October 3, 2006

Panthers prepare for raucous affair in Syracuse

Following a 45-3 blowout of Toledo last Saturday, the Pitt football team sits at 4-1 on the season, and the Panthers have outscored their last two opponents 96-9. But those two games (versus Toledo and The Citadel) have both been played at Heinz Field, as have all but one of the Panthers' games so far.

On Saturday, Dave Wannstedt's team will face a new challenge when they travel to Syracuse to face the Orange in the Carrier Dome.

"It will be a factor," Wannstedt said on Monday of the noise at the notoriously tough stadium.

With a capacity of over 49,000, the Carrier Dome has given Pitt teams trouble in its 26-year existence. The Panthers have played in the Dome 13 times but have emerged victorious on only three of those occasions.

One of those victories came in 2002, but the team's most recent trip to Syracuse took double overtime to settle and saw the Orange come out with a 38-31 advantage.

That was in 2004, Tyler Palko's first season as a starter, and the normally verbose senior quarterback was uncharacteristically succinct when talking about the challenges the Dome presents.

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