Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Photos from Cuse vs. Michigan State

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse women's basketball ends a two game losing streak with a 75-64 win over Michigan State. Here's a look at the action in photos by Ashley Moore. Click on any picture to start slide show.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pittsburgh Basketb—Football defeats Syracuse, 76-61

Story by Brianna Adams
Photo by Bridget Chavez 

PITTSBURGH, PA. -- ''I'm thinking we're about to put up 80 points in a football game,'' Pittsburgh wide receiver Quadree Henderson said. ''Are we playing basketball or football? It was definitely weird."

Leading 49-21 in the third quarter, the Panthers held on to beat Syracuse 76-61 in the regular season finale at Heinz Field, Saturday afternoon,  Pittsburgh and Syracuse scored a combined 137 points to set a record for the highest scoring FBS game. The record previously was held by a 2007 game between Navy and North Texas with 136.

Defensive Difficulties

Pitt's offense ran only 59 plays that converted into 76 points, while Syracuse needed 106 plays to score its 61. After QB Zack Mahoney's two-yard rush gave Syracuse the early lead at 7-0, Pitt scored two quick touchdowns, the second on a 35-yard pass from Nathan Peterman to running back James Conner on the first play of the drive. While the Orange tied it at 14, Syracuse allowed Pitt to go on back-breaking touchdown runs including 66, 77 and 59 yards in the course of the game. 

Pittsburgh held Syracuse in the first half to just 21 points and led 35-21, but fell apart in the second half. Syracuse’s Amba Etta-Tawo went for four touchdowns in the second half with ineffective coverage on the star wide receiver. The Orange managed to score 40 points in the second half after tiring out the Panthers defense.

“There’s ups and downs but we found a way to win,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “We knew we could score points on them.”

Touchdown Derby

Of the 20 touchdowns scored, ten were by passing and ten rushing. Of those ten passing touchdowns, Etta-Tawo was responsible for five, including a 49-yard pass from Mahoney to the grad transfer.

Mahoney was credited with two of the rushing touchdowns. Both teams were perfect in the red zone. Syracuse was seven for seven and Pitt converted on all five of its red zone appearances.

Conner was a top performer for Pittsburgh. The redshirt junior racked up 18 points for the Panthers with two rushing touchdowns and that 35-yard touchdown catch.

Late Bloomers

Syracuse scored first but Pitt controlled the game after tying it at seven in the first quarter. The first three Pitt touchdowns came in just 18 plays. The first came on a pass from Peterman to wide receiver Jester Weah, who ran 59 yards down the field to score. Conner's first TD put Pitt ahead and after Syracuse tied it with a five-yard run by Dontae Strickland, a six-yard run by George Aston put the Panthers ahead for good.

Trailing 56-34 to start the fourth quarter, Syracuse put up four touchdowns in the final fifteen minutes. But Pitt answered with 20-points of its own.

Starting off with a 19-yard rushing touchdown from Mahoney, it was Etta-Tawo’s show for the remainder of the game.

In between Pitt touchdowns by Dontez Ford (79-yard catch), Weah (6-yard catch) and Conner (one-yard rush) in that order. Etta-Tawo scored three touchdowns to cut Pitt’s final margin to 15 points,

Breaking records and making names

This matchup marked the end of the regular season for both Pitt and Syracuse and both teams broke records for their respective programs.

Pittsburgh set a program record for single-season points at 508 after racking up 76 against Syracuse. The last time Pitt scored over 70 points was against Temple in 1977 when the Panthers shut them out 76-0.

Running back James Conner broke records as well just one year after being diagnosed with cancer. The redshirt junior extended his Atlantic Coast Conference record for career touchdowns to 56 after three on the day. With 115 rushing yards against the Orange, Conner finished the regular season with his second 1,000-yard season, becoming the fifth Pitt player ever to accomplish that. 

For Syracuse, the 76 points eclipsed the previous high against Union College (75-0) back in 1891.

The 2016 team led by Dino Babers set new records in completions (332), attempts (522) and passing yards (3,855), records previously held by the 2012 Orange. Quarterback Zack Mahoney set new career-highs in attempts (61), passing yards (440) and completions (43) to end his junior year. His 43 completions put him in second with Eric Dungey trailing Ryan Nassib’s record of 45 completions against Northwestern in 2012.

The graduate transfer from Maryland, Etta-Tawo had a banner year with the Orange rewriting the record books. Etta-Tawo’s five touchdowns Saturday set a single-game record and gave him 14 on the season tying Tommy Kane’s Syracuse record set in 1987.

Grand Finale

''It's fun being out there and putting up all those points,'' Syracuse quarterback Mahoney said. ''When it comes down to it, the only important stat at the end of the days is wins and losses.''

With the loss to Pittsburgh, Syracuse finishes the season 4-8 for Dino Babers’ first season as head coach. The Orange will have most of its team back although it will lose the remarkable Etta-Tawo.

Despite a report that the University of Houston is interested in  Babers, he said he is “100 percent locked in to Syracuse.”

Pittsburgh ends the regular season with a winning record of 8-4 and with noteworthy victories against Clemson and Penn State, Pitt’s chances of a high bowl bid are good. Bowl season kicks off on December 17th.

Photos from Cuse vs. Pitt

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Pitt outscored Syracuse in the 2016 season finale for the Orange, 76-61. Here is a look at the scoring fest in photos by Bridget Chavez. Click on any picture to start slide show.