Syracuse Football Hosts Pittsburgh in ACC Home Opener

Oct 6, 2017

Senior receiver Erv Philips grabbed an ACC-record 17 passes against NC State.
Credit Cuse.com

Syracuse (2-3, 0-1) returns to the Carrier Dome to take on rival Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-1) on Saturday. Junior quarterback Eric Dungey leads the high-flying pass offense for the Orange, ranked second in the ACC, against an opportunistic Panther defense that leads the conference in takeaways.

Dungey accounted for 429 yards of total offense against North Carolina State last week, adding three touchdowns. His efforts were not enough to avoid a 33-25 loss to the Wolfpack on the road though as the defense struggled to contain the ground game.

'Cuse vs. Pitt at 12:30, Countdown to Kickoff gets underway at noon, only on WAER 88.3 FM.

Pittsburgh on the other hand is coming in after having thrashed Rice at home 42-10. Redshirt senior Max Browne lighted up the secondary of Rice to the tune of 410 yards and four touchdowns.

While this game could end up being a high-scoring one, it likely won't match last year's shootout between the Orange and the Panthers. Pittsburgh beat Syracuse 76-61 at Heinz Field in a record breaking effort from both teams. It was the highest combined score in an FBS game in history.

Additionally, Zach Mahoney threw for the second most yards in a game in Syracuse history and accounted for seven touchdowns in the defeat. 

Although 'Cuse could not slow down NC State's rushing attack, it should have an easier time stopping Pitt as the Panthers average just 3.1 yards per attempt. 

All time, Syracuse is 31-38-3 against Pittsburgh, but has not beaten them since both teams joined the ACC. The last time the Orange bested the Panthers was in a 14-13 nail-biter in 2012. 

Dungey currently sits fifth in passing yards in team history, closing in on fourth place holder Don McPherson. He also owns the second best completion percentage in program history, behind only Greg Paulus. 

The run game of the Orange has not been at its best this season. Dungey is the only player to average more than 50 yards per contest. Junior running back Dontae Strickland has been ineffective, rushing for only 2.7 yards per carry through the first five games.