The Syracuse Orange host the No. 25 Pittsburgh Panthers in the Carrier Dome on Saturday for a classic nooner on
Orange Central Homecoming Weekend. Will the Orange get off the schnide and get one critical game closer to bowl eligibility? Or will this be a continuation of the slide into the pits of despair? Let's find out what everyone thinks...
Score: Pitt 34 - Syracuse 27
MVP: Nate Peterman
Hopefully the Syracuse offense goes to the strategy used in the first two OT drives at Virginia and gives a heavy dose of touches to the top playmakers. Both teams want to grind it out in a slow-paced game, so the Orange would be wise to try and go to the air early to then establish the run. I think this will end up higher scoring than expected because both offenses will make some big plays early. Look for Pitt to follow the blueprint of SU's opponents and let Peterman throw the ball against a struggling secondary. Tyler Boyd's the best player on the field in this game and look for him to make enough plays downfield to enable the Panthers to steal a road win.
Score: Pitt 34 - Syracuse 20
MVP: Tyler Boyd
At home, Syracuse should be able to hang around for a while. But Pittsburgh is the superior team; the Panthers' only loss came to Iowa on a 57-yard field goal. SU's defense simply won't be able to pull out enough stops, and a couple connections between Nathan Peterman and Tyler Boyd will be the difference.
Score: Pitt 27 - Syracuse 19
MVP: Tyler Boyd
Both teams look sloppy early, Pitt finds a rhythm late in the first half to establish a lead, Syracuse cuts into it and makes it a game into the fourth, and the Panthers pull away at the end. Rinse, and repeat. Pitt has done a very good job adjusting and getting past what could have been some devastating injuries, but I think it is the established star—wide receiver Tyler Boyd—that makes the difference. He has torched Syracuse in the past, and this is probably the weakest Orange secondary that he'll have faced.
Score: Pitt 9 - Syracuse 6
MVP: Riley Dixon
This is my least favorite game of the year: I almost went to Pitt, so everyone reminds me that Pitt has dominated Syracuse over the last four years or so AND we're going to see to an ugly game. So in the spirit of things, I'll say neither offense really goes anywhere and Syracuse's offense finally snaps this week, leading to some of the worst quotes from Lester and Dungey yet. Riley Dixon punts 9 times, averaging 45+ yards and pinning Pitt back far enough to keep it competitive.
Score: Pitt 34 - Syracuse 26
MVP: Eric Dungey
As we've seen for the last two games, the Orange aren't competing without Dungey playing well. This one, despite the W-L disparity, is likely going to be close, and you can point to the freshman QB as to why. Yes, he may take too many hits and too many risks, but if SU stands a chance against what's become an efficient Pitt offense and a sturdy Panthers defense, it's on him. As Michael pointed out earlier in the week, the Pitt secondary will test him quite a bit. But I have faith his legs can help keep the Orange in this one for most of the contest (though ultimately ending in a loss).
Score: Pitt 27 - Syracuse 17
MVP: Tyler Boyd
The most important thing is to not look at this game with preseason eyes. In the preseason, it looked like a toss-up. That ain't the case now. Pitt comes in as a more talented team. Yeah they needed a huge field goal to win last week but Syracuse knows a thing or two about not closing out close games in the final moments so it's not to be overlooked. I don't think it will be a blowout, I think Syracuse is good enough to keep it close and even challenge Pitt. But I think our secondary will be our undoing eventually and that'll be that.
What do you think?