Frustrated by Maryland's defense most of the game, Syracuse turned to the pass for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the last 6 1/2 minutes, and with 16 seconds to play tied the Terrapins, 17-17, before 32,000 yesterday at Byrd Stadium.
Maryland led, 17-9, with 2:04 left. But Syracuse quarterback Dave Warner, who completed 23 to 36 passes for 250 yards and two touchdown to Willie Sydnor, pulling the Orangemen to 17-15. Warner then completed the conversion pass to tight end Marty Chalk, forcing Maryland's first tie since a 10-10 game against Kentucky in 1975. The Terps are 1-2-1, Syracuse 1-3-1.
Warner passed for 157 yards in the fourth quarter, completing eight straight in that last, 71-yard drive, as Syracuse rallied from a 17-3 deficit that quarter. Warner completed six of nine passes in the first half for a Syracuse team that had averaged only 20 passes a game this season.
Sydnor, with nine catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, was recruited twice, unsuccessfully, by Maryland. His performance offset that of Terrapin tailback Charlie Wysocki, who carried 39 times for 172 yards in his return to the lineup after missing two weeks with a sprained right ankle.
Warner made a major adjustment in the fourth quarter. He prfers to sprint out of the pocket to give himself a running option whenever possible. But the Syracuse coaches told him to stay in the pocket so his receivers would have time to complete their routes.
"Those last two drives came down to staying in the pocket and waiting for my receivers to clear," Warner said. "It paid off." He threw long, short and underneath, constantly confusing the Terrapin defenders.
Part of the confusion was caused by sydnor changing sides of the field much of the afternoon. On the last touchdown play, he lined up on the side of the field nearest the Maryland bench and ran several yards into the end zone before cutting to the middle, where Warner found him between three defenders. Cornerbacks Dave Taylor and Lendell Jones said they were not sure who was supposed to cover Sydnor in the man-for-man coverage.
On the two-point conversion, Chalk ran down the sideline, cut to the flag and was wide open when he caught the ball.
"We made some big mistakes on the wrong downs," said Taylor. "We missed some assignments and some tackles. We were too loose on the coverage too."
Coach Jerry Claiborne and most of his players treated the outcome as a defeat.
"I was very disappointed in the way they moved the football on us in those last two drives," Clairborne said. "We tried blitzing, we tried it all. We just didn't make the big play when we needed it."
The Maryland defense held Joe Morris, Syracuse's all-time leading rusher, to 38 yards, and only one yard on four carries in the second half. The Orangemen gained 30 yards rushing and 47 passing in the first half, and were forced to punt 10 of the first 11 times they had the ball. Syracuse did not advance beyond midfield on its own until the fourth quarter.
The Terrapins scored their last points with 10:28 left in the third quarter when quarterback Norman (Boomer) Esiason passed nine yards to Mike Lewis for a touchdown, then the two-point conversion. The latter pass was tipped three times before it fell into the hands of Lewis. Wysocki, on that drive, carried nine of the 12 plays for 56 yards.
Maryland had built a 9-3 halftime lead on Jesse Atkinson's 42-yard field goal and Esiason's 69-yard touchdown pass to Russell Davis. Gary Anderson kicked a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter for Syracuse.
When Terrapin punter Steve Adams kicked 66 yards to the Syracuse 10 with 9:16 to play, Maryland appeared headed for its second straight victory. Warner had other ideas, however.
He passed 19 yards to Sydnor to the 29, then to Paul Zambuto for 28 yards to the Maryland 43. Sydnor caught a pass at the 32, then Warner ran 19 yards on a broken play before Taylor tackled him at the 13. Morris gained a yard on first down before Warner threw to a sliding Sydnor, completing a 90-yard drive.
Warner was stopped short of the goal line when he tried to run for a two-point conversion, keeping Maryland ahead, 17-9, with 6:25 left.
The Terrapins tried to run out the clock, as Wysocki carried five times for 23 yards. But on third and seven from the 34, Esiason was tackled short of the first down.
On fourth and two, Atkinson, who already had missed on an extra point and a 36-yard field goal kick, was wide right from 47 yards with 2:04 remaining. Atkinson had two field goal kicks blocked in last week's victory over North Carolina State.
After syracuse tied, Maryland's Lewis returned the kickoff 33 yards to the Terrapin 35. On first down, Esiason threw long to tight end Bill Pugh, who had dropped a pass in the end zone earlier. Pugh had beaten cornerback Ron Hobby, but near the Syracuse 20 free safety Derek