Syracuse picked up its first win of the season against an FBS opponent on Friday in a 14-13 win over Pittsburgh. Here are my grades from the game.
There was the opening drive and then every other play. The first drive was textbook. The team moved quickly downfield on its first possession and got the touchdown at the start it had been looking for. But the offense wouldn’t score again.
The last drive of the game may have ended in a score if Syracuse hadn’t run out the clock. SU produced an effective run game from the trio of Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley, and Adonis Ameen-Moore. Ryan Nassib even had a couple of runs. The Orange also utilized a goal-line package that Justin Pugh said the team put in place last week. Nassib said it won the team the game.
Ultimately though, your offense is going to be judged by the points you put up. And when your defense scores half your team’s points, there is room for improvement.
The defense held Pittsburgh to 13 points and two field goals. It constantly pressured Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri and sacked him five times. It kept running back Ray Graham under control. Defensive tackle Deon Goggins said after the game that he felt the team had stopped the run game of Pitt, which was the plan.
The only player who SU couldn’t really contain was wide receiver Devin Street, who had 130 yards on 10 carries and constantly burned the SU defense.
Special Teams: B
Nothing really stood out about the special teams’ unit. There were no field goals attempted. There were no awful kickoffs or spectacular returns.
Steve Rene had a kickoff return of 25 yards toward the end of the third quarter, and punter Jonathan Fisher had two punts inside the 20.