A quick take on Syracuse’s disappointing 44-37 loss on the road to Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Pitt’s Darrin Hall punched in a four-yard touchdown run to start overtime, Therran Coelman intercepted Eric Dungey on Syracuse’s first play allowing Pitt to escape with a win at home. Reminiscent of Syracuse’s loss at Clemson last week, the Orange lead by three points late in the fourth quarter and needed a defensive stand to walk away with a road victory. Instead, SU’s defense was gashed on ground, with Pitt going on a 13-play, 48 yard drive spanning 5:45 and ending in a game-tying field goal. Pitt wasn’t creative in its play calling: It dialed up 12 consecutive run plays on that drive. But the Orange couldn’t do anything to stop it, and the Panthers continued in overtime, with four more run calls that resulted in a TD.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse goes into the bye week 4-2, blowing a golden opportunity to be one win from a bowl game and secure a spot in the top 25. Instead, the Orange is left with plenty of questions. Part of this loss has to fall on defensive coordinator Brian Ward, as well. One particular play that Pitt kept using was a wildcat, with a fake jet sweep. The Panthers repeatedly used it, and Ward couldn’t make the necessary adjustments. It’s now the second week Syracuse needed its defense to make one final stand, and his defense couldn’t deliver.
HERO: Qadree Ollison (192 yards, 1 TD) and Hall (107, 2) provided all the offense Pitt needed on the day as the Panthers finished with a combined 265 yards on the ground.
ZERO: Dungey had come into Saturday having been intercepted just twice on the season, but Pitt picked him off twice, including on the game’s final play. Dungey struggled with his accuracy all afternoon, completing just 18 of 38 passes for 195 yards. He did add 13 carries for 70 yards and a score.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has a bye week before returning to the Carrier Dome to play UNC on Oct. 20.