EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Trevor Siemian threw for 259 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, Kain Colter passed for a touchdown and ran for one, and No. 19 Northwestern pounded Syracuse 48-27 on Saturday.
Tony Jones added a personal-best 185 yards receiving and a 47-yard TD, and the Wildcats (2-0) racked up 581 yards in all. They also intercepted Syracuse’s Drew Allen four times on the way to an easy victory.
They scored the game’s first 20 points and led 34-7 at the half after collecting 387 yards, with their quarterbacks picking apart Syracuse (0-2).
They each completed 11 of 12 passes in the first half, and Colter seemed to be fine after suffering a concussion early in last week’s win at California.
He was 15 of 18 for 116 yards and ran for 87 yards.
Siemian, who carried the load at quarterback last week, was 15 of 19, and Northwestern looked every bit like a team bent on showing it can beat the best of the Big Ten.
The Wildcats have high expectations coming off a 10-win season and their first bowl victory in more than six decades. And with games against Western Michigan and Maine, they have a good chance to go to 4-0 before meeting Ohio State in the conference opener.
Syracuse, coming off a tight loss to Penn State, never had a chance in this one.
The Orange remained winless under new coach Scott Shafer and received another shaky outing from Allen. The Oklahoma transfer was 27 of 41 with 279 yards, and the Orange will now try to pick themselves up against Wagner and Tulane before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play against Clemson.
Siemian had 181 yards and threw for two touchdowns in the first half. Colter was about as good, passing for 96 and a TD while running for 67 and a score.
He led the Wildcats on a four-play, 75-yard scoring drive to start the game, finishing it with an 8-yard pass to Treyvon Green.
Jeff Budzien made it 10-0 with a 32-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the quarter, and Northwestern struck again just over two minutes into the second, with Siemian hitting a wide open Dan Vitale on the right side for a 20-yard TD.
That made it 17-0, and the Wildcats continued to pile it on.
Traveon Henry intercepted Allen near midfield on Syracuse’s next drive while falling into the Northwestern sideline, and Siemian followed with a 43-yard pass to Tony Jones over the middle to set up another field goal.
Syracuse finally scored when Jerome Smith plowed in from the 3 with 6:29 left to make it 20-7, but Northwestern answered with a 75-yard TD drive.
Colter scrambled 33 yards on a third down to keep it going and finished the possession with a 16-yard run, sticking the ball into the end zone as he got hit at the goal line by Brandon Reddish to bump the lead to 27-7 with 2:38 remaining.
Chi Chi Ariguzo then intercepted Allen with about a minute left, leading to a 5-yard strike from Siemian to Christian Jones in the right corner of the end zone with two seconds left for a 27-point halftime lead.
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