The Orange needed this badly. Syracuse grinded out a necessary victory over Pitt 14-13. It wasn’t pretty, but you have to believe none of these games in the Big East will be works of art. The Orange obviously need six wins for a bowl, so if that’s the goal – now SU can go 4-3 the rest of the way. A loss tonight, and a presumable loss at Mizzou, would’ve meant going 5-1 in the Big East. That was HIGHLY unlikely.
- Syracuse said it wanted to start fast and not settle for field goals, and that’s exactly what happened. A strong opening drive as SU went down the field for 70 yards in just three minutes. It scored a crucial TD as well, going up 7-0 and giving the Dome life.
- Heads up play by Dyshawn Davis to pick up a live ball and take it back to the house. It’s game changing plays like that this defense has to stress. This unit may not a force every play (at least not this season). But it can use speed and athleticism to create turnovers and big plays. But the D definitely gets the game ball tonight. Holding the Panthers to a TD and two FGs, and creating its own score? That’s a statement night on national TV at the Dome for that group.
- Unfortunately, the offense went ice cold the rest of the night. SU ended up winning a game it scored only 7 offensive points. Why? Credit the Pitt D for some of that, but just not enough big plays were created.
- Give the Orange offense though credit for sealing the deal. When it absolutely HAD to have a first down, it got it in the waning seconds when Adonis Ameen Moore surged for 4 yards.
- That final drive was Amos Alonzo Stag’s wet dream. The three-headed monster of Jerome Smith, PTG and Moore grinded out yards on every play of that final drive reminscent of the days when the forward pass was illegal.
- How big an addition is Justin Pugh? On the final drive that iced the game, the offensive line won its battle in the trenches. The line deserves major props for the big first downs late.
- SU cut down on its mistakes in a big way. Only three penalties and one turnover in the combined “self-inflicted wounds” category. That’s the only way you can possibly win a game when you score only one offensive TD. Tip of the cap to embattled Doug Marrone. This was a critical week, he was under the heat lamp. His team responded with a Marrone-esque win, a ham-n-egger grind.