AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) -- Anthony Smith blocked two straight punts in
the second quarter, scoring off the first and setting up another
touchdown with the second, and Syracuse overcame a shaky start to
beat Buffalo 37-17 on Saturday night.
The Bulls (0-2) coming off their second consecutive 1-11 season
and regarded as one of the worst teams in Division I-A, had
Syracuse (1-1) reeling early and were threatening to hang a defeat
on the Orange that would have made last week's season-opening 51-0
loss at Purdue an afterthought.
Instead, after J.J. Gibson returned a fumble by Syracuse
fullback Greg Hanoian 57 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulls a
shocking 10-3 lead early in the second quarter, the Orange defense
clamped down and led a 24-point surge before halftime.
That spoiled the night for a school-record-crowd of 29,013, just
short of capacity at Buffalo Stadium, who turned out hoping for an
upset over the most high-profile team to visit Buffalo in the
school's modern era.
And it was Smith who led the way. With the Bulls pinned back at
their 10, he took advantage of a bad snap, blocked a punt by Ben
Woods near the goal line, and then pounced on the ball in the end
zone for a touchdown.
Buffalo was unable to gain a first down after the ensuing
kickoff, and Smith rose to the occasion again, making a diving
block of another Woods punt. This time, Kellen Pruitt caught the
ball and returned it 13 yards to the 1.
It was the fourth career block for Smith, one off the school
record held by David Tyree, and marked the first time a Syracuse
player had blocked two kicks in a game since Michael Dresner
blocked two punts against West Virginia in 1996.
After getting tackled for a loss on first down, Walter Reyes
scored on a 3-yard run to put Syracuse ahead 17-10 with 7:14 left
in the second quarter.
Reyes, touted for the Heisman Trophy after gaining 1,347 yards
scoring 21 TDs last year, finished with only 59 yards on 17
carries, his second subpar game in a row. Still, he moved past
Floyd Little into fourth place on the school's career rushing list
After the Bulls went three-and-out, Damien Rhodes scored on a
nifty 46-yard up the middle, the longest run of his career. A
38-yard field goal by Collin Barber gave Syracuse a 27-10 halftime
Kelvin Smith returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown
midway through the third to give Syracuse a 37-10 lead.
Buffalo linebacker Ollice Ervine recovered a fumble in the end
zone by Syracuse quarterback Xzavier Gaines with 4:21 left for the
game's final points.
Prior to the game, former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce
Jenner jogged around the field carrying an American flag and
country singer Lee Ann Womack sang the national anthem to
commemorate the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist
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