SYRACUSE It was far from pretty, but the Syracuse University football team finally snapped its seven-game losing streak.
Ryan Nassib threw three touchdown passes, Ashton Broyld scored his first collegiate touchdown, and the Orange rebounded from a dreadful first-half performance to beat Stony Brook, 28-17, in front of 34,512 fans Saturday evening at the Carrier Dome.
It was the first win for Syracuse (1-2) since it beat West Virginia on Oct. 21 last year.
Its big. Its sad to say that its kind of an unfamiliar feeling, but were glad we got it, Nassib said.
They say we were the best 0-2 team in the country, now were the best 1-2 team in the country, Broyld said. We needed this win. It was very big for us, for our confidence. We know what we have, and we just got to keep putting it together each week.
Syracuses offense, ranked 20th in the nation entering the game, came alive on its final scoring drive to seal the victory.
The team drove 78 yards on five plays in just over two minutes. Nassib connected with his favorite target, fellow redshirt senior Marcus Sales, three times for 71 yards on the drive, including a 19-yard touchdown that put the Orange up 28-17 with just over six minutes left.
My coaches told me to just be patient, the balls would come in bunches. So I was ready, said Sales, who had just two catches prior to that drive.
Until the Orange scored its final touchdown, its largest lead in the game was four. It trailed Stony Brook, a Football Championship Subdivision team, 17-14, at halftime.
Syracuses only lead in the first half lasted for just one minute, 34 seconds.
Nassib, who entered the game with the second-most completions and passing yards in the nation, connected on just six of his 15 pass attempts for 112 yards in the first half. And that included a 61-yard screen pass that Prince-Tyson Gulley took to the end zone on the teams second play from scrimmage to tie the game at seven apiece.
The Syracuse defense allowed 172 rushing yards in the first half, including 139 to Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet.
The Seawolves (2-1) controlled the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half, and outgained the Orange in total offensive yards, 261 to 220.
Through its first three games, Syracuse has been outscored 52-30 in the first half. In the second half, the team is outscoring its opponents 68-49.
Honestly, I dont know what it is. Its my job to find out, Fourth-year coach Doug Marrone said of the slow starts. Were going through a process of eliminating things as we work through the season. But if I had the answer, gosh, I mean, we wouldnt be sitting here talking about it. But were trying to get it.
Stony Brooks offense was shut out in the second half, gaining just 50 yards overall and 45 on the ground.
We came out flat in the second half, the offense, said Maysonet, who finished with 163 yards on 21 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run. Our defense kept us in there and at the end of the day we didnt come out and play the second half, thats why we at the losing end.
Broyld ran in his first career touchdown from 22 yards out to give the Orange its first lead of the game, 14-10, with six minutes left in the second quarter.
The true freshman had his most productive game to date, gaining 61 yards on 10 carries, and 20 yards on a pair of catches.
It felt like I belonged there. I wasnt too surprised, too excited, Broyld said. I was just waiting for it to happen, and today, I was fortunate enough for it to happen.
The Orange was denied at the goal line twice on fourth down.
Early in the fourth quarter, Syracuse ran the ball four straight times, starting at the three-yard line. Running back Jerome Smith, who ran for a career-high 96 yards, was eventually stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the one.
With about 10 minutes left in the third quarter, Nassib and receiver Jarrod West were unable to connect on both the third and fourth down plays from the three-yard line.
Syracuse kicker Ross Krautman missed two field goals, from 38 and 45 yards out.
After his shaky first half, Nassib ended up completing 22-for-35 passes for 335 yards.
Sales finished with 117 yards on five catches. It was his fourth straight 100-yard game, going back to the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl.