Syracuse Football: Performance in loss at Pittsburgh was totally pitiful

Syracuse football (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Syracuse football (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Syracuse football is stuck in a bad, bad rut.

The Orange, ranked No. 20 in the first College Football Playoff rankings and rated No. 22 in both major top-25 polls, was awful in losing to long-time rival Pittsburgh on the road this past Saturday afternoon.

The ‘Cuse will no longer be a top-25 team, at least for now. Syracuse football had an absolutely anemic offense versus the Panthers, despite the Mob defense forcing turnovers. You can’t expect to win on a foe’s own turf if you don’t score any touchdowns.

Now, let’s be clear here. The Orange’s performance at Pitt was dreadful. That is not the same thing as effort. The ‘Cuse, despite a backup quarterback being under center in this Atlantic Coast Conference clash and the squad’s roster having already lost multiple key guys to season-ending injuries, played its collective heart out.

I’m proud of SU, my alma mater, and I’m proud of Syracuse football. At the same time, after a thrilling 6-0 start to begin the 2022 campaign, I feel this stanza starting to slip away for the Orange. That saddens me to no end.

Could Syracuse football lose six in a row to end the 2022 regular season?

We all knew the second half of the Orange’s schedule this stanza was tough. The ‘Cuse, in beginning 6-0, picked up solid wins over Purdue and N.C. State. And Syracuse football had a golden opportunity to beat then-No. 5 Clemson on the road but fell by six points.

A week ago, Notre Dame crushed the Orange at the JMA Wireless Dome. The Fighting Irish lately is looking like the preseason top-10 team pundits viewed it as, given that Notre Dame just destroyed Clemson this past Saturday at home.

So neither of those setbacks for Syracuse football is a “bad loss” from my perspective. And the Orange (6-3) getting defeated on the road, 19-9, by the Panthers (5-4) is understandable, because Pitt has owned the ‘Cuse in recent seasons.

Pittsburgh was also at home in this ACC collision, and I felt that the Panthers were a rough match-up for Syracuse football, considering that Pitt runs the ball well and also defends the run well. But the Panthers were without their best running back, who had been leading the ACC in rushing, versus the Orange.

Sean Tucker, an All-American in 2021, was in the line-up for the ‘Cuse. Yet Pittsburgh outrushed the Orange, 161-25, according to ESPN statistics. Syracuse football had 25 carries for 25 rushing yards. I love my ‘Cuse like it’s nobody’s business, but that is truly pathetic.

What’s more, the Orange accumulated a mere 145 total yards on offense and, to reiterate, no touchdowns. How do you beat any sort of competent team with those kinds of numbers?

Syracuse football has three regular-season contests left. Florida State comes to Central New York this Saturday, followed by away affairs against Wake Forest and then Boston College. I don’t think that the Orange is going to end up at 6-6.

But if our beloved Syracuse football team doesn’t figure out a whole lot of stuff, and fast, the ‘Cuse could be faced with a 6-6 or 7-5 record prior to a bowl game. And after starting out at 6-0, that would prove terribly disappointing, in my humble opinion.

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