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Panthers Battle, Fall Short In OT Loss To Syracuse

Pittsburgh quarterback John Turman breaks from the pocket and scrambles for a touchdown during the first quarter.

Pittsburgh quarterback John Turman breaks from the pocket and scrambles for a touchdown during the first quarter.

Oct. 7, 2000

Box Score

By JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y.- Troy Nunes hit David Tyree with a 23-yard touchdown pass on Syracuse's second possession of overtime Saturday night as the Orangemen edged previously unbeaten Pitt 24-17 in a game of missed chances.

On the winning play, which came on third down, Nunes scrambled for time before finding Tyree at the back of the end zone.

The Panthers (4-1 overall, 1-1 Big East), who lost to Syracuse (3-2, 1-0) for the 10th straight time, tried to keep the game going, but it ended when John Turman's pass to Antonito Bryant fell incomplete on fourth-and-4.

Pitt won the toss and took the ball first in overtime, but when its drive stalled at the Syracuse 13 the Orangemen escaped when Nick Lotz missed a 30-yard field-goal attempt.

Syracuse returned the favor, failing to gain a first down and watching in dismay as Mike Shafer missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt, his fourth miss of the game.

The Panthers, off to their best start since 1991, scored on their first two possessions and seemed intent on ending the Syracuse jinx.

Lotz kicked a career-best 48-yard field goal to put the Panthers up 3-0 less than four minutes into the game.

After Syracuse gambled and lost on a fourth-and-3 play on its first possession, Turman drove the Panthers back down the field. He confounded the Syracuse defense repeatedly with his arm, throwing key completions on third down, then used his feet to score.

Turman methodically worked his magic, hitting fullback Lousaka Polite for 7 yards on a third-and-6 play, completing a 12-yarder to Latef Grim on third-and-7, and a 25-yarder to Bryant on third-and-12 to the Syracuse 18.

After two incompletions, Turman faded back to pass, then tucked the ball under his arm and rambled up the middle untouched for a touchdown. When Lotz missed wide left on the extra-point attempt, the Panthers led 9-0 with 2:44 left in the first quarter.

Trailing 9-3 in the second quarter after a 37-yard field goal by Shafer, Nunes put Syracuse ahead with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Tyree, and a 5-yard scoring run by James Mungro with 2:11 left in the third put the Orangemen up 17-9.

 

 

But the Panthers weren't finished yet. After Shafer missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt early in the fourth, Turman again led the Panthers back.

A 52-yard pass to Bryant went for naught when Lotz missed a 37-yard field goal. But after Syracuse was unable to move the ball, the Panthers came back again, starting their final drive of regulation from midfield.

Bryant, who finished with seven catches for 135 yards, couldn't hold what would have been a 35-yard touchdown pass from Turman with 4:33 left, but he did catch a 5-yarder on a fourth-and-2 play and Grim followed that with a 7-yard reception on fourth-and-3 to the Syracuse 15.

Turman, who was 20-for-44 for 228 yards, hit R.J. English on a 8-yard touchdown pass to pull Pitt within 17-15 with 1:17 left. After offsetting penalties nullified a two-point conversion pass to English, Turman got the two points on a run up the middle.

Nunes, who was 20-for-29 for 279 yards, drove Syracuse to the Pitt 30, but Shafer missed what would have been the game-winning field goal from 40 yards on the final play of regulation.

Syracuse missed two terrific chances to increase its lead in the second half, but Shafer missed a 22-yard field goal early in the third and a 38-yarder in the fourth as the Panthers whooped it up on the sidelines each time.

Mungro gained 101 yards on 17 carries against what had been the second-ranked defense against the run in the nation, allowing 42.3 yards a game.