Delone Carter ran for a career-high 172 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead Syracuse past Colgate 42-7 on Saturday.
It was the second straight victory over a team from the Football Championship Subdivision for Syracuse (3-1). The Orange, who beat Maine 38-14 last week, haven't started a season this well since 2003 under former coach Paul Pasqualoni.
It was Syracuse's first meeting against Colgate since a 52-6 Orange win at home in 1987 and its 15th straight win in the series. Syracuse has faced Colgate 66 times, second only to the 70 games the Orange have played against Penn State, and Colgate still holds a a 31-30-5 edge.
Colgate (1-2) had players that could measure up in 6-foot-6, 302-pound left tackle Ryan Risch, 6-foot, 277-pound defensive tackle Greg Kafaf, and 6-1, 283-pound nose tackle Tyler Danielsen. But the Raiders, who do not offer athletic scholarships, were hurt early by penalties and later by the superior athleticism of the Orange.
A week after setting a school record with five touchdown passes, Ryan Nassib was 8-for-15 for 169 yards, one touchdown and one turnover for Syracuse, which finally got its running game in gear after a subpar performance against Maine (66 yards on 32 carries).
Nate Eachus gained 147 yards on 35 carries and scored once, and quarterback Greg Sullivan was 20 of 31 for 146 yards with two interceptions as the Raiders held the ball for nearly 44 minutes overall and gained 376 yards to the Orange's 437.
Colgate coach Dick Biddle figured that for his Raiders to have a chance they would have to keep the ball away from the Orange. They did, and the strategy worked for most of the first half as Eachus carried the load, rushing 20 times for 62 yards.
The Raiders also gambled three times on fourth down in the opening half, converting twice, held the ball for 23:39, and forced a turnover when free safety Mike Barry blindsided Nassib and Kafaf recovered at the Syracuse 20. But Colgate was called for seven penalties for 60 yards in the opening half and that helped disrupt the offense.
Syracuse gambled and lost on fourth-and-goal from the Colgate 4 late in the tight first quarter, but it didn't take long for that gamble to pay off.
The Raiders went three-and-out and Evan Goldszak's punt sailed out of bounds at the Colgate 45 to give Syracuse great field position. Two plays later, Carter scored on a 24-yard run off right tackle for a 7-0 lead.
Still, the Raiders were poised to enter the locker room at halftime in great shape. Then Mike Holmes returned a Colgate punt 22 yards to near midfield with time winding down to give the Orange a big break, and they capitalized quickly.
Nassib hit Van Chew for 6 yards, gained 9 yards on a keeper, and then hit tailback Antwon Bailey with a 10-yard pass over the middle. Bailey turned the throw into a 37-yard touchdown pass, weaving through the middle and somersaulting into the end zone to give Syracuse a 14-0 with 1:48 left in the half.
The Orange rode the momentum to a 28-0 lead in the third quarter behind the running of Carter. On the first possession of the second half, Carter foiled a safety blitz with a 36-yard gain and then scored on a 9-yard run at 13:28.
Colgate took the ensuing kick and an 18-yard run by Eachus helped the Raiders move deep into Syracuse territory. But a 14-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Sullivan to Doug Rosnick was negated after a review by the Big East officials calling the game. They ruled that Rosnick, who had 10 catches for 84 yards, did not have possession of the ball before going out of bounds.
Da'Mon Merkerson's interception at the Orange 32 late in the third set up Carter's third touchdown. Carter gained 45 yards on four carries and then scored on a 12-yard run for a 28-0 lead.
The Raiders finally broke through early in the fourth with a 13-play, 69-yard drive, and another gamble kept the drive alive. Rosnick had an 11-yard catch along the right sideline on a fourth-and-2 play and Eachus scored on a 12-yard run.
On the ensuing possession, Nassib hit Chew in stride with a 48-yard strike and Carter scored on an 18-yard run. Freshman Prince-Tyson Gulley scored on an 8-yard run late in the fourth to complete the rout.
(This version CORRECTS Syracuse 42, Colgate 7. Adds details. Corrects Nassib touchdowns from none to one in fifth paragraph.)