snapped its five-game losing streak on Saturday by defeating long-time rival Pitts..."/> snapped its five-game losing streak on Saturday by defeating long-time rival Pitts..."/>

Syracuse Football: Dan Villari a total stud, Orange smashes Pitt on ground

Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football (Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse football snapped its five-game losing streak on Saturday by defeating long-time rival Pittsburgh at Yankee Stadium in the Big Apple, 28-13, as redshirt sophomore tight end Dan Villari went full beast mode and the Orange notched its first Atlantic Coast Conference win of the 2023 season.

Senior quarterback Garrett Shrader was clearly not at 100 percent, and as such, the ‘Cuse only attempted eight passes while generating just 17 yards through the air.

However, on the ground, the Syracuse football offensive line was strong, and the Orange rushing attack punched the Panthers in the collective mouth.

Per statistics provided on, Syracuse football players rushed 66 times for a whopping 382 yards. Three Orange players, led by Villari, recorded at least 90 rushing yards on Saturday in New York City.

Syracuse football was fabulous on the ground in stomping Pittsburgh at a neutral site.

With this outcome, the ‘Cuse (5-5, 1-5 in the ACC) needs to secure at least one more victory in its final two regular-season contests to reach post-season bowl eligibility for the second year in a row. In the setback, Pitt fell to 2-8 overall and 1-5 in the ACC.

Let’s also give some love to the Orange’s Mob defense, which limited the Panthers to a combined 269 yards in this conference clash. The ‘Cuse prevailed in the critical turnover department, 4-1. The Syracuse football defense recovered three fumbles, and redshirt freshman defensive back Jayden Bellamy, a transfer from Notre Dame, had a huge pick-six.

Shrader, it seems, couldn’t really throw the ball. As a result, with perhaps no other significantly viable options available in the passing game, head coach Dino Babers and offensive coordinator Jason Beck opted to run virtually all the time while the Orange was on offense, and it worked versus the Panthers.

Leading the ground attack was the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Villari, a former quarterback at Michigan turned tight end at Syracuse football. The Massapequa, N.Y., native carried the ball 17 times for 154 yards and a score on the ground.

Sophomore running back LeQuint Allen Jr. finished with 102 rushing yards, while Shrader netted 96 yards on the ground along with a rushing touchdown. The team’s other seven points came courtesy of a five-yard touchdown pass by Shrader to junior tight end Maximilian Mang.

I credit Beck for his creativity in the offensive play-calling, although there were some strange-looking formations throughout this game, in my humble opinion. And what the heck was going on when Shrader did a backflip amid an attempted double-pass by other ‘Cuse players?

Regardless, the Orange’s stellar rushing game enabled Syracuse football to hold a roughly 15-minute edge over Pittsburgh in overall time of possession. That was key in this league affair, keeping the ‘Cuse defense fresh, and the Syracuse football Mob was excellent.

In beating Pitt, the Orange also halts a five-game losing streak to the Panthers, although Pittsburgh still holds a 43-33-3 advantage in their all-time series together.

Next up, Syracuse football will travel to Georgia Tech, beginning at 8 pm on Saturday, Nov. 18, and then the Orange will close out its 2023 regular season by hosting Wake Forest on Saturday, Nov. 25.

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