In a defensive third quarter, the Pitt Panthers cut Syracuse's lead to just 1 at the Carrier Dome. Kevin Harper drilled a chip shot field goal to make 14-13.
The field goal was result of some impressive work from quarterback Tino Sunseri, who converted a couple huge third downs, setting up the big play of the drive -- a 46-yard connection with reliable tight end Mike Shanahan. Syracuse let Shanahan run wide open down the center of the field and Sunseri stood in the pocket under pressure and unloaded the ball just in time. It appeared Shanahan might take it to the end zone, but a Syracuse corner recovered down the left sideline to catch him on the 11-yard line. But the Panthers could not punch it in from there, settling for a 27-yard Harper field goal.
The Panthers started the half by pounding the ball on the ground with running back Ray Graham, handing him the ball on five of six plays on their first possession of the half. But the Panthers were pinned deep in their own territory after Syracuse moved the ball across midfield to start the half. The drive abruptly stalled, and Graham has 19 carries for just 41 yards so far.
Graham's struggles characterized the entire third quarter, as both defenses took over. Sunseri has once again established a connection with Devin Street, but Paul Chryst's offense was still unable to find the end zone.