The Syracuse Orange was able outlast the Panthers today by the final score of 27-24. Pitt lost several starters throughout the game, including Max Browne in the third quarter. Then Ben DiNucci came in and was able to guide the Panthers to 11 points and draw the Panthers to within 3 points. But it would be a 6 minute drive Pitt’s defense could not fend off that would ultimately end the game for the Panthers. Pitt would get one final shot with :52 seconds left, but it would end with their third string quarterback in the game burning his red shirt.
It was one of those kind of games for Pitt. The Panthers defense was very good in the first half, but in the third quarter their tackling woes would creep in. Throughout much of the game, the Panthers defense was doing a great deal of gang tackling that included more effort trying to strip the ball and create turnovers than tackling. Because of that, the Orange was able to regularly get and extra 3-5 yards in those instances.
Max Browne really only looked comfortable in a couple of series, during some of the others it looked a lot like he was trying to drop passes in to the receivers hands. Instead of just throwing the ball, he was trying to place it and because of it he missed many big opportunities. Then, late in the third quarter, he would get hit and was removed from the game. Afterwards, we found out he would be out for at least a couple of weeks.
DiNucci came in and was generally pretty good. He was able to creat a bit with his legs and completed passes downfield.
The most effective running back for the Panthers today was…. Jordan Whitehead as he ran for 73 yards.
The defense controlled play for most of the first half, but in the second half they began to struggle getting off the field. Syracuse was able to not only run, but connect in the passing game. The Orange took advantage of every miss call and mistake that was made to extend drives. The Panthers pitched in further by going for the strip while the running back or receiver would extend the play for another few yards.
Pitt burned it’s second time out of the half after Max Browne had left the field for injury and then Ben DiNucci had his helmet fall off. When Ben left the field, Coach Narduzzi had two options, send in Kenny Picket and burn his redshirt or call a time out. At the time, the time out made the most sense. But in the end, he had to burn Picket’s red shirt anyways and that loss of time out made it hard for Pitt to stop the clock late in the game to preserve time.
Kenny came on the field and completed a 13 yard pass, but it was not far enough for a first down and time ticked off the clock. The win gave the Orange their first win over Pitt in 5 years and put them at 3-3. Pitt, fell to 2-4 as they move on to an even more difficult opponent.
Scoring Plays: Jordan Whitehead scored on a 53 yard scamper to give the Panthers the first touchdown of the game.
Alex Kessman would connect on a 49, 42, and a 56 yard field goal in the game. The 56 yarder was the longest in Carrier Dome history.
Ollison would ramble for 19 yard run in the fourth for a Pitt TD. That would be followed by a Whitehead 2 point conversion and the Panthers were within 3.
Looking ahead, with injury to Max Browne and suspension to Shawntez Moss the Pitt running back , expect Pat Narduzzi to start the youth movement. Coach Stated after the game that Kenny Picket, who was set to redshirt this year will end up getting playing time. There has been rumblings that he was the QB with the most upside anyways so getting him in sooner rather than later could be a good thing moving forward.