Grading the Orange

Syracuse lost a one point contest to Pitt on Saturday. We hand out our grades inside.

Syracuse lost a close game on Saturday against Pittsburgh, one they felt they should have won. CuseNation.com hands out their grades from the Orange's performance.

Quarterback: C The deep ball was improved from Terrel Hunt, and he was hurt by drops from his receiving corps. Still, he missed some shorter throws with inaccuracy that is just not excusable on some throws at this point in the season.

Running Backs: B The Syracuse backs ran with good power and burst as the most consistent unit on offense. Still, Syracuse finished averaging less than four yards per carry, despite Jerome Smith's 88.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D Alvin Cornelius made a big play for Syracuse, giving them the lead briefly in the third quarter. However, three drops in the end zone and failure to get open consistently really hurt the Orange.

Offensive Line: C Other than Aaron Donald, the offensive line held up pretty well. But Donald was enough of a force to disrupt everything. He even blocked an extra point. It was a rough day for the interior of the Syracuse offensive line. Not to mention, Sean Hickey went down with an injury and it is unclear how serious that may be.

Defensive Line: B The defensive line helped generate pressure on Pitt quarterback Tom Savage and was solid against the run.

Linebackers: A The Syracuse linebackers blitzed to perfection on Saturday, hitting Savage hard throughout the game. Marquis Spruill and Cam Lynch each sacked the Pitt quarterback, and Dyshawn Davis made a couple plays against the run. Luke Arciniega came in for Spruill late in the game due to injury and made what could have been a game turning interception.

Secondary: B Arguably the thinnest group on the Syracuse roster, the secondary held up admirably. They still gave up two third and longs that led to 10 Pittsburgh points, but Durell Eskridge was a force all day.

Special Teams; F The return game struggled, as usual. Surprisingly, Riley Dixon did as well. But those weren't the big stories. Ryan Norton had an extra point blocked and missed a critical field goal late in the game. Those two plays were huge factors in Syracuse's loss.

Overall Grade: C- The defense was very good on Saturday and played well enough to win, but the offense and special teams hurt the Orange. Too many drops and lack of execution in key spots.


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