Instant Juice: Syracuse 37, Pittsburgh 44

Pittsburgh Panthers running back Darrin Hall (22) runs the ball past Syracuse Orange linebacker Ryan Guthrie (41) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 44-37 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

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.

» Related: Upward direction of Syracuse football is as fast as its offense

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.

For more Syracuse coverage, Like our Facebook page and follow us @TheJuiceOnline.

Avatar photo
About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]