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Top 10 games of 2009: No. 10

1/7/2010

There is one more game left in the college football season. But other than tonight's BCS title game, it's going to be a long, cold winter.

So I thought I'd start taking a look back at the best games of 2009 in the Big East so we can relive the top moments of this football season. The rankings are based on entertainment value, drama, level of play and impact. I'd also like to hear your memories of each game. So let's get started.

No. 10

Syracuse 37, Northwestern 34, Sept. 19, at the Carrier Dome.

Why this one: This game had a little bit of everything. Syracuse jumped out to a 17-0 lead after the first quarter, only to watch Northwestern score 21 straight points.

The teams combined for 937 total yards -- most of them through the air -- and five turnovers. Northwestern missed a key extra point in the fourth quarter, and Syracuse tied it up on a Greg Paulus pass to Mike Williams with six minutes to go. Then, after a Mike Kafka interception, the Orange won the game on a Ryan Lichtenstein field goal as time expired.

What it meant: It was Doug Marrone's first win as Syracuse coach after the Orange had played well but lost to Minnesota and Penn State. This win showed that this wouldn't be the same old losing program it was under Greg Robinson, and that Paulus could be a competent quarterback.

Player of the game: Paulus threw for 346 yards, but the best player on the field was Williams, who hauled in 11 catches for 209 yards and two scores.

Play of the game: Max Suter's interception of Kafka and return to the Northwestern 39 to set up the winning field goal. The Wildcats were driving for their own possible winning score before that pick.

Memorable quote: "It was a completely mind-numbing experience," kicker Ryan Lichtenstein, a true freshman walk-on, told the Syracuse Post-Standard. "I don't have much recollection of what went on. It was completely unbelievable."