Wild first half between Wildcats, Orange

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A very entertaining game between Northwestern and Syracuse so far. The teams have combined for 45 points and a ton of big plays.

Northwestern looked sloppy early on, falling behind 17-0. But the Wildcats scored 21 unanswered points to take the lead as quarterback Mike Kafka completed his first 16 pass attempts and 18 of 19 in the half for 242 yards and two scores. Syracuse answered to go ahead, 24-21.

The Wildcats are extremely banged up on defense, and Greg Paulus has taken advantage. Northwestern is playing without starting middle linebacker Nate Williams, starting corner Sherrick McManis and backup corner Justan Vaughn. Syracuse's Mike Williams is having a field day against the secondary.

Northwestern is also without running backs Stephen Simmpons and Jeravin Matthews, but Kafka has kept the offense afloat.

The team that makes the best halftime adjustments wins this one.