Missed opportunities marred Syracuse's attempt at becoming bowl eligible as they lost to Pittsburgh by one point. The Orange had an extra point blocked, missed a field goal, dropped three passes in the end zone, and were half a second away from executing a fake field goal to win the game.
Shortly after Alvin Cornelius' diving touchdown catch gave Syracuse the lead midway through the third quarter, the Panthers responded with a long scoring drive of their own in what would prove to be the game winning score.
Offensive Player of the Game:
Terrel Hunt's numbers were not spectacular, but he was the best player for the Orange in this one. He was let down by drops throughout, but he showed the best command of the offense to that point in the season.
Defensive Player(s) of the Game:
Durell Eskridge continued his strong play by flying all over the field. He led the Orange with 12 tackles, one for loss, and forced a fumble. Linebacker Cameron Lynch had 11 tackles, three for loss, and two sacks.
What We Learned:
Terrel Hunt was developing as a quarterback but the injuries to the receiving corps prevented a breakout game. The ground game continued to be solid, but the interior of the offense line struggled against Aaron Donald.
The defense seems to bring more and more pressure week after week, and they dialed blitzes throughout against Pitt quarterback Tom Savage. Syracuse looked like a bowl team, but was inches away on several occasions from taking control of the game.
Impact on the Season:
The loss put Syracuse's bowl hopes in serious doubts. With a Heisman Trophy candidate coming in the following week, and Syracuse seemingly having several opportunities to win the game, the Orange appeared to have blown their best shot to get that all important sixth win.
It was a deflating loss that would test the mental fortitude of this Syracuse squad once again.