Penn State quarterback John Shaffer scored one touchdown and came back from a hit that sidelined him to pass for another in leading the Nittany Lions to a 24-20 comeback victory yesterday at mistake-prone Syracuse.

It was the 15th consecutive victory by the sixth-ranked Nittany Lions over Syracuse (2-3), which lost three fumbles and had one pass intercepted.

Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson said, "I don't believe Penn State has us jinxed. They just did what they had to do to beat us.

"This would have been a great win for us. We needed it so badly, they didn't need it. It was just another win for them."

Penn State, which has won all six of its games by a total of 24 points, was outplayed most of the game on the line of scrimmage and had to drive only 19, 26 and 43 yards for its three touchdowns.

The Lions benefited from kick returns by Jim Coates and Michael Timpson for a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Coates ran 78 yards with the opening kickoff, and Timpson took a Syracuse punt back 48 yards.

However, the Orangemen scored 17 points in the second half behind sophomore quarterback Don McPherson, who scrambled 26 yards for one score and passed 44 yards to Mike Siano for another which put Syracuse up, 20-17, with 10:19 to play.

But Syracuse fullback Roland Grimes fumbled, and defensive end Don Graham, who had two sacks and forced another fumble, recovered at the 43. Six plays later, Shaffer threw eight yards to his fullback, David Clark, for the winning touchdown.