Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison wrapped up their outstanding regular seasons in style, connecting for two more touchdowns Saturday to lead #17 Pittsburgh to a 31-14 road win over Syracuse.
Pickett went 28 of 38 for 209 yards with four touchdowns and an interception, giving the senior signal-caller 40 TDs against seven picks this season. Addison racked up 11 catches for 81 yards and two scores in this one, bringing the sophomore standout to 85 catches for 1,353 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year.
Rodney Hammond Jr. and Gavin Bartholomew also had TD grabs for Pitt (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which reached double-digit regular-season wins for the first time since 1981. The Panthers will play Wake Forest in the ACC title game next weekend.
Syracuse (5-7, 2-6) needed a win to reach a bowl game but didn’t muster much offense after jumping out to an early 7-0 lead. Garrett Shrader went 17 of 24 for 217 yards with two touchdowns, both to Courtney Jackson.
Sean Tucker, who set the Orange’s single-season rushing record last week, was held to a season-low 29 yards on 13 carries. It was only the third time all year the freshman was limited to less than 100 yards on the ground.
Shrader’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Jackson gave the hosts an early 7-0 advantage before Pitt tied things up midway through the second quarter as Pickett found Hammond for a 15-yard score. Less than three minutes later, the Panthers went ahead on Pickett’s 25-yard strike to Addison.
Pickett padded the lead with a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes. He hit Bartholomew from 4 yards out to make it 21-7 on the opening drive of the second half, and then he and Addison connected from 5 yards out to create a 28-7 cushion with 4:45 left in the period.
Shrader and Jackson hooked up for a 15-yard touchdown to draw the Orange within 14 points with 2:03 left in the third, but that was as close as they got. A fourth-quarter field goal by Pitt completed the scoring.