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Nassib, Lemon seal SU’s emotional win

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SYRACUSE — After quarterback Ryan Nassib took the final kneel-down to seal the Syracuse University football team’s 45-26 upset victory over Louisville on Saturday, the first person to greet him was wide receiver Alec Lemon.

The two seniors shared an emotional hug on the big Orange ‘S’ at midfield. It was a fitting final image in the Carrier Dome careers of two players who helped each other become all-time greats at their respective positions.

“Ryan and I, we’ve been through a lot, a lot of ups and downs,” Lemon said. “Just that moment, taking that knee knowing that you sealed the victory, I gave him a big hug and I told him I loved him. And that we’ve been through a lot and I wouldn’t be where I am right now without him, and he spoke the same way. Ryan and I are great friends, and it’s just something special to share that moment with him.”

Before their moment of celebration and reflection, the duo spent the afternoon continuing to re-write the Orange record books.

Lemon caught nine passes to increase his school record for career receptions to 182. He ranks third in school history with 2,271 receiving yards, and with two touchdowns on Saturday, he moved into a tie for the fifth-most career touchdowns with 16.

“Me and Alec, we’ve been through a lot together since we’ve been here,” Nassib said. “We experienced a lot and played a lot of games and being able to go out with a game like he had today, I couldn’t have asked for a better thing for such a good player and such a good teammate.”

Nassib, already the Syracuse career leader in completions, broke the Big East record on Saturday and now has 738 overall. He passed Donovan McNabb for second on the school’s all-time career passing yards list, and with 8.460 yards, is just six shy of passing Marvin Graves for the top spot.

Nassib also set the school’s single-season record for total offense on Saturday, bringing his total to 3,114 on the year.

He ranks second all-time with 65 touchdown passes. His career completion percentage of .604 is the second best in school history, and tops among quarterbacks that started more than one full season.

“As a community, as a University, as a football program, as an athletics program, how can you not be proud of what he has done in the face of adversity? I couldn’t be more proud of Ryan and what he’s accomplished,” Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said, also referencing Nassib’s academic accomplishments and community involvement.

“And it hasn’t been easy for him. I really, really appreciate that as he moves forward and the success he has in the future, he will represent this community and this University the way we would all want him to.”

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