(Saturday, December 3rd)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 33, Syracuse 20
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Tino Sunseri threw for 259 yards and a touchdown and Antwuan Reed returned a fumble for a score late in the fourth quarter, as the Pittsburgh Panthers downed the Syracuse Orange 33-20 to close the Big East season at Heinz Field.
Sunseri was 25-of-34 through the air for the Panthers (6-6, 4-3 Big East) who became bowl eligible with the win. Isaac Bennett caught seven balls for 61 yards and a touchdown and also picked up 51 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Ryan Nassib was 23-of-32 through the air for the Orange (5-7, 1-6), who came into the game seeking bowl eligibility, Alec Lemon caught eight balls for 99 yards, while Jerome Smith rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
The Panthers took a 7-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage after the Orange fumbled away the opening kickoff. Sunseri found Bennett on a 22-yard scoring pass to put the hosts in front.
Kevin Harper added a 37-yard field goal for the Panthers with 12:35 left in the opening period to extend the lead to 10-0.
Antwon Bailey hauled in a 26-yard throw from Nassib to get Syracuse on the board with 7:27 left in the period, cutting the deficit to 10-7.
Pitt responded when Anthony Gonzalez scored on a 17-yard run at the 5:13 mark to put the hosts up 17-7.
Ross Krautman brought the Orange closer with a 22-yard field goal with 9:38 left until halftime.
Harper added his second field goal of the game, this one from 36 yards out at the 2:46 mark to give Pittsburgh a 20-10 halftime lead.
Smith's 10-yard run with 12:03 left in the third quarter cut the Panther advantage to 20-17.
Harper's third field goal, again from 36 yards away, made it a 23-17 game at the 7:54 mark. He added a 47-yard boot with 5:40 remaining to make it 26-17.
Krautman kicked a 23-yard field goal with 4:40 left in the game to bring Syracuse closer at 26-20.
The Panthers came up big defensively when Nassib was sacked by Brandon Lindsey and lost the ball. Reed recovered the fumble and took it 20 yards to the end zone to extend Pitt's lead with 2:34 remaining in regulation.
Syracuse outgained the Panthers 345 total yards to 333, but the Orange lost four fumbles and turned the ball over six times.
12/03 17:43:42 ET