This has to go down as one of the stranger turning points I think we will ever write here. We have seen Pitt lose over the last several years in a variety of very odd ways. It seems to happen all the time and even has coined the phrases "Pitt being Pitt" and "Pitt doing more Pitt things" on social media. So you can look at this 17-16 Panthers win yesterday anyway you want to, but I prefer to look at it as maybe the football gods decided to actually smile on Pitt for a change yesterday afternoon.
The game was as tight as the score indicates and therefore, we saw several momentum turning moments at the Carrier Dome. It all boiled down to 1:08 remaining on the clock and Syracuse facing a 4th and 8 at the Panther 36 yard line. Surprising pretty much everyone, Syracuse coach Scott Shafer sent out Ryan Norton to try for a go-ahead 53-yard field goal. Normally Orange kickers are pretty solid, but Norton has struggled and today was no different. He hit one field goal, missed another, and thanks to the beast known as Aaron Donald, also had an extra point blocked. Apparently this confused Paul Chryst and he called a timeout at the very last second to ice Norton.
This turned out to be a very good thing.
Syracuse was was about to attempt a fake field goal with tight end Kendall Moore lined up over at the edge of the Orange sideline...ALL...BY...HIMSELF. The snap came just after Chryst's timeout, so holder Charley Loeb's pass did not count to a wide open Moore. All was for naught, though, due to the timeout and with Pitt's defense ready, Syracuse went for it on fourth down. With Ray Vinopal closing in fast, Terrel Hunt had to hurry and his pass was knocked down by Lafayette Pitts to give the Panthers the win.
Regardless of which way you want to look at the play, Pitt came away with a rare nail-biting win and had their second, 2nd half comeback in three weeks. On top of that, they did it in the most un-Pitt like fashion:
By catching a break.