Syracuse, N.Y. • Ryan Nassib threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns, Jerome Smith ran for 144 yards and Syracuse handed No. 11 Louisville its first loss of the season in a 45-26 victory on Saturday.
Playing in the last home game of his career, Nassib directed an offense that gained 524 total yards. He went 15 of 23 and passed Marvin Graves as the school’s career leader in passing yards.
The Orange (5-5, 3-3 Big East) blew the game open with three touchdowns in the second quarter and Louisville (9-1, 4-1) allowed more points than it had in any game this season. Syracuse is a win away from bowl eligibility with road games against Missouri and Temple left.
Teddy Bridgewater completed 36-of-49 passes for 426 and three touchdowns for Louisville, who fell into second place behind Rutgers in the Big East race.
The Orange racked up 339 yards of total offense in the first half while breezing to a 31-13 lead at half. Smith piled up 72 yards of those yards on the ground, and Nassib completed 10 of 17 for 185 yards and two touchdowns to Alec Lemon.
SU gashed Louisville’s defense deepest in the second quarter, especially on the three-play, 63-yard sprint that produced the Orange’s third touchdown of that span.
Prince-Tyson Gulley broke around the right side for a 55-yard touchdown romp to put the Orange up by 21 with 2:13 left in the half. He also had an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Louisville’s John Wallace nailed a 35-yard field goal with 9 seconds left to set the halftime score.
Lemon roamed free through the Cardinals secondary all day, catching nine passes for 176 yards.
The Orange were content to trade scores with the Cardinals in the third. Smith rumbled for a 35-yard touchdown to make it 38-13 with 9:47 left in the third, and Louisville responded with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to Eli Rogers with 1:49 remaining to pull within 38-19.
In the fourth, Nassib hit Lewellyn Coker for a 3-yard scoring pass with 11:14 remaining, and Bridgewater countered with an 8-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker with 8:53 left.