Syracuse Falls to Pittsburgh 17-16 after Plenty of Missed Opportunities

A downtrodden Syracuse team has one more chance to become bowl eligible.


Via Pennlive

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“Football is a game of six-inch wars. We just came up six inches short.”

Coach Shafer repeated this in his press conference following Syracuse’s 17-16 loss to Pitt.

Another way to say this: Shafer’s team didn’t take advantage of opportunities. In a one-point loss like this, you can immediately point to the missed extra point on the first touchdown of the game.

Other ways to say this: three dropped touchdown passes. Yes, there were three: Devante McFarlene dropped one, as did Quinta Funderburk and Durell Eskridge. Then you could look to a few passes that weren’t thrown well—the flea flicker to Chris Clark comes to mind. Or perhaps some defensive plays, like Dyshawn Davis not picking up a loose fumble, Marquis Spruill going for a hit instead of an interception or Durell Eskridge slipping when his shoe came off and failing to make an interception.

Football is a game of opportunity, and the Orange missed many earlier. If the Orange had made any one of the plays listed, it could have won the game. Davis picks up the fumble, it would have kept a touchdown off the board for Pitt, and Syracuse wins 16-10. Eskridge hangs on to the touchdown, and Syracuse wins 23-17. Ryan Norton’s PAT doesn’t get blocked, and the game goes into overtime. Or if he doesn’t push a field goal wide right from the left hash, Syracuse wins 19-17.

There were plenty of opportunities for the Orange to win the game.

As for next week and becoming bowl eligible, it could be a tougher task than it sounds. Of course the game is at home and Boston College’s talent is comparable to Syracuse’s. But after the game, everyone seemed down. Coach Shafer seemed defeated speaking at the podium. Terrel Hunt was extremely disappointed after his best performance in ACC play. After allowing 25 yards on 25 carries, Ri’Shard Anderson had trouble coming up with more than a two-word answer for how they were so successful.

Overall, the team seemed so downtrodden, more so than after any other loss. This was the Orange’s closest game of the year, and it was a winnable game as well.

Now the Orange needs to bounce back to play Boston College next week to become bowl eligible—and then hopes that a bowl wants it after the ACC tie-ins are taken up.

Posted by: Seth Goldberg 

37 Comments on this Post

  1. Even if they would have won the ball game yesterday and became bowl eligible,I would refuse any and all bowl invitations. The reason for the university/athletic department making that decision would be,”our team just can’t generate any offense,because we don’t have a QB that can throw or wide receivers who can catch the damn ball”.

    Play calling in yesterday’s game was horrendous and disgusting to say the least.

  2. Smitty Section 129

    This game hurts bad. Reminds me of the Rutgers loss at home a few years ago. Big game at home and besides for the diehards that were there the turnout was disgusting. Announced 35,000 for and ACC bowl game eligible game against PITT. Bring a recruit to that game and he walks away saying I’m not coming here. I’m not sure if this area is ready for big time ACC football because they don’t turn out for the games. Sad but true. We have to be the only school in the country who can get more fans for a basketball league game then a football league game. Now on the game. For a whole and it seemed like the consensus from most fans walking out of the DOME the players didn’t lose that game the coaching staff did. OCC McDonald may be a great recruiter but he is doing a terrible job as offensive coord. His play calling is terrible. 3rd and a 1 lets not run Jerome Smith lets take him out and try the long ball. Our 2 min. drill looks like most teams trying to run the clock out. It takes 20 sec to get the play in. Jerome Smith 16 touches for 86 yards. Come on 16 carries, when are you going to figure this out he needs 20-25 carries a game. Defense no complaints boys you played hard and good and hats off to the defensive coaches. I like Coach Schafer and his attitude but the reality is he is the team is getting to many penalties and making to many mistakes. I hope he figures it out because I like him as our coach and I hope McDonald figures it out too because his play calling alone has cost us two games now Penn State and Pitt.

  3. Would you guys stop the bowl eligible garbage! We are a weak team that has no business in a bowl..even if the stupid BCS system would let us.
    Get over it! As I have said.over and over…. Shafer was a poor selection. We will remain a 60/70 rated recruiting class kind of program till we decide to build a program. That means a coach with draw..finish the facility upgrades.. Pay properly for a staff and Administrative support for the program.
    We are officially an embarrassment!

  4. thesackster

    the game defense played good offense not so good. we had some chances and did not capitalize. i feel players put out a good effort but could not get the win. the fan turn out was sad but i’m not surprised because many people around the area are band wagon fans, no loyalty. SYRACUSE MUST UPGRADE THE FOOTBALL FACILITIES ESPECIALLY THE INDOOR PRACTICE FACILITY MUST BE DONE BY NEXT YEAR FIRST AND FORMOST. i feel the recruiting class for next year is ok so i wouldn’t try to disrupt that neither. i really like schafer and the staff and don’t feel its necessary to get rid of the coaches this year.we won more games than i thought wewould for starters and the schedule was no big east cream puff neither.acc football is a whole lot better.

  5. Personalbias

    A season full of lost opportunities, as it is a season characterized by players and coaches lacking the skill sets to take advantage of opportunities presented. Can not compete with teams that are considered good or better, but just a negligable hair better than those considered mediocre. My comments sum up my experience of the year, ambiguous and frustrating. Dropped passes, blown assignments, quarterbacks that can not throw an accurate pass, penalties and poor special teams play, did I miss something? When does basketball season start….oh yeah it has

  6. Hey guys. Still not happy with this. I agree with the play calling. It was just terrible. Does the play call represent what kind of talent we have on this team? Yes it does. I’m just sick and tired of see this crap continue. It has been going on now for over 10 yrs now. You wonder why we are losing fan base and not gettint the recruits. When Mcdonald came in he was great at getting the kids. But I wondered how he would be as a OC. I feel he has proven that he has not done a good job. If the best play we can come up with on a 3rd and long late in the game is to have Broyld be the QB and try to fake the opponent and think you are going to do something great and all you do is run the ball. Well that is just crap. That was just piss poor play calling. If it was me. I would have put Kinder in to throw them off. The reason is for is he hasn’t played and it would have given us a look that Pitt would not have seen and maybe confused them a bit. Who knows if it would work. But I feel you have to put something out there that is not the same look that you have had before. That is the same for our running game. Why not us AMM in blocking situatiions to help with smith. Her is a big kid who will provide you with a opportunity to create a hole for your RB. So why continue with the same way we are running the ball. It wasn’t working and Pitt wasn’t fooled. Again throw a different look that your opponent hasn’t seen. Guys I’m just a frusrtated as all of you are. I wish that it would start to get better for this program. I hope sooner than later.

  7. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. This was a winnable game and a couple of things stood out as to why we lost. In no particular order, penalties played a sizable role, yet again. Self inflicted wounds. Big injury list is another limiting factor. Add in 3 dropped passes for touchdowns, a QB who has difficulty passing and shallow depth a several key positions and we have a toxic mix. Yet, we almost won. Oh yes, and could we get a very good kicker please (extra point, 3 point field goal and end zone kickoff capability)

  8. Get over it… It was stinking Pittsburg ! They and we suck…….
    No sign of it getting better…can’t even hope for next year….
    Need to flush it!

  9. Lol this website.. Is poor

  10. Love how “fans” say we should turn down a bowl bid IF we beat BC. Stupidest damn thing I have ever heard.

    Great for the seniors to have one last game but more importantly for the underclassman to get 15 extra practices.

    This game more than anything reaffirmed how good and vital Hickey is.

  11. @Jesse H;

    For the sake of arguing,let’s say we all agree Syracuse beats BC on Saturday and becomes “BOWL ELIGIBLE” ok. My question to you is will you and your friends travel to the bowl game to watch them perform at the level that their performing at now? You talk about the “Seniors” going out on a high note,but I look at it as they’ve had four years and some of them five years to learn the system,if they couldn’t improve over that period of time another 15 practices isn’t going to help. It might help the underclassmen some.

    What I’ve said in the past is I don’t believe Coach Shafer has put the right pieces to the puzzle together yet. I thought the team had chemistry/comradery and was building lasting frienships that makes a team successful. I guess my assumption/conclusion was wrong and my feelings towards this team has changed a little.

    I can say honestly,in the beginning of the year,I thought this team was way better than what they’ve showed us all year long. Too many times after the game is over I’ve set and wondered what the hell was going on. Sometimes asking myself questions that would last for weeks. I’m still not over the butt kicking we got from Clemson/Ga.Tech. I understand the Florida ST game. The only thing that I can come up with is that there must be a lot of unhappy players on this team that just don’t care about what happens on the field and their attitudes is bringing the others down.

    We missed an xtra point,field goal,dropped 3 passes in the endzone for TD’s,intercepted the ball on the Pitt 36 yd line with 4:40 left in the game and came away with a 17-16 loss. I don’t care how you slice and dice it,the outcome was diaparging and it frigging hurt.

    I agree with what “Relentless OrangeFan” had to say,I wouldn’t accept the invitation if offered. Sorry if that bothers you but face the facts,the team just isn’t playing well at all.

  12. What the hell is wrong with you guys saying one need to fire coaches and everything after ever loss. You are going to go through learning curves with a new staff from top to bottom so things are going to happen. Yes was there some bad play calling yes, was there missed opportunities yes, was there some bad calls not made that the refs missed yes. Look at the positives Hunt made 4 deep throws that were very catchable for Td’s and only 1 gets caught. The refs missed the Pass interference call were the guy basically tackled Clark before the ball got there on the last possesion. Did the Refs grant a timeout they shouldn’t have on the fake fg aboustley the ball was almost out of Loeb’s hand by the time the time out was granted. And remember Marrone’s 1st season at SU and what you guys were saying then.

  13. @AJ;

    The only person that’s said Shafer sucks is “Cuse17” and no one else. If you were a regular here you’d already know his feelings on Shafer,he’s only been telling us all season long about them.

    I don’t think Shafer is going anywhere soon. Might be some sort of shakeup with the OC position in the off season,but not with Coach Shafer.

  14. @ Ron I do come on here a lot just been reading all over the place people want Shafer gone but people dont remember the growing pains we had with Marrone. I also dont think that you will see a change at the OC postion until at least 2015 but you may see someone come in as a co-OC or maybe someone that just calls the plays on gameday.

  15. Ron, your right.. I’ll get off Shafer’s back….he’s not going anywhere. Offensive side..probably…just frustrated!

  16. Yes, the play calling was unorthodox.

    A lot of criticism has been directed at the QB and the offensive coordinator. What the team desperately needs is better talent on the offensive line. That fixes both the running and passing game. Nuff said!

  17. Smitty Section 129

    I wonder what Coach Shafer said to McDonald after that game. I like Coach Shafer and I think he will be fine but I think he needs to figure out his coaching staff. The problem with McDonald is he is a great recruiter and a terrible OCC. My hope is he learns to be a decent OCC. I think we miss Wheatly as the running backs coach. I wasn’t sure of Bullough early on but I think he has done a pretty good job minus the Georgia Tech game. I had this team going 7-5 and it looks like they are going to go 6-6. Two close games Penn State and now Pitt and both games we got out coached but lets hope they learn from their mistakes and figure this out.

  18. @AJ;

    All of the other websites spill their putried on them. Thoss people call themselfves fans and probably never gone to the dome to support Syracuse ever. I understand your frustration. Thanks for responding.


    I know why and what your feelings are and I know that you have posted a lot here. I also know Cuse17 that your one of the fans that want to see things change here at Syracuse. We all do and I honestly believe that Coach Shafer is the man to turn the program around. We’re all frustrated and want changes to happen im mediately it takes time,let’s give Shafer his due and give the guy a chance. I think in the long run we’re all going to be pleasantly surprised. Please belkieve me when I say I understand peoples frustrations. I really do. Thanks for your response,have a good week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I be there on Saturday rooting for the Orangemen to beat BC. I hope the place is packed.

  19. You think it’s bad being a fan of Syracuse?

    This was from an article on ESPN.

    “Now all of a sudden, Florida, Nebraska, Texas and USC could all potentially be vacant at the same time. Michigan might soon be headed that way, too, and possibly Texas A&M and South Carolina (with other coaching dominoes to follow)”.

    Has to be an awful lot of unhappy campers dotted over the landscape.

  20. thesackster

    you guys we lose nassib,pugh,lemon,sales etc this year. look this year is a growing year hate to say but the season is not over with yet. its been frustraing on a offensive standpoint but were redshirting 2 quarterbacks 3 wide receivers and we have 2 quarterbacks and 3 wide recivers coming in so far if we can hold on to everyone for next year. 4 new quarterbacks 6 wide receivers next year. hopefully we will do better on offense next year. we still have one more game left against bc so hopefully we can win that game and go 500 and a bowl game which is pretty damn good for a brand new coach and staff plus alot tougher schedule. if we lose we’ll be just below 500 and no bowl game. i’ve seen a whole lot worse and i beleive if su invests in the ipf recruiting will pick up more and football will be good again.

  21. The BC game at home is right up our alley with them having the nations leading rusher going against our stout front 7 on D!!They barely got out of Md with a 2 Pt win Sat and we could make it very hot on the Jesuits saturday at the dome!Everyone knew this yr was gonna be tough(esp Dougie)but we done better than many though even w/o a good QB!!Imagine if Nassib was still here? We might have won 9 games!Next yr will be a learning yr too at QB albeit he’ll have to be more talented?I think Alin Edouart has bigtime dual QB potential!!

  22. Ron still give SU that talent that those coaches have to work with compared to SU’s!! The CUSE have a “few” players. If SU had the talent of those programs(better talent) they’d be bowling to another snow bowl=Michigan!!

    Do Not forget the kids of PSABUSERU!! The NCAA did!!

  23. @Terry;

    You might be right Terry;just letting you know the trip to Michigan and Ford Field in Detroit would be an awesome day. The area resturants,Wrigley Field are all within walking distance of where they would be playing. It’s a great time,beautiful stadium and it makes for a wonderful time. My 3 sons and I tailgated with Detroit Lions fans and some Minnesota Vikings fans across from ford Field and had a lot of fun.

  24. With the potential coaching vacancies, think about teams like BC. Pure speculation, but if Florida opens up, I would not be surprised if they called on Addazzio and Strong first. One of them might bite. That would impact two ACC teams. Rutgers may open and while I would be surprised if Mich became available, I don’t think they would be a threat to take one of ours. Arizona should worry, as Rich Rod has re-established himself. Petrino will find his second chance, probably at an SEC school or maybe back at UL if Strong goes. USC keeps Orgeron if they can’t get Del Rio. If they do get him, Orgeron takes a shot elsewhere and I could see BC if Addazzio bolts. It would be better than UConn and I have heard those rumors.
    As for our staff, I would love to see them bring in an assistant who can recruit NYC/NJ and offer good assistance on the offensive play calling. I see two postition coaches that could come under fire if that comes to be. RB and WR. Moore’s recruiting has long been under fire from a lot of fan sites, and the receivers are not performing this year. RB, well we have only one recruit now and this will be our first year in about what 6 or 7 that we probably don’t have a 1000 yd rusher? The RB position seems to be regressing and that can’t happen at a place like SU, especially with Shafer’s hardnosed Northern brand of football.

  25. @Malone;

    Great analysis on the possibility of coaching changes that might happen at the end of the year.

    I hope it doesn’t happen but lets say Syracuse and Dr. Gross flys off the handle again and get’s rid of Shafer. Two names that haven’t been mentioned at all that I would like to see them go after is
    Jim Tressel(Ohio St) and Tom Coughlin(NYG). I know both men are long shots to ever come to Syracuse but I know it wouldn’t hurt to give them a try.

    The one thing that I do know is,if Syracuse can nab/bring in a big name coach,they’re going to have to spend some money to make him happy.

    Just my thought’s,I don’t see either man coming here just wishing is all.

  26. @Russell Dangerfield;

    Looks like Jabrill Peppers Plans to Take Multiple Official Visits?

    He doesn’t like the rumors that Hoke won’t be the head coach of Michigan next year.

  27. Ron, wait till they lose to OSU. I’m telling you, we don’t get a Peppers to Cuse, but now’s the time to step up recruiting in NJ.

  28. @Malone;

    Ohio State is going to crush Michigan on Saturday. The article I read this morning was saying Peppers will take multiple visits to other universities. Will he come to Syracuse? Probably not!!!! But I do agree this is the time for Syracuse to step up their efforts recruiting the State of NJ.

    I guess after reading that article,I come to the conclusion that recruits committing and de-committing from a school is common these days. Very few understand what words like intrigity/responsibility/honor/committment mean anymore.

    That article also mentioned that he is taking another look at Penn State.

    you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  29. Thanks Ron, same to you and yours. I dont get the fascination with Penn St. If the kid won’t go to Mich because coach might not be there, then I wouldn’t look at PSU. O’Brien can’t be much longer for the college game if the pros come calling. And to think, we should have beaten them this year.

  30. @Malone;

    If I were a 18-19 year old kid trying to decide on what college I would like to play ball at,my choice would be Syracuse.

    We have a lot to offer a kid,immediate playing time as a freshman,good/great academics,membership into a new conference that provides me visibility on a national level,and most of all noterity if I’m looking to be the stud/star on campus. If I decided to go to one of the big programs I’d become nothing more than a slab of meat waiting my turn setting the bench for 1-2 maybe 3 years before I got on the field.

    I’ve often wondered why a kid doesn’t see/focus on the opportunities that’s offered to him at Syracuse University.

  31. Yeah guys I don’t know why PSU after all that’s happened seemed to get stronger?I mean not yet recordwise but with kids?Maybe their into nice showering facilities? I would’nt want to spend too much time on Mt Nittany if I was a recruit today!?!Happy thanksgiving guys.I’ll be here friday!

  32. @Ron,Peppers?Ron,Im so tired of these spoiled kids right now I don’t care where they go but have some suggestions!!Ha Ha,I’ll believe them on LOI day after they sign!! What a depressing year for ALL FB this year in the NE!!”JINTS” included Terry!!Happy turkey day fella’s!

  33. @Russell Dangerfield;

    I got the information from the “Bleacher Report” website this morning. I honestly believe Russell the kids today are totaly confused. They don’t know what’s right or wrong and have a hard time making decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

  34. Hey guys,besides our game I’m looking forward to the Ironbowl!!I’d like to see Auburn kick Bama’s butts!!Hope youz enjoyed turkey day fella’s(Ron,Terry,Malone,Carlton,CDL,Smitty etc)and we shock the beagles!!I hope we play so they “don’t know what hit em”!!

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