SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Ryan Nassib threw a school-record five touchdown passes, and Syracuse pulled away in the second half to beat Maine 38-14 on Saturday night in the Orange's home opener.
Nassib was 19-for-28 for 260 yards as the Orange (2-1) took control in the third quarter just as they did a year ago against Maine (1-2), a member of the Football Championship Subdivision.
Warren Smith scored on a 10-yard run and threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Perrillo for Maine, but he lost two critical fumbles that Syracuse converted into touchdowns. Smith finished 20-for-27 for 127 yards.
This was the seventh straight year the Black Bears played a BCS team. They won 9-7 over Mississippi State in 2004.
The Black Bears led last year's game against Syracuse 17-13 at the half after successfully executing a pair of fake punts and two onside kicks, and seemed set to pull off another stunner for Division I's second tier.
Despite some early trickery and an early lead, Maine was overwhelmed in the decisive third quarter. After playing the Orange dead-even statistically in the first half, the Black Bears failed to gain a first down in the third period, lost 7 yards rushing, and Smith had only 15 yards passing.
Nassib, who hit Cruz for a crucial touchdown on fourth down in the final minute of the first half to give Syracuse its first lead, continued to take advantage of several blown coverages in the secondary by the Maine defense. The mistakes helped offset plenty by the Orange, who were called for 14 penalties for 111 yards.
Nassib hit Lemon all alone at the 2-yard line for a 20-yard score with 5:16 left in the third quarter, then connected for another 20-yard score to Provo in the final minute of the period for a 31-14 lead.
After Chandler Jones forced a fumble by Smith at the start of the final quarter, Nassib hit Chew for a 21-yard score on the next play for the game's final points.
A year ago, Maine tried to beat Syracuse through the air as Smith passed for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Facing a third-and-goal from the Syracuse 10 early in this one, Smith kept it on the ground, scoring untouched on a quarterback draw up the middle for a 7-0 lead with 4:25 left in the first.
Nassib hit a wide-open Lemon in the right corner of the end zone to tie it at 7 early in the second quarter.
The Syracuse defense got a little too fired up when Maine got the ball back. Phillip Thomas was called for a 15-yard penalty for taunting, one of 10 penalties whistled against Syracuse in the sloppy first half. Four plays later, Smith hit a wide-open Perrillo in the left corner of the end zone for a 14-7 lead.
Ross Krautman's 32-yard field goal narrowed the Maine lead to 14-10 and Syracuse struck again in the final minute of the half after Smith lost a fumble at his own 24.
Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 4, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone gambled and, after a pair of timeouts, it paid off when Nassib rolled right and hit a diving Cruz just inside the pylon for a touchdown.
The play was reviewed, and when the ruling on the field was upheld, Maine coach Jack Cosgrove yelled in dismay at the Big East officials calling the game as the Orange left the field with a 17-14 lead.
Will Matt Corral be a top-20 draft pick?
Field Yates and Mel Kiper Jr. discuss Ole Miss' Matt Corral and his potential of being a quarterback in the NFL.
NFL draft order for 2022: First-round picks from 1 to 32, including Jaguars, Lions and Texans in top three
Jacksonville will have back-to-back No. 1 overall picks, while Detroit and Houston follow at the top of Round 1.
Former Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Jermaine Burton transferring to Alabama Crimson Tide
Jermaine Burton, Georgia's second-leading receiver, is switching sides and joining the team the Bulldogs just beat for the national championship.
Grading college football's new coaching hires across the country
Like the carousel itself, the coaching grades are also coming in hot. See how all the latest hires stack up.
Flashback: Timmy Chang's 5 TDs power 2004 Hawai'i Bowl victory
Timmy Chang throws four touchdowns and rushes for another as Hawai'i defeats UAB to win the 2004 Hawai'i Bowl.
Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors hire Timmy Chang as next head football coach
Hawai'i announced Saturday that it has hired Timmy Chang as its next head coach, one day after former Rainbow Warriors coach June Jones turned down the job.