Pitt Embarrasses Syracuse, 48-24

Pittsburgh struck early and often Saturday afternoon as it downed the Orangemen 48-24 at the Carrier Dome.

The Pittsburgh defense allowed the Orangemen a paulty 39 yards in the first half and only three points. The win snapped Pitt's 11-game losing streak against Syracuse. The last time Pitt defeated Syracuse was Sept. 23, 1989 in a 30-23 contest. The following year, the teams played to a deadlock before Syracuse won the next 11 games by nearly 19 points per contest.

Brandon Miree scored twice in the first half after Pitt fell behind 3-0. It recovered four fumbles and then scored 48 straight points capped off by David Abdul's 19-yard field goal for a 41-3 lead halfway through the third quarter. By that point, the Panthers had marched all over Syracuse's defense for the tune of 341 yards. Syracuse could only retaliate with 13.

Pitt showed no mercy for Syracuse's futility as Pitt QB Rod Rutherford and WR Larry Fitzgerald hooked up three separate times for 75 yards as Pitt took an early 7-3 lead that they would never relinquish.

Was it the Pitt defense or the Orangemen offense that was the cause for Pitt's lopsided victory? Probably a combination of the two.

Pitt, ranked in the top 30 in eight different statistical defensive categories dominated the Orangemen offense the entire afternoon. Syracuse QB R.J. Anderson was ineffective throwing for just 3-of-10 for 11 yards before leaving with an injured shoulder.

Nunes entered the game right before halftime, but by then it was already too late. Syracuse entered the locker room trailing 24-3 collecting three first downs and 3 yards on 12 carries on the ground game.

Things only got worse in the third quarter. Lousaka Polite's 34-yard touchdown put Pitt up 31-3 early in the third. Then, Nunes, who provided a spark against Auburn last week, caught his own deflected pass and fumbled. Pitt LB Lewis Moore scooped up the ball at the Syracuse 2 and rumbled in to put the Panthers up 38-3.

Orangemen tight end Joe Donnelly fumbled the ball at the Pitt 22 late in the third quarter. Rutherford went to work quickly and efficiently throwing to Roosevelt Bynes for an 82-yard strike on the second play of the drive.

Syracuse finally got a TD on the board with four minutes left in the third quarter. Walter Reyes rushed for a 51-yard gain before Nunes hit David Tyree in the end zone ending Pitt's 48-point streak.

The Orangemen would add two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Reyes punched it in the end zone again on an 11-yard run. He finished the game with 84 yards on 13 carries. Barry Baker topped off the scoring on a 3-yard-carry.

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