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(Friday, October 5th)
Final Score: Syracuse 14, Pittsburgh 13
Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) - Dyshawn Davis returned a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown, Brandon Sharpe registered four sacks, and the Syracuse Orange snuck by the Pittsburgh Panthers, 14-13, Friday in their final Big East matchup at the Carrier Dome.
The game marked the final meeting of Syracuse (2-3, 1-0 Big East) and Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-2) as Big East foes, as both teams are slated to move to the ACC next year, where the rivalry will continue.
Although Syracuse gave up 346 yards of total offense in the game, the Orange defense made enough big plays on the night to walk away with a victory, despite their offense not scoring any points after the game's opening drive. Syracuse gave up just 27 yards on the ground and forced the Panthers to go away empty on two occasions when they had scoring opportunities.
The most critical was near the six minute mark in the fourth, with Pittsburgh trailing by one and having moved the ball down to the Syracuse 17-yard line. But on 1st-and-10, Sharpe sacked Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri for a 15- yard loss, and Brandon Reddish followed the next play with another sack for a loss of nine.
After a 3rd-and-long pass from Sunseri fell incomplete, the Panthers were forced to punt from the 41 yard line with 3:13 remaining, and Syracuse was able to lock up the game with a couple first downs on its ensuing possession.
Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib was 19-of-30 for 185 yards through the air -- with no touchdowns and an interception -- and also gained 14 yards on the ground.
Adonis Ameen-Moore scored a touchdown on the ground and Jerome Smith had a team-high 61 rushing yards on 10 carries for Syracuse.
Sunseri threw for 319 yards on 25-of-33 passing with no touchdowns and Ray Graham carried the ball 24 times for 57 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
After a three-and-out by Pitt following the opening kickoff, the Orange took the ball from their own 30 and marched 70 yards downfield for the game's first score, when Ameen-Moore took a handoff up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Orange defense put Syracuse up 14-0 with 1:06 left in the first when Davis recovered a fumble by Pitt tight end Drew Carswell at the Syracuse 48 yard line, going 52 yards back for a score.
In the second, however, the Panthers offense started to work as a unit after coming away empty on their first three possessions of the game.
Down 14, Sunseri led the Panthers downfield to get on the board, ending on a 1-yard plunge by Graham on 3rd-and-goal to make it a 14-7 game with 10:41 to play in the second.
Following a K'Waun Williams interception in the end zone to keep Syracuse from increasing its lead, the Panthers got three more when Kevin Harper connected on a 40-yard field goal to cap a seven-play scoring drive and make it a 14-10 game going into the half.
Both teams locked down on defense to start the second half, with a 27-yard Harper field goal with 1:57 left in the third, cutting Syracuse's lead to 14-13.
10/05 23:28:23 ET
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