Down 44-37 in overtime after the Syracuse defense gave up a three-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the period, Eric Dungey started from the Pittsburgh 25 looking to extend the game.
He would only run one play.
As Dungey rolled to his right out of the pocket, he was hit as he threw a floating pass intended for Nykeim Johnson in the endzone. But the sophomore receiver was unable to out-muscle Pittsburgh defensive back Therran Coleman, who hung onto the ball for an interception as the pair fell to the grass to win the game for Pittsburgh.
Syracuse (4-2, 1-2) faced many of the same issues they had last week against Clemson. The defense held Pittsburgh (3-3, 2-1) to just 137 yards in the air, but allowed both Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall to rush for more than 100 yards. In total, Syracuse gave up 265 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the offense once again sputtered in the fourth quarter, scoring just six points off a pair of field goals by redshirt freshman Andre Szmyt.
Dungey was largely ineffective throwing the ball, picking up just 195 yards and throwing two picks. He made up for that with his feet, rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to swing the game Syracuse’s way.
The Orange picked up the early lead with a one-yard pass from Dungey to freshman tight end Aaron Hackett. Another freshman, running back Jarveon Howard, doubled the lead just over halfway through the first quarter with a two-yard touchdown run.
But the Panthers quickly tied the score with two touchdowns in under two minutes. Ollison broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run, which was followed by redshirt junior defensive back Dane Jackson scooping up a Dungey fumble and running it 35 yards back to the house.
Neither team struck again for a touchdown in the first half, but Panthers kicker redshirt sophomore Alex Kessman scored a pair of field goals answered by only one for Szmyt to put Pittsburgh up 20-17 heading into the break.
The Panthers struck quickly in the third quarter via Rafael Araujo-Lopes. He caught a screen-pass from sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett and found a hole to score a 68-yard touchdown. Howard would reply with his own touchdown, a five-yard run, to bring the Pittsburgh lead back down to three, and it looked like that’s what it was going to stay at going into the fourth quarter.
But Dungey, in what was arguably his best drive of the game, marched the Orange 73 yards down the field to take the lead. Facing a third-and-10 on the Pittsburgh 21-yard line, Dungey recognized the hole left by an extra pass rusher, escaped the pocket and dove into the end zone, giving Syracuse a 31-27 lead heading into the final frame.
That was the last touchdown Syracuse would score, but they still earned a 37-34 lead with just under six minutes left in the fourth. Pittsburgh ran 13 plays on the ensuing drive, finally tying the game at 37 with a 45-yard field goal from Kessman, which set up the dramatic finish in overtime.
Syracuse head into their bye-week with two consecutive losses and virtually no possibility of still making the College Football Playoff. They’ll have a chance to rebound Oct. 20 as they host UNC in the Carrier Dome.