A quick take on Syracuse’s 19-9 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down 17-9 with 1:35 left in the game, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson was sacked by Deslin Alexandre for a safety to give Pitt a 19-9 lead and put the game away in what was a fitting end for SU. Without starting quarterback Garrett Shrader, Syracuse couldn’t do much on offense, amassing only 145 total yards on the day. The Orange went three and out on five of its seven second half drives, and only had one first down the entire second half. Meanwhile, while Pitt was without its star running back Israel Abanikanda, the offense did just enough with Rodney Hammond Jr., who combined with C’Bo Flemister for two touchdowns on the ground. As it turned out, that was more than enough offense to top the Orange.
ANALYSIS: It was a nice run in the top 25 rankings, but Syracuse will plummet out with this disappointing performance. While one would figure with a young quarterback at the helm, the Orange would lean heavily on its run game, especially with a star like Sean Tucker. But the Orange barely used their once-Heisman candidate, as he rushed just 10 times for 19 yards. To be sure, 1.9 YPC isn’t going to move the chains, either, but offensive coordinator Robert Anae didn’t even attempt to get Tucker out in space. Instead, Del Rio-Wilson was wild on most of his throws, and SU’s other big star, Oronde Gadsden II went without a catch for the first time this season.
HERO: Syracuse’s defense did everything it could. Despite Pitt having a 36:45 to 23:15 possession time advantage, the Orange defense still held pitt to just 17 points and 339 yards of total offense. They also had two red zone interceptions, including one from Ja’Had Carter, who now has interceptions in three straight games. The aforementioned Hammond finished with 28 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown.
ZERO: Syracuse went away from their run game and put the ball in the air 23 times to just 10 rushes for Tucker. Del Rio-Wilson showed he has a strong arm, but still needs more seasoning, as he misfired often and struggled with his accuracy. That all led to the Orange not scoring a touchdown for the first time this year.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to host Florida State on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the JMA Wireless Dome. TV: ACC Network.