This is starting to get old.
For the second week in a row, Syracuse lost on the last drive of the game. After a Cole Murphy field goal tied the game at 20-20, Pittsburgh got the ball with 9:20 left in regulation. The Orange would never give it back.
Starting at their own five yard line, Pitt went on a 19 play, 89 yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal from Chris Blewitt as time expired. The fans in the Carrier Dome didn’t know what hit them.
“I feel like we’ve got to just play better, especially in crunch time, said linebacker Zaire Franklin when asked about the final drive. “We need to step up and make that play.”
Syracuse didn’t make that play, and it had plenty of opportunities. Pitt had to convert four third downs and a fourth down during the game-winning drive to keep its offense on the field, and the Orange was unable to make a single stop when it needed to.
“It’s just one more play here or there,” said Coach Scott Shafer after the game. “They’re exciting games, but we’d like to finish them with exciting wins instead of exciting losses.”
In the end, Pittsburgh outgained Syracuse 427 yards to 353. It was another second half downfall for the Orange, who scored only three points after halftime. Eric Dungey took a hard hit to open the half and went to the locker room, but to the relief of the crowd was able to come back into the game.
“They just wanted to take me in and evaluate me for an upper-body injury,” said Dungey. “But I was cleared to play, so I was just grateful to be back out there.”
There were some positives to take out of the loss. The defense played very well, especially considering that going into the game the Orange defense had been averaging more than 40 points allowed per game in its losses. Steve Ishmael had a career game with 114 yards and a touchdown, but he still isn’t satisfied.
“We didn’t pull it out,” Ismael said. “The stats and everything don’t matter. At the end of the day we didn’t win, that’s what I’m really focused on.”
Ishmael and the rest of the Orange will really have to get focused for next week’s game. Syracuse will try to snap its four game losing streak on the road against Florida State.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson