I did not expect Syracuse to beat Pittsburgh, but I didn’t think that would happen either. 45-14? Giving up 28 first half points to a team that was averaging 25.2 points per game? Really?
“They beat us on offense, they beat us on defense and they beat us on special teams,” SU coach Doug Marrone said. “We didn’t make plays. We didn’t perform.”
That’s an understatement. Pittsburgh completely dominated Syracuse in its first relevant October football game in half a decade.
The Orange had not allowed a first half touch down all year and held USF to three points on 124 yards of total offense in the first half last weekend compared to 257 against Pitt. The Panther rushing attack racked up 123 yards, mostly from stud-RBs Dion Lewis and Dorian Graham, but it was a surprisingly efficient passing game that deflated the Orange. Tino Sunseri showed he can throw the football after all, completing 17-24 of his passes for 266 yards and a career-best four touchdowns.
‘Cuse attempted to right the ship early in the third quarter. Down 28-7, Nassib threw the ball to Ricky Gary. He caught it and took it 80 yards for the touchdown. Unfortunately, Gary plays for Pitt and he put the Panthers up 35-7. For the 40, 168 fans in the Dome, the largest home crowd since the first game of last season, it was a signal that it was time to leave to watch some baseball (or go to Chuck’s to relive their glory days as an SU student).
After the game, Marrone was apologetic.
“If you want me to apologize, I apologize,” said Marrone. “I was part of a lot of great things when I was here as a player. And I know that hasn’t happened in a while, and I feel badly about that. I do. I really do…but it’s going to happen. I can promise you that. It will happen. I can’t predict when it will. Obviously, I wanted it to happen today.”
It didn’t, and now the Orange-faithful are befuddled. Pitt game into the game 2-3–a far cry from the Big East juggernaut it has been in recent years. SU beat up on subdivision teams (Colgate, Maine) and a grossly sub-par Akron squad, but it got blown out by Washington in week two. Yesterday’s game confounds things.
It sounds cliche, but this team is going through growing pains. The skills are there. We’ve all seen them, but the Syracuse football program needs time to learn how to use them on a consistent basis. It will happen, but it may be frustrating to watch at times. At least the skills there; however, because from 2005-2008, I don’t think they were.
About the Author
Written by Beth Ann Clyde
I graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 and can count the number of times I witnessed the Orange win a football game on two hands.