Pitt Looks to Close Regular Season Strong vs. Syracuse

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PITTSBURGH (EYT) – The Pitt football team will look to secure a quality bowl bid when it wraps up the 2016 regular season against Syracuse a 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Heinz Field.

(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network (WTAE, TV 4 in Pittsburgh market).

Pitt (7-4 overall, 4-3 ACC) enters the contest on a two-game win streak including a 56-14 victory over Duke at home last week.

Syracuse (4-7, 2-5) has dropped three straight to all but fall out of bowl contention including a 45-14 loss to Florida State last week.

A win over the Orange would secure an eight-win regular season for Pitt for the second consecutive year, something the Panthers haven’t done since 2008-08.

Watch head coach Pat Narduzzi’s weekly media conference.

James Conner is closing in on a 1,000-yard rushing season for Pitt needing 55 yards to reach the mark. He is averaging 5.0 yards per carry this season and set the ACC career records for rushing touchdowns (50) and total touchdowns (53) in the win over Duke a week ago.

While Pitt runs the ball well, the Panthers don’t allow other teams to run the football. Pitt’s defense ranks fourth in the country in run defense allowing 98.1 yards per game on the ground. Ejuan Price is a big reason for that, as the defensive ends has recorded 19 tackles for a loss this year and has 11 sacks.

Syracuse is led by redshirt senior Amba Etta-Tawo, who has nine touchdown catches on the year, tied for the most in the ACC. The Orange like to throw the ball averaging 310.5 yards per game through the air compared to just 109 on the ground. But a lot of that came when quarterback Eric Dungey was healthy. Dungey, who has passed for 2,659 yards and 15 touchdowns, was knocked out of the Clemson game a couple of weeks ago with what appeared to be a head injury and hasn’t played since. Zack Mahoney took most of the snaps last week and was 16 of 36 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Orange like to throw the ball averaging 310.5 yards per game through the air compared to just 109 on the ground.

But a lot of that came when quarterback Eric Dungey was healthy. Dungey, who has passed for 2,659 yards and 15 touchdowns, was knocked out of the Clemson game a couple of weeks ago with what appeared to be a head injury and hasn’t played since. Zack Mahoney took most of the snaps last week and was 16 of 36 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

EXTRA POINTS

  • Pitt has won 12 of the last 14 games against Syracuse including a 23-20 win at the ‘Cuse last season, and the two teams have played every season since 1955. Pitt leads the all-time series, which started in 1916, 37-31-3.
  • The Panthers will honor 19 seniors on Senior Day
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