EditorsNote: adds ranking to hed
Tommy DeVito made his first career start a success by leading three touchdown drives and No. 22 Syracuse blanked host Liberty 24-0 on Saturday night.
After making eight appearances last season while Eric Dungey led Syracuse to a 10-win season, DeVito did enough to help the Orange (1-0) win their sixth straight season opener. He completed 17-of-35 passes for 176 yards and overcame two interceptions.
DeVito led three drives that resulted in rushing touchdowns as the Orange piled up 192 yards on the ground.
Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard scored on short runs before Moe Neal scored from 42 yards out in the fourth quarter.
Neal led the Orange with 89 yards on 14 attempts, Adams finished with 49 yards and Howard had 32 yards.
Neal also was Syracuse’s leading receiver with 54 yards on three catches.
Syracuse scored its other points on a 45-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt late in the opening quarter.
The Orange scored their first TD of the season with 10:33 remaining in the first half when Adams capped a 14-play, 71-yard drive by plunging into the end zone from two yards out on a third down.
Syracuse extended its lead to 17-0 when Howard scored on a second down from one yard out. His touchdown capped a five-play, 37-yard drive that spanned 1:53 and occurred after defensive back Andre Cisco intercepted Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert on a third down.
The Orange punctuated the shutout with 12:35 left in the fourth when Neal converted a fourth down by rumbling up the middle untouched.
Calvert completed 20-of-39 passes for 234 yards but threw two interceptions and was sacked eight times. Antonio Gandy-Golden led all receivers with six receptions for 119 yards.
Playing its first home game against a ranked opponent, Liberty (0-1) finished with minus-4 rushing yards on 34 attempts, converted 3-of-16 third downs and came nowhere close to duplicating its season opener from two years ago when it stunned Baylor 48-45.
—Field Level Media