Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Syracuse 14, Pitt 13 Chances Run out of Juice Orange Holds off Panthers, Squeeze out Win

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Syracuse 14, Pitt 13 Chances Run out of Juice Orange Holds off Panthers, Squeeze out Win

Article excerpt

SYRACUSE, N.Y. --

During the off week, Pitt coach Paul Chryst said the team's main goal was cleaning up self-inflicted mistakes that cost the Panthers in their first four games. After a loss Friday night to Syracuse, it looks like Chryst's team may have some more work to do.

The Panthers dropped a 14-13 decision to the Orange at Carrier Dome, squandering a couple of late opportunities that could have swung the game.

Pitt battled back after trailing, 14-0, after the first quarter, but couldn't get that final score to complete the comeback.

"I tip my hat to Syracuse," Chryst said. "They made more plays and won the game. I thought it was a physical game."

Trailing by one, the Panthers worked the ball inside the Syracuse 30 twice in the fourth quarter, but both times came away with no points.

On their first drive of the final quarter, a healthy dose of Ray Graham runs worked the ball to the Orange 29, but two penalties and a sack on quarterback Tino Sunseri pushed them back to their 47, forcing a punt.

"We felt like ... we really started getting on a roll there," center Ryan Turnley said. "We knew what they were bringing and we were running the ball a little bit with Ray."

Pitt got the ball back, and Sunseri looked dialed in as he drove the Panthers to the Syracuse 17, but an intentional grounding penalty, followed by a sack off a corner blitz forced the Panthers to punt again.

That would end up being the Panthers' final chance, as Syracuse salted away the final 4:52 on the ground.

"We felt like we were in the right place at the right time and we were able to capitalize, but Syracuse was able to make a play and you have to give them credit," Sunseri said.

Sunseri finished 25 of 33 for 319 yards, his second consecutive 300-yard game.

He was sacked five times, but also hung in the pocket and took some tough hits as he threw.

"You appreciate that, and that's what a quarterback at this level should do," Chryst said.

The Orange, though, completely shut down Pitt's ground attack. The Panthers managed a paltry 27 net rushing yards on 37 attempts, an average of 0.7 yards per carry. With freshman Rushel Shell limited due to injury, Ray Graham ran for 64 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. …

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