Pittsburgh, PA— Coming off back to back losses, the Pitt Panthers returned home to battle the #20 ranked Syracuse Orangemen. The Panthers came into this game looking for a much needed win versus a ranked opponent.
Backup Pitt RB Rodney Hammond filled in for injured starter Izzy Abanikanda and ran the ball 28 times for a career high 125 yds and 1 TD, ending Pitt’s two game losing streak as the Panthers defeated Syracuse 19-9.
The Panthers leaned on RB Rodney Hammond and a stingy defense that held Syracuse freshman QB Carlos Del-Rio Wilson to only 120 yards passing and sacked him 6 times. The Panthers held the Syracuse offense to only 145 total yards.
This is Pitt’s 18th win over Syracuse over their last 21 meetings.
Pitt QB Kedon Slovis failed to throw a touchdown pass for the 4th straight game. He finished 16/23 for 176 yards and 1 interception.
Pitt 3rd String RB and Notre Dame transfer C’bo Flemister ran hard and was pretty solid in helping fill in for the injured Abanikanda. He finished with 12 carries for 43 yards and 1 TD.
Syracuse QB Carlos Del Rio stepped in for injured starting QB Garrett Schrader. He faced pressure from Pittsburgh’s defense and struggled with accuracy all game.
Syracuse Kicker Andre Szmyt had all of Syracuse points; all field goals, including a 49-yarder that made it a 1 possession game with 4:52 remaining in the 4th quarter. Syracuse got the ball back with 1:45 left in the 4th quarter, but Del Rio Wilson was sacked for a safety on the first play, essentially ending a comeback attempt for Syracuse.
Syracuse WR Oronde Gadsden came into the game on fire. Pitt’s secondary held him to no catches. Syracuse RB Sean Tucker was another player on fire as of late. The Panthers defense held him to 24 yards on 19 carries.
Pitt’s defense has been up and down all season but showed up against Syracuse. A few more performances like this and maybe Pitt can salvage a season of high expectations that haven’t been met.
Next up for Pitt is Virginia in Charlottesville next Saturday.
By Keith Platt, Jr.