SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- LaRod Stephens-Howling ran for a
career-high 221 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown, and
Pittsburgh beat Syracuse 21-11 on Saturday.
It was the third straight victory for Pittsburgh (5-1, 2-0 Big
East) and snapped the Orange's three-game winning streak. Syracuse
(3-3, 0-1 Big East) has lost eight straight conference games.
The Panthers sent an early message, scoring on the game's first
possession, and made it look easy. Stephens-Howling, who had 178
yards on 14 carries in the first half, keyed the six-play drive
with a 40-yard run up the middle to the Syracuse 4.
Quarterback Tyler Palko scored his first rushing touchdown of
the season on the ensuing play, a bootleg right, and put the Orange
in an uncustomary early hole. Syracuse outscored its first five
opponents 38-7 in the first quarter and had not failed to score in
the opening period until Saturday.
Palko, who entered the game leading the nation in passing
efficiency with a rating of 191.59, was 13-for-14 in the first half
for 96 yards, the lone incompletion on his last throw of the second
Palko, who finished 20-for-24 for 177 yards, kept the Orange
defense at bay with his short passing game. Syracuse, which entered
the game leading the nation with 25 sacks, never came close to
registering one until early in the fourth quarter when cornerback
Terrell Lemon dropped Palko for an eight-yard loss on a
After Patrick Shadle kicked a 44-yard field goal early in the
second to move the Orange within 7-3, the game turned on a critical
holding penalty by Syracuse tackle Eugene Newsome that negated a
15-yard run by quarterback Perry Patterson to the Pitt 35 on a
Syracuse was forced to punt and Stephens-Howling scored on a
70-yard run on the next play, roaring untouched through the middle
to give Pitt a 14-3 halftime lead. Stephens-Howling entered the
game with 207 yards on 56 carries.
The Panthers forced Syracuse to punt on its first two
possessions of the second half and took a commanding 21-3 lead with
2:31 remaining in the third.
Palko rolled out right away from the rush and completed a
21-yard pass to Cedric McGee to the Syracuse 1 on a third-and-8
play. After the Orange stuffed two rushes by Conredge Collins,
Palko hit a wide-open Steve Buches over the middle for his 15th TD
pass of the season.
Patterson, who finished 20-for-29 for 225 yards, guided the
Orange 70 yards in five plays in just 74 seconds late in the game.
He completed a 19-yard pass to tight end Tom Ferron and on the next
play hit Mike Williams all alone in the left corner of the end zone
for a 29-yard score with 4:05 left.
Williams caught a pass over the middle for a two-point
conversion to move the Orange within 21-11, but the Panthers ran
out the clock in the closing two minutes.
The Orange drove inside the Pitt 10 earlier in the fourth
quarter, but Patterson was sacked by Chris McKillop on a
third-and-goal from the 9, fumbled, and Joe Clermond recovered for
the Panthers at the 14.