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Lemon has huge night, Syracuse beats UConn 40-10

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Lemon has huge night, Syracuse beats UConn 40-10

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Alec Lemon had eight catches for 166 yards to help set up three touchdowns, caught an 11-yard scoring pass, and Syracuse beat Connecticut 40-10 on Friday night to spoil Huskies coach Paul Pasqualoni's return nearly eight years after he was fired by the Orange.

A loss for Syracuse (3-4, 2-1 Big East) not only would have been embarrassing, it would have made reaching a bowl game a daunting task with five games left. The Orange snapped a five-game losing streak against UConn (3-5, 0-3).

The Syracuse defense repeatedly pressured quarterback Chandler Whitmer, stuffed the Connecticut run game, finally created a turnover that led to a score, and Lemon was unstoppable. He had receptions of 41 yards and a career-long 68 yards to set up scores late in the second period and on the first possession of the third to help break open the game, then caught a short one over the middle as the Orange wreaked havoc on both sides of the ball.

Jerome Smith finished with a career-high 133 yards rushing on 19 carries, Ryan Nassib was 14 of 20 for 251 yards passing, and Ross Krautman kicked four field goals as the Orange racked up 502 yards offensively and did not commit a turnover.

Connecticut, outscored 17-0 in the third quarter, finished with 6 yards rushing on 18 carries, while Whitmer was 23 of 41 for 296 yards and one touchdown and an interception - in the final minute. The Huskies converted only 3 of 13 third downs.

Pasqualoni's departure after the 2004 season at Syracuse was awkward at best. His firing came only three weeks after Chancellor Nancy Cantor had given him a public vote of confidence to return for the final year of his contract. That was before a 51-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl to end the 2004 season.

New athletic director Daryl Gross, on the job less than two weeks, quickly decided a change was needed and Pasqualoni was fired after 14 seasons. He left as the second-winningest coach in Syracuse history with a 107-59-1 record, behind only Ben Schwartzwalder's 153 victories.

On this night, Coach P, who beat his old team a year ago at home, was seeking his 150th victory as a college coach. The Orange weren't about to play sentimental with his Huskies.

In its first six games, Syracuse committed 15 turnovers and gained only five, giving it one of the worst turnover margins in the nation.

After Rutgers nabbed four turnovers and turned a blocked field goal into a touchdown in a 23-15 win over Syracuse last Saturday, the Orange focused during practice this week on creating some of their own, and the hard work paid off in the second quarter.

Free safety Durell Eskridge blitzed, forcing a fumble by Whitmer, and Cameron Lynch recovered for the Orange near midfield. It was the 17th turnover of the season for the Huskies and the Orange capitalized.

Nassib converted two critical third-down passes to keep the ensuing drive alive, hitting tight end Beckett Wales for 18 yards over the middle and Lemon for 17 yards in traffic.

That set up a first-and-goal at the 10, and Adonis Ameen-Moore scored on fourth-and-inches for a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Huskies finally got untracked just before halftime. Whitmer hit Michael Smith for 18 yards on a slant and followed with a 23-yard completion to Shakim Phillips. After a pass-interference call against the Orange, Whitmer ran right, then turned and hit tight end Ryan Griffin all alone on the left side for a 32-yard score to make it 13-10 with 3:39 left, a play reminiscent of bygone days in the Carrier Dome.

Pasqualoni and offensive coordinator George DeLeone, together again at UConn, created one of the most memorable plays in Syracuse history when they ran the Orange offense. Donovan McNabb threw the same pass to tight end Stephen Brominski on the last play of the game to beat Virginia Tech 28-26 in 1998.

Undaunted, Syracuse drove 77 yards for another touchdown, keyed by Lemon's brilliant 41-yard catch and run to the UConn 2. Nassib then rolled right and hit Wales for a 3-yard score and a 20-10 halftime lead.

Syracuse put the game out of reach in the third. After Lemon's 68-yard reception put the ball at the 2, Prince-Tyson Gulley scored on a 3-yard run.

Krautman kicked a 42-yard field goal, his third of the game, for a 30-10 lead midway through the period, and Lemon capped his brilliant night with an 11-yard reception over the middle with 2 minutes left in the period.

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Ravens' Jimmy Smith suspended for multiple games without pay

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Ravens' Jimmy Smith suspended for multiple games without pay

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith has been suspended for four games without pay for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

The suspension, announced Tuesday, stems from Smith's behavior toward his ex-girlfriend.

The Ravens released a statement that in part read: "The Ravens fully support the NFL's decision. The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotionally abusive behaviors by Jimmy toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct. Our player's behavior was inappropriate and wrong."

The suspension will take effect after the final mandated roster cuts on Sept. 1 and extend through Baltimore's game at Pittsburgh on Sept. 30.

Smith, in a statement issued by the Ravens, said: "I promise that I have already learned much and will continue to learn more from this experience. ... I take full responsibility for my past conduct."

Smith will be allowed to participate in all of the Ravens' preseason activities, including games. The 30-year-old is one of Baltimore's best defensive backs.

The team said it reviewed the case to decide whether to keep Smith on the roster.

"We convened a group of Ravens women and men executives, not directly involved with our football operations, to review the matter. We also engaged in conversations with Jimmy about his past behavior and his intention to change," the statement said.

"Additionally, it is our understanding that following a long-running and difficult custody dispute with his former girlfriend and mother of his son, Jimmy has resolved his custody and support issues."

As a result, the Ravens will allow Smith to return after his suspension.

"Jimmy has acknowledged his behaviors were wrong and accepts full responsibility for them. He has completed a clinical evaluation and has agreed to undertake any follow-up care or treatment that may be recommended. ... Jimmy has assured us that he is fully dedicated to making this change. He also understands the consequences if he does not."

Smith has played seven seasons for Baltimore since being drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft. He started in 12 games last season before an Achilles tendon injury forced him to miss the team's final four games. During those four weeks, he chose to accept an NFL suspension for using performance enhancers.

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Two other Redskins RBs intend to learn whatever they can from Adrian Peterson

Two other Redskins RBs intend to learn whatever they can from Adrian Peterson

A few weeks ago, running backs coach Randy Jordan floated a hypothetical out to his unit: If you could start a franchise with any guy, who would you pick?

Rob Kelley's answer was Adrian Peterson. And as fate would have it, Peterson is now a part of Kelley's franchise, a fact that has the third-year back floored. 

"I was kind of amazed," Kelley said on Tuesday, which was Peterson's first day as a 'Skin. "I have a opportunity to play with Adrian Peterson, it feels surreal."

Kapri Bibbs' reaction was much of the same.

"It's amazing having him in the building," he told reporters. "I couldn't hope for anything better."

Samaje Perine wasn't in a position to speak to the media by the time the locker room was closed, but at least in the eyes of Kelley and Bibbs, Peterson's arrival is something to embrace. It's not too often you get to go through drills and meetings with a guy who's going to have a bust in Canton sometime soon.

"I don't think there really is a cap to that," Bibbs answered when asked what he's hoping to pick up from Washington's new No. 26. "There's not too much you can learn from him."

"I got him here, what can I learn from him?" Kelley said in reponse to a similar question. "What can I gain from this situation? How can I make myself a better player by watching him?"

Bibbs revealed that Peterson is already "spilling information" to him, which lines up with Peterson saying at the podium in Ashburn he wants to come in and be a positive influence on the rest of the group.

However, Peterson also said in his presser that he "without a doubt" wants to be the starter, and if that does eventually happen, it'll come at the expense of someone else's spot on the roster or someone else's reps in a game, whether that be a Kelley, a Bibbs or a Perine.

That's not something that bothers two of the options already in the Burgundy and Gold's backfield, though.

"I'm always gonna come in every single day, regardless," Bibbs said when Peterson's resume and talents were brought up as something that could pressure him.

Kelley isn't stressed, either.

"Right now, I'm just putting my head down and working and trying to get better."

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