MINNEAPOLIS -- Alec Lemon became the Syracuse career leaders in receptions but hls performance was not enough as Minnesota won 17-10 in front of a sold-out crowd of 40,805 at TCF Bank Stadium Saturday night.
Lemon had four first-half receptions to pass Shelby Hill and Scott Schwedes, who had shared the record with 139 catches. He finished with nine catches for 106 yards and upped his career total to 145.
Minnesota used two long drives to earn its two touchdowns. The Gophers went 58 yards on five plays in the first quarter to open the scoring. The march featured a 40-yard pass from Max Shortell to Devin Crawford-Tufts. The surge was capped by a two-yard run by Donnell Kirkwood and the hosts moved ahead 7-0 after the ensuing extra point.
A 33-yard field goal by Ross Krautman near the end of the first period narrowed Minnesota's advantage to 7-3 and the score has stood up through two quarters at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Orange moved 67 yards on 13 plays to set up Krautman's three-pointer. Quarterback Ryan Nassib was six-of-eight through the air on the drive with three of the receptions by wide receiver Alec Lemon.
After Krautman's kick, Minnesota drove back into Syracuse territory. An 18-yard pass from Shortell to Crawford-Tufts put the Gophers at SU 24 and an interference call on Syracuse presented Minnesota with first and goal at the nine. The Orange defense held and Wettstein missed his second three-pointer of the evening, this time from 26 yards out.
Minnesota was effective on the first drive of the third quarter, moving 87 yards on 12 plays while utilizing 4:47 on the game clock before extending the lead to 14-3. Shortell hit Issac Fruechte on a 34-yard pass and Kirkwood finished off the drive with a one-yard plunge.
Syracuse had two good chances in the thlrd quarter but had drives stopped by turnovers. Nassib was intercepted at the Minnesota three after his arm was hit by a Gopher pass rusher. Later in the period, Ashton Broyld fumbled at the Minnesota 21.
Wettstein added on a 43-yard field goal with 3:20 left in the game to wrap up Minnesota's scoring.
Syracuse fought until the end and managed a touchdown drive as time wore down. Nassib hit Sales on a 14-yard scoring play with :46 seconds left and following Krautman's point-after-touchdown, the Gopher advantage was shaved to 17-10.
The Orange attempted an onside kick but Minnesota recovered and ran out the clock.
Nassib completed 21-of-31 passes for 228 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Jermone Smith led SU rushers with 52 yards on nine attempts. In addition to Lemon's work, Jarrod West had five catches for 56 yards.
Minnesota's Shortell finished 16-of 30 for 231 yards. Kirkwood had 28 carries for 99 yards and both Minnesota touchdowns.
Syracuse has a bye week before returning to action on October 5. The Orange open the BIG EAST Conference portion of the campaign by hosting Pittsburgh at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.