The Syracuse Orange led by Eric Dungey’s 365 passing yards and three total touchdowns held off a late comeback charge by the Pittsburgh Panthers to get their first conference win of the season by the score of 27-24 on Saturday afternoon at the carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. Pitt had previously won 11 of the past 12 meetings between the two schools and haven’t lost to the Orange since both schools joined the ACC in 2013.
Max Browne went 15 for 22 with 161 yards, but left the game in the third quarter due to an arm injury. Ben DiNucci took over and finished 6 for 10 for 55 yards in relief for the Panthers. At 2-4, the Panthers chances at a bowl game took a major hit with three games still to come against ranked conference opponents on the schedule.
Here are some takeaways and observations from Saturday’s loss to Syracuse.
The Panthers totaled 358 total yards but struggled to consistently move the ball on the Orange as their third down woes continue. The Panthers did not convert a third down until 8:40 left in the fourth quarter during their final scoring drive.
The Panthers were 3 for 13 overall on third down, with all the conversions that took place on that drive. The Panthers quarterback play looked as it has the majority of the season — not enough big plays and not efficient enough even though the numbers on paper did not look that bad.
The running game, besides from a 35 yard TD run from Jordan Whitehead and a 19 yard run by Quadree Ellison for a score, was not effective at all. Without those two scoring plays Pitt averaged 3.08 yards per rush on Saturday.
Offensive Player of the game: Rafael Araujo-Lopes
Lopes caught seven passes for 100 yards on Saturday.
The Panthers allowed 500 yards of total offense to the Orange on Saturday, which was bad, but even worse was the undisciplined play with major penalties that contributed to touchdown drives for the Orange. One was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that contributed to a score that tied the game before halftime. The second was a roughing the passer penalty on a 3rd and 10 to extend the drive in the third quarter that led to a Dungey touchdown run to allow Syracuse to take the lead that they would not relinquish.
The Orange ran 91 plays, recorded 26 first downs and controlled the ball for 34 minutes and 42 seconds on Saturday and the Panthers were on their heels all afternoon and the lack of discipline did not help.
Defensive Player of the game: Oluwaseun Idowu
Idowu had nine tackles (five solo) and two sacks on Saturday.
One Other Note
Alex Kessman made a 56 yard field goal which is a Carrier Dome record.
The Panthers will come back to Heinz Field of Saturday to host the North Carolina State Wolfpack.