SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Nose tackle Jay Bromley and the Syracuse defense needed a blow with the Orange protecting a one-point lead against Pittsburgh late in the game and Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri itching for one more chance.
That chance never came as Syracuse tailbacks Adonis Ameen-Moore, Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley and quarterback Ryan Nassib ran the ball 10 times over the final 4:52 and Syracuse held on for a stirring 14-13 victory Friday night.
The Syracuse defense, on the field for more than 34 minutes, sacked Sunseri five times for 51 yards in losses, harassed him when he did throw, and shut down the Pittsburgh running game and star Ray Graham, who had 24 carries for 57 yards.
"We just don't play defense and call it a day," Bromley said. "We did our job and the offense did theirs."
Linebacker Dyshawn Davis returned a fumble 52 yards for the Orange's other score as Syracuse broke out of a yearlong funk. Syracuse (2-3, 1-0 Big East) hadn't beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision team since last October, losing eight straight since a stunning win over a ranked West Virginia team.
Syracuse also snapped a seven-game losing streak against Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-2), which had won two straight.
Both teams were coming off bye weeks, and this was their last meeting as members of the Big East. Both will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, and they will continue to play one another each year.
Ameen-Moore, a sophomore with only 12 career carries entering the game, scored on a 1-yard run to cap Syracuse's first possession and had 13 yards on four consecutive carries to end it.
"We had to be ready, tuned in to everything," Ameen-Moore said. "I haven't scored a touchdown since I was in 12th grade. They trusted me to get the job done. It felt wonderful."
Syracuse finally put together a solid game after four erratic efforts.
"The first half, the fumble returned for a touchdown, we did enough stuff to beat ourselves in many ways," first-year Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. "I thought going in Syracuse was a good team and I come away believing the same thing."
The Orange scored first and never trailed, played well on special teams, converted that turnover into a touchdown, and pressured Sunseri when the game was on the line. Defensive end Brandon Sharpe broke through for three sacks, and when Sunseri seemed poised to give Pitt the lead late in the fourth quarter, the defense rose again against Pitt's imposing offensive line, which averages 317 pounds.
Sunseri was called for intentional grounding and on the next play cornerback Brandon Reddish stormed in from the left side on a blitz and sacked Sunseri for a 9-yard loss and to force a punt. That all came after Sunseri had hit Devin Street for 15 yards, J.P. Holtz for another 15, and Mike Shanahan for 24 on consecutive plays to put the ball at the Syracuse 17.
"It felt great," Orange defensive tackle Deon Goggins said. "It finally felt like we was clicking. During the bye week we were working on little things and it came together."
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