SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Syracuse's Riley Dixon found Kendall Moore in the end zone on a fourth-down fake field goal attempt in double overtime, and after a Villanova touchdown, Robert Welsh stopped John Robertson on the potential game-winning two-point conversion attempt to give the Orange a thrilling 27-26 victory over the Wildcats in the opener at the Carrier Dome on Friday night.
After both teams kicked field goals on their respective possessions in the first overtime, it looked like the Orange would attempt a field goal after Adonis Ameen-Moore was stopped just shy of the goal line on third down in the first possession of the second OT. Dixon, the holder and SU's regular punter, took the snap and rolled left, tossing to the tight end Moore in the left corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Villanova took over needing a touchdown and extra point to force a third OT, and after an incomplete pass and a five-yard run, Robertson found Gary Underwood in the right side of the end zone for the touchdown. Rather than kick the extra point to tie, the Wildcats elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Robertson, the Preseason CAA Player of the Year who finished the game with 115 rushing yards on 34 attempts, looked to keep it himself again, but was quickly greeted by Welsh and a swarming Orange defense to end the game.
The game went to overtime after Villanova's Chris Gough missed wide right on a 25-yard field goal attempt with 12 seconds left in regulation.
Sophomore quarterback Austin Wilson made his debut, going 11-of-17 passing for 89 yards, all in the second half. He entered the game with late in the second quarter after starter Terrel Hunt (10-of-17, 94 yards) was ejected for throwing a punch.
Prince-Tyson Gulley led the way on the ground for the Orange, piling up 100 yards on 11 carrier, highlighted by a first-quarter 65-yard touchdown run for the game's first points. It was the third 100-yard game of his career.
Jarrod West and Ashton Broyld were the Orange's top receivers, each hauling in five passes for 59 and 57 yards, respectively.