PITTSBURGH (WSYR-TV) – For the second straight week, the Syracuse football team traveled to a top 25 opponent. And for the second straight week, Syracuse will return home with a loss.
SU fell to No. 25 Pittsburgh 21-10 with a lot of the same issues from the season opener at UNC.
Tommy DeVito was sacked seven times by the Pitt Panthers and even left the game at the 11:29 mark of the second quarter. He finished 9/15 with just 32 passing yards and one interception. Rex Culpepper came in relief and scored SU’s only touchdown on a 69-yard pass to Taj Harris in the second quarter. Culpepper was 4/9 with 88 passing yards and one touchdown.
Pittsburgh was led by Kenny Pickett, who completed 25 of his 36 passes for 215 passing yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The Panthers outgained the Orange in total yards 342 to 171.
Syracuse was able to capitalize on a Pittsburgh fumble in the first quarter, taking the lead on a Andre Szmyt field goal from 26 yards with 6:08 to play. The Panthers answered back on the next drive as Pickett connected with Jordan Addison from 27 yards out. Pitt led 7-3 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Orange offense looked to be stifled again as DeVito was sacked for the fourth time in the first half on 1st and 10 for a 10 yard loss. DeVito then left the game with an undisclosed injury and did not return for the rest of the half.
Two plays later Rex Culpepper provided the best offensive play of the season, finding Taj Harris down the sideline for a touchdown of 69 yards. This is the longest throw of Culpepper’s career and his first touchdown pass since 2017. Culpepper played last week and is seeing his first significant action since coming back from cancer in 2018.
But again, Pittsburgh answered as Pickett ran in a touchdown from one yard out with 5:06 to go in the second. The Panthers led 14-10 at halftime.
The final touchdown of the game came after each team traded turnovers. Pitt’s Pickett threw an interception to Mikel Jones with 7:53 to go. It’s Jones’ third forced turnover of the season. After nine offensive plays, DeVito gave the ball right back throwing an interception to Paris Ford with 4:39 to play. It’s DeVito’s first interception in a SU record 212 pass attempts. His previous interception occurred against Holy Cross on Sept. 28, 2019.
The Panthers capitalized on the opportunity, as Pickett threw his second passing touchdown with 54 seconds to go in the third, finding Jared Wayne from 17 yards out.
Syracuse is now 0-2 (0-2) and will return home to face Georgia Tech at noon on September 26 inside the newly renovated Carrier Dome.