A quick take on Syracuse’s 14-13 win against Pittsburgh:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse completely dominated the first quarter, jumping out to an early 14-0 lead. The Orange looked strong behind a strong opening drive for a touchdown while the defense added a fumble recovery for defensive touchdown with 1:06 left in the first quarter. Syracuse didn’t score another point after that, but its defense limited the Panthers to just 13 points the rest of the way as the Orange hung on to improve to 2-3 on the season.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse, since defeating West Virginia last season at the Carrier Dome, had gone 1-8. The ugly losing streak ended despite the offense stalling after their first drive of the game. Credit goes to the defense, who completely shut down the Panthers running game. Ray Graham rushed for just 57 yards on 24 carries and the Panthers as a team averaged just 0.7 yards per rush. Though the Orange was hurt through the air by Tino Sunseri’s 319 yards, Pitt was flagged 6 times for 35 yards, including two penalties that knocked them out of field goal range. Meanwhile, the Orange played a disciplined game coming out of a bye week, getting flagged just 3 times. It was the last meeting between these two teams before both depart to play in the ACC.
HERO: All the heroes were on the defensive side of the ball. The Orange defense was on the field for 34 minutes as opposed to the offense’s 25 minutes, yet the defense accounted for half of the Orange’s points and stopped an offense that had come in averaging more than 30 points a game over its last two games. Adonis Ameen-Moore, who hadn’t been heard from all season, had five huge carries, for 14 yards and a touchdown. Ameen-Moore was key late in the game as he rushed for a couple of first downs to eat up the clock and preserve SU’s win. For Pitt, Devin Street had 10 receptions for 130 yards.
ZERO: Though the Orange offense looked completely in sync on its first drive, it did little else throughout the game. Ryan Nassib was quiet again, with just 185 yards and no touchdowns plus an interception. As mentioned before, Pitt couldn’t do much on the ground against a staunch SU defense, and tallied just 346 total yards.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will travel to play No. 22 Rutgers on Oct. 13 at noon looking to improve on its 1-0 Big East record. Catch all the action right here on SNY.Wesley Cheng