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Top 3 Home Wins in Syracuse Football History Part 2

The Top 3 Syracuse home wins list continues with another blowout. The 27-point victory of Penn State in 1987 earned the third spot on the list. No. 2 goes to a win with a margin almost double the size, with the stakes twice as high.

2. Syracuse Repeats as Big East Champions

The Orange won the Big East Championship in 1996 and 1997. With the same core of Donovan McNabb and Kyle McIntosh returning, the stage was set for another conference title. 

No. 19 Miami, stacked with 11 future pros including All-American Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne, stood in the way of just No. 21 Syracuse’s third Big East Championship. Miami had taken six of the last seven meetings, but the Orange rocked the Hurricanes 66-13 when it counted the most. 

This game will forever be ingrained in the Donovan McNabb highlight reel just as much as the Syracuse history books. It was the quarterback’s final game in the Dome. After starting four years, scoring the most touchdowns in school history with 96 and throwing for 8,389 yards, second only to his predecessor Marvin Graves at the time, it was only fitting that a dominant career ended in domination.

McNabb set the tone with a six play, 82-yard drive, capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass to Steve Johnson. The quarterback’s fellow senior also blew the game open with a 100-yard kickoff return to make it 24-7 at the end of the first quarter. 

From there, McNabb was running downhill. The conference offensive player of the year bursted for a 51 yard touchdown on a QB draw. He finished with three touchdowns on the ground and two in the air. 

Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni pulled McNabb with 11 minutes left for a standing ovation in front of nearly 50,000 fans. 

”This is something I’ll always cherish,” McNabb said. ”It’s something you see on TV — Sammy Sosa or Mark McGwire hitting a home run. I just want everyone to know how much I’ve enjoyed it here.”

There were certainly more competitive games to choose from. Syracuse’s 18-point comeback against Virginia Tech en route to a 28-26 win comes to mind. But the Miami game meant more in the grand scheme of things for the program and McNabb’s legacy.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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