SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse defense did it's job again on Saturday, giving the Orange a great opportunity for a win that would have clinched bowl eligibility. They weren't able to pull out the victory, falling to Pittsburgh 17-16 inside the Carrier Dome.
Despite that, it was another strong showing for a defense that has been solid throughout the season. They held the Panthers to only 239 total yards, including only 21 on the ground. The Orange got into the Pitt backfield routinely, making quarterback Tom Savage's life miserable.
They only sacked Savage three times, but hit him time and time again as he threw the ball. Marquis Spruill delivered huge blows twice to Savage, one resulting in a sack. Cam Lynch also got his hands on Savage multiple times, finishing with two sacks.
Hits kept coming from the Syracuse defense as they tried to lead their team to a victory once again. In fact, they even forced two turnovers. The first, a fumble recovery at the end of the first half. But the Orange could only muster a field goal off of that opportunity.
The second, an interception by Luke Arciniega early in the fourth quarter. The result of the ensuing drive was a missed field goal.
Durell Eskridge had a monster game, finishing with 12 tackles (one for loss) and forcing a fumble. The sophomore safety was all over the field, and has become a big time player for the defense this season.
It's hard to do much more than the Syracuse defense has done for most of the year, but they keep battling as the Orange look for that all-important sixth victory. With one game left against Boston College next Saturday, they will need to step up once again.