Pitt advances to 10-1 in last 11 matches against Syracuse after a commanding 19-9 win, now 5-4 on 2022 season

Written By Kayla Sterner, Staff Writer

The Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4, 2-3 ACC) defended the turf Saturday afternoon at Acrisure stadium and defeated the Syracuse Orange (6-3, 3-2 ACC), 19-9. Pitt has now won 10 of their last 11 match-ups against the Orange — who have just dropped their third game in a row. 

After back-to-back road losses, the Panthers’ defense came out strong and kept a struggling Syracuse offense out of the endzone and mustered up six sacks. Junior running back Israel Abanikanda, who led the ACC in rushing yards heading into the game, was out due to injury. The Panthers instead relied on sophomore running back Rodney Hammond, who rushed for a career-high 124 yards and a touchdown.

Senior quarterback Kedon Slovis was 16-for-23 for 178 yards and an interception, and failed to throw a touchdown for the fourth game in a row. Slovis and co. dominated time of possession, having their offense on the field for 36:45 compared to the Syracuse’s 23:15.

Redshirt senior running back C’Bo Flemister ran for 42 yards in 12 carries and hauled in a touchdown while – Jared Wayne had six receptions and 102 yards in the winning effort. 

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Deslin Alexandre had a safety, 2.5 sacks, both of which were for loss, on top of seven tackles.

The Orange offense was led by quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, who was making his first career start due to junior Garrett Sharder being out on injury. The freshman could not handle the pressure Pitt’s defense applied and went 8-for-23 with 120 yards. Syracuse only produced 145 total yards compared to the Panthers’ 337 yards. 

Although they pulled out the win this time, Pitt still got in their own way, collecting nine penalties that cost them 79 yards. 

Syracuse found the scoreboard first after – Andre Szmyt nailed a 23 yard field goal to lead 3-0 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Pitt opened up the second quarter with a sense of tenacity and Hammond rushed for six yards into the end zone to cap off a 10 play, 71-yard drive and lead 7-3.

Szymt stepped up for the Orange again and made a 48-yard field goal to cut the deficit to one, but the Panthers responded with another field goal, courtesy of Ben Sauls, to boast a 10-6 advantage heading into the half. 

Flemister had a one yard run with 1:44 left in the third to clutch a 17-6 lead as the rivals entered the last quarter. ‘Cuse made another field goal to trail 17-9, but a safety from Alexandre gave Pitt a 19-9 victory. 

Next up, the Panthers will travel to Virginia to face the Cavaliers. Kickoff is set for 12p.m. and will be streamed on the ACC Network.