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Second half thread: Pittsburgh 20, Syracuse 17

What the Ffoodlion?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange started the afternoon hot against the Pittsburgh Panthers, up 14-0 after two quick and efficient drives. But since then, momentum has been all in Pitt’s favor as the Panthers now lead, 20-17.

Syracuse started with the ball, marching 75 yards down the field on 11 plays, culminating in a one-yard touchdown pass from Eric Dungey to Aaron Hackett. Following a Pitt fumble, SU went 42 yards in five plays for another score, capped off by a two-yard Jarveon Howard rushing TD.

And then... something else happened entirely.

On the second play of Pitt’s second drive, Qadree Ollison took advantage of a bad read by the Orange defense and scampered 69 yards for the Panthers’ first points. Then Dungey fumbled on a run (that probably should’ve been blown dead), resulting in a scoop-and-score to tie the game at 14.

From there, SU’s defense started getting better pressure and making some stops, though Pitt kicker Alex Kessman still managed to hit two different field goals of more than 50 yards. The Orange took advantage of a short field on one of their final drives of the half, to get a field goal and cut the score to 20-17. Still, you couldn’t help but feel like momentum had completely shifted in Pitt’s favor.

Syracuse has followed up a mistake-filled Clemson game with another against the Panthers here, turning the ball over twice, fumbling an additional time and committing three penalties (for 14 yards) — though all were ill-timed.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

And after a hot start, Dungey is now just 12-of-24 for 58 yards. Sean Riley has six receptions for 29 yards, but Nykeim Johnson is the only other Orange receiver with more than one catch (2 for 26). Since the fumble, Dungey has looked a bit off passing the football, either over- or under-throwing targets with some regularity. He’s also the leading rusher on the day, with 10 carries for 60 yards.

Defensively, Chris Fredrick had a clutch late interception in the end zone, and Andrew Armstrong gets credit for the fumble recovery in the first quarter that set up the Orange’s second TD. Alton Robinson has one sack, and Kielan Whitner and Kingsley Johnathan split the other. Whitner and Robinson also lead the team with four tackles apiece so far.

Pittsburgh gets the ball at the half, and we’ll see if the defense can keep up the turnaround. They may need to if Syracuse’s offense continues to struggle moving the ball as they did for a good deal of the half following the early touchdowns.