SYRACUSE Paul Pasqualoni was booed by 36,715 fans as he ran onto the field with his Connecticut Huskies on Friday night in the Carrier Dome.
Things didnt get much better after that for the former Syracuse Orange head coach of 14 years.
Syracuse finished without a turnover for the first time all year, and held Connecticut to its worst rushing performance as a Football Bowl Subdivision team in its 40-10 Big East victory.
It was Syracuses first win in the series since 2006. The Orange improved to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Syracuse finished plus-two in the turnover margin, one better than it did in its first victory of the season over Stony Brook. It was even in the category against Pittsburgh, its only other win before Friday night. Syracuse was in the minus column in all four of its losses.
When you say no turnovers, we had three fumbles. Thats a concern, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said. That ball was still on the ground three times.
The Huskies, who dropped to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in the conference, finished with minus six yards rushing. It was the third-lowest rushing total by an FBS team this season.
Our front seven did a wonderful job of getting push back there, said Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge, who forced a second-quarter fumble. And when they did get a little crease up there, we came up and made plays.
The Connecticut defense, ranked sixth in the nation entering the game, had its worst performance of the season. It allowed a season high in points, and allowed 502 yards of total offense.
Ryan Nassibs 68-yard pass to Alec Lemon on Syracuses opening drive of the second half was the longest play from scrimmage against the Huskies all year, the longest play for Syracuse this season, and the longest of Lemons career.
The big play set up a Prince-Tyson Gulley two-yard touchdown run that gave the Orange a 27-10 lead after the extra point, less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Nassib completed 14 of 20 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns before taking a seat early in the fourth quarter.
Lemon, the programs career leader in receptions, finished with eight catches for 166 yards and his first touchdown of the season, which put Syracuse up 37-10 in the third quarter. Three of Lemons six career 100-yard games have come against the Huskies.
I used to want to go to UConn and never got the chance to go to UConn, so maybe I wanted some payback, Lemon said. I dont know, I guess I just have UConns number.
Pasqualoni served as the Oranges head coach from 1991-2004. He finished with a record of 107-59-1, won four Big East titles and led Syracuse to nine bowl games.
The people were great, the people were awfully nice, Pasqualoni said. We just felt we couldve done a lot better tonight. Weve played a lot of years of football and it was good to be here tonight. The Dome is a good venue, a great place to play.
Syracuse running back Jerome Smith set his career high in rushing yards with over nine minutes to play in the third quarter. He finished with 133 yards on 19 carries. The Orange ran for 251 yards as a team on a season-high 53 attempts. It was the highest rushing total against the Huskies this season.
We had some good runs and we just kept doing it, kept working, Syracuse left tackle Justin Push said. Why stop it if its working good?
Syracuse caused its first turnover when Eskridge drilled Connecticut quarterback Chandler Whitmer as he dropped back to pass, causing a fumble. Syracuse took over at the Connecticut 44-yard line, and Adonis Ameen-Moore eventually scored on a one-yard touchdown run to put the Orange up 13-3 after the extra point.
Syracuse seemed to cause a fumble in the same fashion on the previous play, though it was DyShawn Davis providing the big hit on Whitmer. The called fumble was reviewed and overturned.
They called the blitz for me, and I said, Im going to make up for DyShawn. And thats what I did, Eskridge said.
Freshman running back Ashton Broyld got on the field for the first time since losing a fumble against Minnesota on Sept. 22. He finished with 11 carries for 63 yards, and more importantly, secured the ball as he ran the clock out in the fourth quarter.
Senior Marcus Sales was held without a catch, snapping a 10-game streak dating back to 2010.
Junior tight end Beckett Wales scored his first career touchdown on a play-action pass from three yards out that gave Syracuse a 20-10 lead with just over a minute left in the second quarter.
Syracuse has a 7 p.m. game next Saturday against South Florida at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.