UConn At Syracuse

Chandler Whitmer is sacked by Syracuse defensive end Markus Pierce-Brewster in the second quarter. (Patrick Raycraft, Hartford Courant / October 19, 2012)

Wow. Just … wow.

Who knew Syracuse was this good?

Who knew the UConn defense could be this bad?

The answers aren't nearly as important as the bottom line: Syracuse crushed UConn 40-10 before 36,715 at the Carrier Dome on Friday night.

"I felt like we had a good week of practice," coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "I thought we had a good week of preparation; thought we were ready to play. We just did not play nearly well enough on either side of the ball."

There are more gruesome numbers: UConn is 0-3 in the Big East for the first time since 2006. It has lost three in a row for the first time since 2009. It slipped to 6-24 on the road in conference play and 25-33 overall in conference play since joining the league in 2004.

All those things are important to mention because it doesn't show progress for a program that desperately needs to show progress, one that was in the BCS just two years ago.

UConn falls to 3-5 overall; Syracuse improves to 3-4, 2-1.

And the game wasn't as close as the score indicated, if that's possible.

The offense has had problems all season, so it's no surprise that it turned in one of its worst rushing performances since joining the FBS. Its all-time low in rushing had been 12 yards against West Virginia in 2005, but Friday the Huskies finished with minus-6.

The defense was the most disappointing unit on the field Friday night. The challenge was between it and the Syracuse offense.

Guess which one won?

Hint: Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib was 14 of 20 for 251 yards and two touchdowns including an 11-yarder to wide receiver Alec Lemon in the third quarter, boosting the Orange lead to 37-10. Hint: The Orange had 13-10 lead in the second quarter and went on to score 24 points in about 15 minutes. Hint: The Orange were 8 of 15 on third down. Hint: The Orange rang up 502 yards (the most UConn as allowed to anyone this season) to UConn's 290.

"We were down 13-10, on the road, stop the initial burst, the crowd is not as into the game and you think things are going to start going our way," senior captain and receiver Nick Williams said. "Then it seems like we couldn't stay on the field, and they stayed on the field. Once they got up by a two-possession game, they effectively ran the ball for first downs and brought some pressure on us knowing we were in passing situations, and it just started steamrolling after that. We lost the game by 30 points, so obviously there will be a lot of corrections. "

Syracuse put the game away with 10 quick points in third quarter.

Lemon caught a pass and outraced the defense until he was brought down at the UConn 4 and a gain of 68 yards. Jerome Smith covered the final yards for a 27-10 Syracuse lead and Ross Krautman's third field goal, a 42-yarder, pretty much put the game away.

The rout, however, had already started.

Syracuse took a 20-10 lead at halftime with a sting of scores late and just after the Huskies pulled to within a field goal.

Orange tight end Beckett Wales hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass with 2:20 left in the half. The drive, against one of the best defenses in the nation when it needed to be strong, covered seven plays and 77 yards.

The key, also uncharacteristic, was a 41-yard reception to Lemon, who dragged UConn safety Byron Jones about 20-25 yards to the UConn 2.