A quick take on Syracuse’s 30-7 loss to Pitt at Heinz Field on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse’s complete free fall continued against the Panthers. The hapless Orange offense was shutout in the first half while Pitt took advantage of several short fields. The Panthers scored a touchdown late in the first quarter three plays after Prince-Tyson Gulley fumbled at SU’s 28. After a field goal put Pitt up 10-0, a rare Cole Murphy miss from 34 yards led to another Pitt TD drive. This time, QB Chad Voytik found former Syracuse defensive back Dontez Ford for an 11-yard strike to put the Panthers up 17-0 with 47 seconds left in the first half. That was all the offense that Pitt needed in handing Syracuse its eighth loss of the season.
ANALYSIS: You can’t win if you don’t score, and Syracuse’s offense was comically bad in the first half. In its first six possessions, the Orange turned the ball over three times, with Mitch Kimble (interception), AJ Long (interception) and Gulley (fumble) as the main culprits. Even when the Orange was able to build some momentum and get into the red zone, it came away empty-handed with the normally steady Murphy badly shanking an attempt. SU’s performance was a microcosm for the season, with several recurring themes surfacing: Bad penalties. Poor red zone execution. Non-existent offense.
HERO: Kudos to James Conner, who with a first quarter rushing touchdown tied legend Tony Dorsett’s school record of 22 scores in a season. He wasn’t the only one to tie a legend on Saturday. With an impressive 28-yard circus reception in the second quarter, receiver Tyler Boyd went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, becoming just the second Pitt receiver to accomplish that feat in his first two seasons. The other receiver? Larry Fitzgerald. Pretty good company.
ZERO: Syracuse’s offense is the obvious choice here. A bad season took a turn for the worse, as the Orange could only muster 7 points and 255 total yards. Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt had a rough afternoon, missing a pair of first half field goals, while looking shaky on several of his other kicks.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will play out the string when it travels to Massachusetts to play Boston College on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. TV: ACC Regional Network.