Szmyt’s 5 field goals help Syracuse overcome Virginia 22-20

Sep 23, 2022, 8:07 AM | Updated: 9:31 pm
Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (34) tries to break a tackle by Virginia cornerback Anthony Johns...

Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (34) tries to break a tackle by Virginia cornerback Anthony Johnson during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

(AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

              Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (34) runs with the ball while pressured by Virginia safety Jonas Sanker (20) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
            
              Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) celebrates with tight end Maximilian Mang and wide receiver Damien Alford (82) after scoring against Virginia during the first half of an NCAA football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
            
              Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (34) is tackled by Virginia linebacker Chico Bennett Jr. (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
            
              Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
            
              Syracuse running back Sean Tucker (34) tries to break a tackle by Virginia cornerback Anthony Johnson during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Andre Szmyt knocked in five field goals, including the 31-yard game-winner with just over a minute left, and Syracuse held off Virginia’s second-half comeback to beat the Cavaliers 22-20 on Friday night.

Syracuse led 16-0 at halftime, but Virginia recorded three second-half touchdowns to take a 20-19 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the game. The Orange (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won their first four for the first time since 2018 and got this one despite committing their first four turnovers of the season.

“We’re really fortunate to come out with the win, we’re excited about that,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “The play was not perfect, that’s for sure. But the record is.”

Syracuse drove to the winning field goal with help from a critical facemask penalty on a third-and-7 play from the Syracuse 41 that was called on a sack of Shrader. That moved the ball into Virginia territory and a 12-yard scramble by Shrader after the Cavaliers’ sixth sack moved the Orange into position for the winning kick.

“Once they scored the touchdown, I kind of knew that it might come down to a field goal,” Szmyt said. “And we executed.”

Brennan Armstrong was 19 of 38 for 138 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Lavel Davis Jr. with 5:51 remaining to put Virginia up 20-19.

“In the second half, we were able to find some run game,” Cavaliers coach Tony Elliott said. “We were able to find a couple of plays. Man, Brennan on that last touchdown throw, he had pressure off the edge. He stood in there, set his feet and delivered a strike. Those are the type of plays that we need him to make.”

Syracuse responded with a 62-yard drive to the winning kick and Virginia’s final drive resulted in a turnover on downs.

The matchup reunited two of Syacuse’s first-year assistants, Robert Anae and Jason Beck, with their old squad. Anae and Beck coached at Virginia (2-2, 0-1 ACC) for the past five seasons before joining Dino Babers’ staff this offseason.

“We just all came together,” said Virginia linebacker Chico Bennett Jr., who had two tackles for loss. “They’re a good football program. Coach Anae has coached them well. For us, we’ve got some things to work on. Rushing the passer was one of the big things we needed to do. We left something out on the field, but we’re going to get that back.”

Syracuse started the game strong, with Trebor Pena returning the opening kickoff 57 yards into Virginia territory, and the Orange punching it in five plays later with Garrett Shrader’s 17-yard rushing touchdown.

Virginia kicker Brendan Farrell missed first-quarter field goal attempts from 51 and 49 yards, respectively. The second miss came after the Cavaliers had taken over at the Orange 37-yard line following a Sean Tucker fumble. For the second straight week, Tucker was unable to find many openings, finishing with 60 yards rushing on 21 attempts.

UVA got back in the game early in the second half when Armstrong pitched to Keytaon Thompson at the 1-yard line for a touchdown. The Cavaliers, trailing 16-6, wanted to attempt a 2-point conversion, but an illegal substitution penalty forced them to kick the extra point instead.

Trebor Pena fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, giving UVA possession 13 yards from the end zone. Perris Jones scored two plays later, cutting Syracuse’s lead to three, but the extra point was blocked by Jatius Greer.

Syracuse’s defense forced two turnovers, the first coming late in the first quarter when Armstrong kept a read option to the right side but ran into his own blocker. Syracuse capitalized by taking a 13-0 lead after a Szmyt field goal. He is 9 of 10 on field goal attempts this season.

TARGETING

Virginia linebacker Nick Jackson was ejected for targeting in the third quarter after a hit on Shrader. Jackson entered the game as the team’s leading tackler. Syracuse defensive back Justin Barron was also called for targeting earlier in the half. Alijah Clark, Terry Lockett and Ja’Had Carter all left the game with injuries for Syracuse.

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia: The Cavaliers again struggled offensively, totaling 287 yards and less than 21 points for the third straight game. A year after ranking among the top teams nationally in points per game, Armstrong and Virginia’s offense haven’t been able to match that success under first-year head coach Tony Elliott and offensive coordinator Desmond Kitchings.

Syracuse: Shrader rebounded from a sluggish performance against Purdue, finishing 22 for 33 for 277 passing yards. His go-to target was Oronde Gadsden II, who notched seven catches for 113 yards. Gadsden has emerged over recent games as a key slot receiver, and he recorded another stellar outing after catching the game-winning touchdown with seven seconds left in the game last week.

UP NEXT

Virginia continues its two-game road trip at Duke on Saturday night.

Syracuse hosts Wagner on Saturday afternoon.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Former NFL football quarterback Brett Favre speaks with reporters prior to his induction to ...
Associated Press

Favre asks to be dismissed from Mississippi welfare lawsuit

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre is asking to be removed from a lawsuit by the state of Mississippi that seeks to recover millions of dollars in misspent welfare money that was intended to help some of the poorest people in the U.S. An attorney for Favre filed papers on Monday saying […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Christon scores 15, Grambling downs Dartmouth 73-49

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Cameron Christon’s 15 points helped Grambling defeat Dartmouth 73-49 on Monday night. Christon added seven rebounds for the Tigers (4-3). Virshon Cotton scored 15 points and added five rebounds and three steals. Carte’Are Gordon shot 5 of 12 from the field to finish with 12 points, while adding 11 rebounds. Ryan […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Johnson’s 27 help UC Davis knock off Boston University in OT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ty Johnson’s 27 points helped UC Davis defeat Boston University 81-70 in overtime on Monday. Johnson also had six rebounds for the Aggies (6-2). Robby Beasley III scored 15 points and added 10 rebounds. Christian Anigwe shot 4 of 8 from the field and 2 for 7 from the line to finish […]
17 hours ago
Attendees watch a pre-recorded video during a memorial service in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, N...
Associated Press

Virginia football team to attend 3rd funeral in 5 days

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s football team will travel to its third funeral in five days Wednesday to honor the life of Lavel Davis Jr., who was fatally shot on a bus along with two teammates after they returned to campus from a field trip. Davis, 20, and teammates D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were […]
17 hours ago
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson stands on the field during an NFL football practice at ...
Associated Press

Texans brace for Deshaun Watson’s return with Browns

HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson was a star with the Houston Texans. Then he became disgruntled and later disgraced. After sitting out an entire season, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns. There, he has missed most of another as punishment amid sexual misconduct allegations. Come Sunday, he’ll be back in H-Town, taking snaps in […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Security and police break up a scuffle between players from Michigan and Michigan State foot...
Associated Press

Big Ten fines MSU $100K, reprimands Mich for tunnel melee

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The Big Ten has disciplined Michigan State and Michigan for their roles in stadium tunnel altercations that led to seven Spartans being charged with crimes. The conference announced Monday that it is fining Michigan State $100,000 for its football players “hitting, kicking or using of their helmet” to hit Michigan […]
17 hours ago
Szmyt’s 5 field goals help Syracuse overcome Virginia 22-20