but his final attempt into the end zone with 1:22 left in the game fell incomplete. It was the first time a McNabb-led Syracuse team had lost to West Virginia. The Orangemen had won three previous meetings by a combined 92-17.
It also was the the first time Syracuse had faced a healthy Zereoue, who was hampered by injuries the last two times the teams played.
Trailing 28-20 in the third quarter after McNabb's third touchdown pass, West Virginia tied the game on Zereoue's 4-yard touchdown run and a 2-point pass from Bulger to Pat Greene.
Syracuse had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter but kicker Nate Trout missed field goal attempts of 32 and 34 yards. Syracuse got one last chance when Kevin Johnson returned the kickoff following Saunders' touchdown to the West Virginia 36.
But after driving Syracuse to the West Virginia 16, McNabb threw an incompletion and was sacked before his final throw fell harmlessly in the end zone.
The loss also kept Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni from winning his 100th game.
McNabb was 16-of-29 for 281 yards but was sacked five times by a West Virginia defense that had been tagged most of the season as the Mountaineer's weakest unit. Bulger was 15-of-31 for 257 yards.
McNabb set a Big East career record with 8,023 passing yards, breaking the mark of 7,853 by Boston College's Glen Foley.
McNabb accounted for Syracuse's three first-half touchdowns as the Orangemen took a 21-20 halftime lead. McNabb scored on a 3-yard run and threw second-quarter scoring passes of 41 and 7 yards to Jeff Lowe and Kevin Johnson. The second scoring pass came 33 seconds after West Virginia had taken a 17-14 lead on a 30-yard run by Zereoue.