Greg Paulus' second senior day turned out to be maybe the most memorable of his brief college football career.
Paulus had 142 yards passing and Syracuse earned its first conference victory of the season with a 31-13 upset of No. 25 Rutgers on Saturday.
"To go out and win like this is something that we are all going to remember and be very proud of the effort we put forth," said Paulus, who played four years of basketball for Duke before returning home to play a season of football for Syracuse.
The Orange (4-7, 1-5 Big East) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Antwon Bailey scored on a 14-yard run and Delone Carter added a 5-yard run.
Syracuse outgained Rutgers 259 to 82 in the first half. Syracuse sacked freshman Tom Savage five times in the half, two of which came in the final drive for the Scarlet Knights (7-3, 2-3), which had won four straight against the Orange and five of six meetings.
Rutgers moved into the Top 25 last week after its best performance of the season, a 31-0 victory against South Florida. The Scarlet Knights followed it up with their worst game of the season.
"We didn't coach very well, we didn't play very well," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We didn't play like a team that was ready to play a Big East football game."
Savage was 7 for 17 for 66 yards and was sacked nine times in the game, which ties the school record for Syracuse.
"They blitzed all over the place," Savage said. "We thought we had it adjusted and they blitzed to the other side."
That was the gameplan for Syracuse.
"We just wanted to keep the pressure on him. We didn't want to let up," Orange linebacker Doug Hogue said. "Going into the game, we wanted to make sure the quarterback knew we were going to bring it."
Syracuse added another touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a 60-yard run by Averin Collier.
The Scarlet Knights were outgained 424-130 for the game and had the ball for only 19:59.
Paulus was 13 of 16 for 142 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Carl Cutler in the second quarter for the Orange's third touchdown to make it 21-2.
"The game plan was great. We did a great job converting third downs, not making any penalties," Paulus said. "We had a great mix of runs and passes."
Syracuse's defense started strong with an interception by safety Mike Holmes on Rutgers' first drive. The Orange took advantage of the turnover and used Carter's TD run to make to 14-0. Carter finished with 67 yards rushing.
"We were ready in our scheme to use all of our backs," Carter said. "They really didn't know where we were going."
Late in the second quarter, Rutgers was driving and had a first-and-10 at the Syracuse 14. Linebacker E.J. Carter sacked Savage for a 12-yard loss. Syracuse added two sacks and two penalties on Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights faced third-and-45. The drive led to a missed 46-yard field-goal attempt by San San Te.
"That was fun, being able to push them back. It was a testament to the guys up front," Holmes said. "He (Savage) was not able to sit back in the pocket comfortably and throw the ball downfield without it being contested."
Tim Brown caught a 38-yard TD pass from Mohamed Sanu in the second quarter for Rutgers to make it 21-10 after a 2-point conversion. Te added a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Rutgers.
Ryan Lichtenstein kicked a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Orange a 24-10 lead at the half.
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone was pleased with the win over a ranked team and a conference opponent.
"(It's) a very good win for our team and our program, beating a Top 25 team," Marrone said. "Rutgers is a good football team and we did a nice job today."