Heading nto the toughest stretch

Junior quarterback Tyler Palko orchestrated an 18-point rally and put the Panthers in position to win their fourth straight game, but Syracuse pulled out a 38-31 victory in two overtimes at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

Orange running back Damien Rhodes scored a 2-yard run on the first possession of the second overtime. On Pittsburgh's chance to tie, running back Raymond Kirkley was stopped on a fourth-down rush, ending the game.

In perhaps the most exciting Big East game of the season, Palko completed 28 of 42 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns, including a 9-yard pass to receiver Joe DelSardo in the first extra session.

Pittsburgh (5-3) dropped from second to fourth place in the league standings following the loss to Syracuse. The Panthers are very much in the hunt for a bowl invitation, but watched their shot at the Big East title vanish in the Carrier Dome.

Pittsburgh is actually headed into the toughest stretch of its schedule. The Panthers will play at Notre Dame on Saturday, host conference leader West Virginia on Nov. 25 and close the season at South Florida on Dec. 4.

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