SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Tommy DeVito passed for a career-high four touchdowns and ran for one score and Syracuse broke a two-game losing streak to defeat Western Michigan 52-33 Saturday.
The Orange (2-2) raced to a 21-0 lead but had to withstand a Western Michigan (2-2) rally as the Broncos closed to 38-33. A 9-yard touchdown catch by Aaron Hackett, who had two scores on a career day of six receptions, extended Syracuse’s margin to 45-33 with under nine minutes to go. Trishton Jackson, who had six receptions for 141 yards, also had two touchdown catches for the Orange. Moe Neal led Syracuse with 123 yards rushing and two scores.
Syracuse had been held to a total of 50 points in its previous three games.
“I thought it was a game of different mood swings, different momentum swings. Felt like one minute we had control of the game and the next thing you know you’re back in a football game,” Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. “Really proud of the offense to kind of come out of their shell and put some points on the board against any defense in college football, but I’m disappointed in the turnovers. Some were unforced, and we have to do a better job if we’re going to be the kind of football team we want to be.”
DeVito was 27 of 35 for 287 yards for Syracuse and picked up 84 yards on the ground, including a 36-yard run. He completed passes to eight different receivers.
“I thought it was cool that he started the game and finished the game with the same number of interceptions (zero),” Babers said. “I thought he had some growth today.”
Jon Wassink was 23 of 46 for the Broncos for 356 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. LeVante Bellamy, who was held in check in the first quarter, finished with 165 yards on just 15 carries before an injury sidelined him in the third quarter. Bellamy, who had 192 yards against Georgia State, had touchdown runs of 47 and 43 yards. Giovanni Ricci had a season-high eight catches for 105 yards.
“Their tailback (Bellamy) is exceptional,” Babers said. “I’m not sure anybody can catch that young man.”
The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards in total offense.
The game, marred by sloppy play, saw 19 penalties for nearly 200 yards and five turnovers, all fumbles. Western Michigan turned it over three times and the teams capitalized for touchdowns on four fumbles.
The game marked a homecoming for Western Michigan coach Tim Lester, who served as Syracuse offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2013-2015.
“Obviously, really disappointed after all the turnovers, the guys were hanging and hanging and by end of third quarter we were in the game,” Lester said. “That was the goal, stay in the game late and make a play in the last couple of drives. The offense had two or three opportunities to score to take the lead and we didn’t. That’s the most frustrating thing. We moved the ball, which I was proud of.”
The Orange, who gained just 15 yards on the ground last week against No.1 Clemson, had 106 yards in the first quarter, led by DeVito’s 63, and finished with 238.
Western Michigan: The Broncos didn’t get down after falling behind 21-0 and put a scare into the Orange. With weapons like Bellamy and Ricci the Broncos will be a tough out.
Syracuse: While they scored 52 points, the Orange failed to capitalize in a couple of red-zone opportunities, which has been a recurring issue this season. Ball security will be stressed in the coming week.
Western Michigan: The Broncos host in-state rival Central Michigan Saturday.
Syracuse: The Orange conclude their three-game home stand Saturday against Holy Cross.