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Syracuse moved to 2-1 in Empire play with a 34-32 win over Iona Saturday in Syracuse. The Orange trailed most of the game, but stole the lead around the 77th minute with a long-range penalty. The kick was made by English freshman flyhalf Alex Hodgkinson.

“He kicks the ball pretty well both tactically and as far as scoring,” said Syracuse coach Bob Wilson of Hodgkinson. “It’s really an added dimension to our game in terms of tactical kicking and scoring points. That’s really been helpful for us.”

Iona took its biggest lead, 27-17, in the second half, when Hodgkinson started putting the ball in Iona’s end with his boot.

“We played well in the last 20 minutes,” said Wilson. “We had enough in the tank playing physically. We got some turnovers, were tackling hard and created some counter attack opportunities close to their line and that really was what got us back into the game.”

Syracuse struggled through a tough season last year, but are now on pace to contend for a league title.

“I think the difference is most of our lads are a year older. We were playing with freshmen and sophomores last year, and now the sophomores are juniors. The maturation is helpful.”

Syracuse’s John Wilson, a Xavier High School grad, led the Empire in tries coming into Saturday and dotted one down against Iona, giving him at least one try per game this season.