PITTSBURGH — Darrin Hall scored on a three-yard direct snap in overtime to give Pitt the lead and Therran Coleman intercepted Eric Dungey’s pass in the end zone to preserving a 44-37 victory over the Syracuse Orange on Saturday.
Hall’s score was part of a throwback second half for the Pitt offense, which leaned heavily on its running game.
Hall finished with 17 carries for 107 yards and two scores. Qadree Ollison had 192 yards on 24 carries and a score.
Coleman’s pick was the third turnover of the game forced by the Pitt defense. Dungey finished the game 18 of 38 for 195 yards with a score and two interceptions.
The game got off to a disastrous start for the Panthers, with Syracuse scoring on both of its first two drives to take a quick 14-0 lead.
But the Panthers responded with a 69-yard touchdown by Qadree Ollison and a scoop and score from Dane Jackson after Quintin Wirginis stripped the ball from Orange quarterback Eric Dungey.
From there, the teams traded scores. Alex Kessman booted a pair of long field goals, one from 55 yards that stands as the longest in Heinz Field history. Syracuse got one back from Andre Szmyt at the end of the first half.
In the second, Pitt added on with another big play, this time a 68-yard swing pass from Pickett to Rafael Araujo-Lopes for a score. After his score, the game was delayed for over an hour due to lightning.
After the break, the Orange roared back, scoring on a five-yard rush by Jarveon Howard, his second of the game. Dungey then scrambled in from 21 yards out to give Syracuse a 31-27 lead.
Pitt then turned the ball over when Kenny Pickett was sacked and fumbled. Pitt’s defense held, and Szmyt booted one in from 29 out to make the Orange lead seven points.
The Panthers responded with a five play, 75-yard drive that was all handoffs or direct snaps to running backs, including the score, a seven-yard rush by Hall out of a Wildcat formation.
On the ensuing possession, Syracuse completed a 42-yard pass from Dungey to Jamal Custis that got them into the edge of field goal range and Szmyt hit a 54-yarder to give the Orange the lead again.
The Panthers took another drive down the field on the ground, but settled for a 45-yard field goal by Kessman with 12 seconds left to tie the game.
Pickett wasn’t given much freedom after the fumble, attempting only one pass after that point. He finished 11 of 20 for 137 yards, one touchdown and one interception.