Here are 10 things we learned from Syracuse’s 14-13 win on Friday over Pittsburgh.
1. Syracuse wins. Slice it any way you want the Orange are 1-0 in the Big East and have a win over an FCS opponent for the first time since October of last year.
2. The Orange end Big East play against the Panthers on a high-note, having lost their last seven games against Pittsburgh. They’ll next take the field against each other in the ACC.
3. Adonis Ameen-Moore’s one-yard touchdown run on the Orange’s first possession was the first time Syracuse scored a touchdown on its opening drive all season.
4. Offense where art thou? The Orange offense has now scored just two touchdowns in its last two games (and counting the one late against Minnesota is being generous). Here’s a snapshot of the Orange offense over the last three games, which has been inept inside the red zone.
- After putting together a touchdown-scoring 70-yard opening drive against Pittsburgh, Ryan Nassib and company managed just 235 yards and no points the rest of the way.
- Against the Golden Gophers, the Orange turned the ball over three times inside Minnesota territory. Syracuse was held to just three points until scoring a meaningless touchdown in the waning minutes of play.
- Stony Brook’s defense stuffed the Orange twice on 4th & Goal.
5. Maybe Pitt caught the Syracuse offensive bug during their visit to the Carrier Dome. Kevin Harper missed a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter that would have been difference in the game. Inside Syracuse territory, the Panthers managed a Drew Carswell fumble that was returned for a touchdown and two Harper field goals of 40 and 27 yards.
6. The Orange did a great job of clock management in the last five minutes of the game. After being forced into a 4th & 34 situation, the Panthers punted the ball away with 4:52 and three timeouts remaining. The Orange were able to pick up four first downs, including a great 8-yard run by Nassib on 3rd & 6 and a bruising 4-yard rush by Ameen-Moore on 3rd & 3 to put the game away.
7. The defense won this game for the Orange, matching the offense point-for-point. Dyshawn Davis’ 52-yard fumble return for a touchdown, proved to be the difference maker in this game. The Orange sacked Panthers QB Tino Sunseri five times for 51 yards, three coming courtesy of defensive end Brandon Sharpe. The Orange defenders were on the field for almost 35 minutes and allowed just 346 yards and 13 points.
8. Ray Graham returned to human form if only for a day, as the Panthers running back was held to just 57 yards on 24 carries. He did however, score the team’s only touchdown.
9. A little emotion goes a long way. Say what you will about Marrone’s emotion (or lack their of) on the sidelines, but his energy definitely appeared to be contagious on Friday night. And… Kudos to Syracuse fans. Announced attendance at the Dome was 40,394 and it looked just about that on television.
10. Where was Ashton Broyld? According to head coach Doug Marrone, “Our philosophy is to play the best players that give us the best chance to win. That’s not only Ashton Broyld, that’s a lot of other players on this team.” Something worth keeping an eye on.