SYRACUSE, N.Y., OCT. 17 -- It had been 17 years since Syracuse had beaten Penn State, but today the Orangemen may have made up for all those years of frustration in one game.

The 13th-ranked Orangemen (6-0) not only defeated the No. 10 Nittany Lions (5-2), they embarrassed their eastern rivals, 48-21, before a sellout crowd of 50,011 at the Carrier Dome and scouts from the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Fiesta bowls.

One must go back to 1970 to find a Syracuse victory over Penn State. And the Syracuse players relished this victory as long as possible, making a curtain call to talk with their fans on the field after meeting in the locker room.

"It means we're not second-class citizens anymore," said Syracuse offensive tackle Craig Stoeppel. "This is much bigger" than Syracuse's 17-9 victory over No. 1 Nebraska in 1984, said Syracuse senior nose guard Ted Gregory. "This is national television, a top 20 clash."

"Now, the pressure's on us," said Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson. "We're a legitimate team."

Senior Don McPherson had a lot to do with Syracuse's long-awaited victory today, throwing three touchdown passes and running for two more. He passed for 336 yards, breaking the school's single-game record of 329 set by Bill Hurley against Penn State in 1977.

"He's definitely the best we've faced so far," said Penn State tackle Pete Curkendall.

McPherson and his teammates on offense gained 515 total yards against the Nittany Lions, who were playing without several starters on defense.

Injured linebacker Pete Giftopoulos (broken hand) didn't play and linebacker and co-captain Trey Bauer saw limited action because of a pinched nerve in his neck. Starting cornerbacks Gary Wilkerson (academic problems) and Eddie Johnson (hamstring injury) also didn't play. "Obviously, the injuries had an impact," said Nittany Lions defensive back Brian Chizmar. "But it's no excuse. They just came out and whipped us."

Chizmar wasn't exaggerating. The Orangemen led by 27-0 at halftime, and were in front, 41-0, with 8:44 to play in the third quarter.

They stunned the Nittany Lions on the first play of the game, as McPherson disguised the option run and passed 80 yards to redshirt freshman Rob Moore for a touchdown.

McPherson also threw touchdown passes of 27 and 29 yards to Tommy Kane and ran six and 20 yards for two other scores before Penn State got on the board.

"I said to the TV people yesterday the thing I was most concerned about was the bomb," said Penn State Coach Joe Paterno. "He's an excellent passer, and our personnel was shaky. We thought if we didn't stop that we wouldn't be in the ball game. That proved true."

Meanwhile, the Syracuse defense, which was ranked first in the country against the run (63.4 yards per game), held Heisman hopeful Blair Thomas to 42 yards rushing. Thomas had averaged more than 100 yards in the previous four games.

Penn State's Matt Knizner had similar problems against Gregory and Co. Often forced to rush his passes, he overthrew receivers several times and completed only four of 13 passes for 24 yards until he was taken out in the third quarter.

After Moore's touchdown catch on the first play and two field goals by Tim Vesling, McPherson led the offense 41 yards to the Penn State 30-yard line. On the next play, he lofted a pass into the end zone for Kane, who reached in front of defensive back Marques Henderson and made an acrobatic catch to give the Orangemen a 20-0 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first half.

The Orangemen drove 70 yards at the end of the first half to go ahead, 27-0. McPherson ran into the end zone untouched from six yards on an option play.

Michael Owens scored from one yard with nine seconds left. Vesling's kick gave the Orangemen 200 consecutive extra points, breaking the old mark of 199 set by Alabama.

Bauer sounded bitter after the game when asked about the significance of the game for Syracuse.

"Syracuse is 6-0 for the first time since B.C. {before Christ}," he said.

"I think we'll settle down and be a good football team," said Paterno, who rated Syracuse a better team than Alabama. "Obviously, we're not a great football team."

Penn State 0 0 7 14 21 Syracuse 13 14 14 7 48

S -- Moore 80 pass from McPherson (Vesling kick)

S -- FG Vesling 37

S -- FG Vesling 35

S -- Kane 29 pass from McPherson (Vesling kick)

S -- McPherson 6 run (Vesling kick)

S -- Kane 27 pass from McPherson (Vesling kick)

S -- McPherson 20 run (Vesling kick)

PS -- Brown 80 run (Etze kick)

PS -- Shonewolf recovered blocked punt in end zone (Etze kick)

PS -- Roundtree 59 pass from Bill (Etze kick)

S -- Owens 1 run (Vesling kick)

A -- 50,011 Penn St. Syracuse First downs 11 23 Rushes-yards 32-178 48-205 Passing yards 124 341 Return yards 59 30 Passing 8-23-3 17-26-0 Punts-average 6-43 5-39 Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-1 Penalties-yards 1-15 8-44 Time

RUSHING -- PS: Brown 5-94. S: Drummond 11-61.

PASSING -- PS: Bill 4-10-2, 100 yards. S: McPherson 15-20-0, 336.

RECEIVING -- PS: Roundtree 2-72. S: Kane 6-163.