(Saturday, November 7th)
Final Score: (14) Pittsburgh 37, Syracuse 10
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Dion Lewis ran for 110 yards with a touchdown and Bill Stull threw for 225 yards with a score, as 14th-ranked Pittsburgh rolled to a 37-10 victory over Syracuse at Heinz Field.
Lewis averaged 6.1 yards on 18 carries in the freshman's sixth 100-yard performance of the season for Pittsburgh (8-1, 5-0 Big East), which is off to its first 8-1 start since 1982 when Dan Marino was behind center. The Panthers are also unbeaten after five Big East games for the first time since 2002, although that team went on to lose its last two conference games.
Stull completed 16-of-23 passes in Pitt's fifth straight victory, while Dorin Dickerson caught seven balls for 118 yards with a score.
Pittsburgh hosts Notre Dame next week before taking a week off, then visits West Virginia before closing the campaign with a home game against Cincinnati in what could be a matchup for the conference title and a BCS berth.
"Every game counts right now, this four-game stretch is crucial," said Lewis. "We got one out of the way and we need to just keep on knocking down whoever steps in front of us. Everybody is excited about Notre Dame. Everybody's going to be ready and fired up for this game."
Delone Carter was the lone bright spot for Syracuse, rushing for 143 yards on 17 carries. He became the first back to reach 100 yards on the ground against Pittsburgh this season.
"We didn't execute, we didn't score and that's disappointing," said Carter. "Having a good game today is fine but it doesn't really matter to me. What matters is getting the win and we didn't do that today."
The Orange (3-6, 0-4) had a rough week off the field, as leading receiver Mike Williams quit on Monday and defensive end Jared Kimmel saw his season come to a close because of a knee injury that will require surgery. Also, three players were suspended by head coach Doug Marrone. Running back Antwon Bailey, defensive end Torrey Ball and guard Andrew Tiller were punished for violating team rules.
Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus, booed by the Carrier Dome crowd last week in a loss to Cincinnati, was sacked four times and completed just 12-of-18 passes for 120 yards with a pair of interceptions -- one that was returned for a touchdown.
The teams traded three points to start the game. A 58-yard run by Carter on Syracuse's second offensive play from scrimmage set up a 29-yard kick by Ryan Lichtenstein. Pittsburgh followed with a march from its own five to the Syracuse two-yard line thanks to runs of 27 yards by Cedric McGee and 32 yards by Lewis, but the Orange defense stiffened and forced a 19-yard field goal by Dan Hutchins.
After a trade of punts, Hutchins tied a career long with a 45-yard field goal early in the second period to put the Panthers on top.
The Pittsburgh defense then found the end zone with just 1:20 to play before the intermission, as Greg Williams intercepted a pass that was twice tipped and raced 51 yards for a touchdown and a 13-3 lead.
Kevin Harper was short on a 51-yard field goal try for the Panthers just before the break.
The Panthers got the ball to start the second half and marched 55 yards in nine plays to extend their lead. A 31-yard pass from Stull to Lewis set up a first down at the Syracuse one and Lewis scored on third down to make it 20-3.
Ryan Nassib started behind center on Syracuse's first series of the third quarter and was picked off by Jarred Holley on the first play. The pass was deflected before settling into Holley's hands, giving the Panthers possession at the Orange 49.
Hutchins, though, missed a 47-yard field goal try, but Pittsburgh got the ball right back after a Syracuse punt and needed just two plays to find the end zone. Jonathan Baldwin broke free for a 61-yard run before Stull hit Dickerson with a 14-yard pass for the touchdown and a 27-3 cushion.
Syracuse could not convert on fourth down at the Pittsburgh 24, then appeared to get the ball back when Stull was picked off by Phillip Thomas. A penalty against the Orange nullified the interception and the Panthers drove far enough for a 33-yard field goal from Hutchins early in the fourth quarter for a 30-3 advantage.
McGee scored on a 29-yard run for Pittsburgh with 5:47 remaining and Syracuse finally reached the end zone with just 63 seconds left on a one-yard run by Averin Collier.
Pittsburgh outgained Syracuse, 481-285...Syracuse was 0-for-5 on third down in first half and finished the game just 3-of-13...Pittsburgh leads the all-time series, 32-30-3, winning seven of the last eight meetings...The Orange will visit Louisville next Saturday.
11/07 16:58:55 ET