Syracuse holds off Pittsburgh
With his two favorite weapons held in check for much of the game, Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey took matters into his own hands Saturday as the Orange outlasted the Pittsburgh Panthers 27-24 on Saturday on homecoming weekend at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
After scoring on just one of their first seven possessions, the Orange scored on their next four to end the first half and start the second. Dungey threw two touchdown passes and ran for another during that stretch as the Orange (3-3, 1-1 ACC) overcame 10-3 and 13-10 deficits against the Panthers (2-4, 0-2).
Panthers quarterback Max Browne exited the game with an injury midway through the third quarter. Browne, who entered the game ranked 10th in the nation in completion percentage (71.7), completed 15 of 22 passes for 161 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He left the game with the Panthers trailing 17-13.
Orange wide receivers Steve Ishmael (10.2) and Erv Phillips (8.8) entered the game ranked first and third in the country in receptions per game. The Panthers’ secondary contained them until early in the fourth quarter, when Dungey and Ishmael connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass as Ishmael overcame a pass interference penalty to make the catch in the end zone.
With the Panthers trailing 27-16, backup quarterback Ben DiNucci guided his team on a nine-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by running back Qadree Ollison’s 19-yard touchdown run. Jordan Whitehead ran in for the conversion as Pittsburgh crept within 27-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Dungey’s 20-yard scramble on a third-and-5 play from Pittsburgh’s 34 helped ice the win for the Orange. Dungey, who entered the game ranked among the nation’s leaders in completions (27) and total yards (342.8) per game, completed 33 of 49 passes for 365 yards (his school-record ninth 300-yard game) with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 48 yards and one touchdown.
The Panthers had won 13 of the previous 15 meetings against the Orange, including last year’s record-setting 76-61 slugfest at Pittsburgh. It was the highest scoring game in major college football history.
Pittsburgh went ahead 13-10 early in the second half on Alex Kessman’s 42-yard field goal. But Syracuse responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Dungey’s 10-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw. The Orange converted three third-down plays on the drive and were also aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty on Pittsburgh linebacker Albert Tucker after a third-and-10 pass fell incomplete.
After a three-and-out on the series during which Browne was injured, the Orange drove deep into Panthers’ territory before the drive stalled at the 20. Cole Murphy drilled a 38-yard field goal to boost Syracuse’s lead to 20-13.
With DiNucci leading the way, the Panthers pulled within 20-16 on Kessman’s 56-yard field goal that clanked off the crossbar and bounced through. It’s the longest field goal in the 36-year history of the Carrier Dome.