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Panthers Put Up 76 Points, Hang On To Beat Syracuse At Heinz Field



You’d have to go back to 1977 to find the last time the Panthers put up 76 points on an opponent. I would imagine that 76-0 rout of Temple was slightly less nerve wracking than the 76-61 Pitt victory over Syracuse today at Heinz Field.

But a win is a win.

Even one in which the Panthers racked up over 600 yards of offense,  including 393 on the ground, scored 10 touchdowns and yet were one yard away from Syracuse getting the ball back on an onside kick down only 15 in the 4th quarter.

Fortunately for Pitt, the ball only traveled 9 yards and the Orange were flagged for illegal touching.

Syracuse, led by backup quarterback Zack Mahoney, threw all over the Panthers porous secondary. Mahoney was 43/61 for 440 yards and 4 TDs and added 53 and two scores on the ground. His only blemish being a pick 6 by Dane Jackson in the 3rd quarter that put the Panthers up 42-21.

Even Pitt’s staunch run defense, which came into the game ranked fourth in the nation at 98.1 yards allowed per game, gave up 228 yards to a Syracuse team that averaged only 3.0 yards per carry.

But as bad as the Pitt defense was, the Pitt offense was just as good.

Nathan Peterman had only 9 completions on the day, but 4 of them went for touchdowns. Peterman found Ford, Conner and Weah (twice) for touchdowns and made the big throws when he had to, picking up 251 yards through the air.

On the ground, the Panthers were particularly unselfish about spreading around the yards. Pitt had four players surpass 75 yards on the day, including Ffrench (1 attempt for 77 yards) Peterman (6 attempts for 79 yards) Henderson (5 attempts for 103 yards) and Conner (19 attempts for 115 yards).

Conner’s 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving) pushed his ACC all-time leading number to 52 rushing and 56 total touchdowns.

With today’s win, the Panthers sit at 8-4 (5-3 ACC) and will await an invitation to a bowl game.


The Panthers were a Chris Blewitt extra point away from scoring their most points in a single game since an 88-0 win over Westminster in 1926.

The game was the highest scoring in ACC history.

The Panthers previous high for combined points in a game was 113 (Pitt 58, Duke 53) in 2013.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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