Syracuse outlasts Pitt 27-24
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Eric Dungey threw two touchdown passes and ran for another and the Orange defense stymied Pittsburgh's offense on third down as Syracuse held on to beat Pitt 27-24 Saturday.
Syracuse's win was its first over the Panthers in five years and kept Syracuse's bowl hopes alive. Pitt had won 11 of the last 12 in the series and was 4-0 against Syracuse since both teams joined the ACC.
Pitt (2-4, 0-2) didn't record its first third-down conversion until 8:40 to go in the game, finishing 3-of-13.
Dungey was 33-of-49 for 365 yards for Syracuse (3-3, 1-1) and he ran for 48 more for 413 total yards. His 10-yard rushing score, which gave Syracuse a 17-13 lead with 6:59 left in the third quarter, was the ninth in his SU career, tying him with Donovan McNabb and Bill Hurley.
Pitt quarterback Max Browne was 15-of-22 for 161 yards before leaving the game with an apparent arm injury in the third quarter. Backup Ben DiNucci was 6-of-10 for 55 yards for the Panthers (2-4, 0-2).
Cole Murphy's 38-yard field goal extended Syracuse's lead to 20-13. Alex Kessman's 56-yard field goal, a Carrier Dome record, brought Pitt to 20-16, but Dungey hit Steve Ishmael on a 35-yard scoring play to extend Syracuse's lead to 27-16. Pitt made it close on a 19-yard run by Qadree Ollison and two-point conversion with 7:15 to go.
After last year's 76-61 Pitt win -- the highest scoring game in FBS history -- the teams slugged it out in a defensive first half which ended in a 10-10 tie. Pitt didn't get its first down -- on a Syracuse penalty -- until the last play of the first quarter. The Orange defense held the Panthers to three consecutive possessions without a first down in the opening quarter.
The Orange wasn't much better. After an opening drive that led to a Murphy 26-yard field goal, Syracuse struggled mightily throughout much of the first 30 minutes until a 32-yard scoring play from Dungey to Devin Butler with 34 seconds left in the half to tie the game at 10. Pitt had taken a 10-3 lead on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Whitehead and 49-yard field goal by Kessman.
PITT: Pitt's road to a bowl game took a huge hit, with North Carolina State up next. Rafael Araujo-Lopes led the Panthers with seven receptions.
SYRACUSE: Syracuse coach Dino Babers is 36-0 when leading after three quarters. Dungey opened up the passing game, hitting six different receivers, including tight end Ravian Pierce, who had a career-high nine receptions for 99 yards. Dontae Strickland had 81 yards on 25 carries.
PITT: Pitt has a tough home matchup Saturday against the surprising NC State Wolfpack.
SYRACUSE: The Orange begin a back-breaking three-game stretch, hosting Clemson Friday night. Syracuse has road games against Miami and Florida after the Tigers.