With nothing on the line but playing spoiler, Syracuse certainly seemed disinterested in this game from the start -- as evidenced by an kickoff returned for a TD that ended up getting called back. From there, it was the Pitt ground attack simply running all over the Orange to the tune of 262 yards, while Syracuse's offense simply had no answer. Three turnovers, lackluster play-calling and an inability to execute in the red zone (surprise!) were all the SU offense could muster in what was one of its most pitiful performances of the season.
Pitt did the Orange some favors, mind you. That early called-back TD, two missed Chris Blewitt field goals and a late first-half interception all gave Syracuse chances to assert themselves. But the mistakes just piled up instead, and Syracuse showed itself to be exactly what we thought it was: a bad football team that has a LONG way to go before it's a good football team again. The drop-off from 2012 to now has been precipitous. But it happened, and now we have to deal with the results (and rebuild). If you want to sum up this season in one play, perhaps the inexplicable decision to punt on fourth and less than one, down 23 in the fourth quarter would be your main reference point.
It's tough to find an overwhelming number of bright spots in results like this one, but we'll add a few, just for the sake of not burning this thing to the ground over a game we all were resigned to Syracuse losing anyway:
- Freshman corner Antwan Cordy grabbed his first pick of the season. Nice job, man!
- Steve Ishmael, after several weeks of being MIA (thanks, double coverage), re-asserted himself in a huge way, catching six passes for 97 yards.
- The TANK! Ron Thompson earned himself a one-yard touchdown. Syracuse Football: Where we need our defensive linemen to punch it into the end zone.
- A.J. Long actually ran well and looked to move well in the pocket too, completing 10 passes for 149 yard and also running for 30 yards.
- George Morris showed up for the first time in a month, and did not disappoint, racking up 34 yards on four carries
But seriously: Are you mad, Orange fan? Because you should be. The downward spiral that seemed to (hopefully, really) culminate at Heinz Field today has been swift and painful. And when you look at what this offense is not capable of (anything), you have to wonder why the program won't be searching for another option at offensive coordinator beyond Tim Lester. While Lester has had odds stacked against him, he's also had a half-season to get things going and has still been unable to really generate anything worth bragging about. He's not the only person worth pointing a finger at -- want to call that out up-front -- but it's hard not to raise at least a few questions based on what we've seen during a miserable second half of the year.
But what do you think? The "formidable" Syracuse defense allowed over 450 yards today (including -- AGAIN -- 262 yards on the ground), 30 points and 27 first downs. There was nothing competitive or encouraging about the performance. It was, for all intents and purposes, simply bad. There's nothing on the line anymore in 2014 except pride. And even that, it would seem, has been tossed aside in favor of... whatever this is.
We'll muster up some additional recap content between today and Tuesday, but really, do you care? I don't blame you for not buying into anything this team does anymore. I can barely do so myself.
Consider this your open thread for the evening while you watch other teams do things more watchable than this was.