Syracuse suffered a 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Here are three quick takeaways before we dive in:
1. Needed That, Didn't Get It
This was a win Syracuse desperately needed if it wants any hopes of going to a bowl game. I wrote last week that those hopes could be thrown out the window with a loss, and now they really should be tossed away. There were a number of reasons the Orange lost, but once again, the defense couldn't come up with a stop on a key drive in the fourth quarter.
At 3-4, SU is entering the gauntlet of its schedule, which features -- in order -- Florida State, Louisville, Clemson and N.C. State. Remember when you dreaded a 3-0 start en route to a 3-9 final record? Well, that's what could be happening.
2. Dungey Returns After Helmet-to-Helmet Hit
Early in the third quarter, disaster nearly struck again for Syracuse. After taking a helmet-to-helmet hit, Eric Dungey lay motionless on the Carrier Dome turf, just as he did after taking a helmet-to-helmet against Central Michigan on Sept. 19. Dungey popped back up without any help, but he was still taken to the locker room to be evaluated.
This time, though, Dungey (presumably) passed the concussion protocol and was back for the next series. It's impossible to say for sure whether there was causation, but he was less than sharp upon returning. After going 15-of-20 with two touchdowns and no interceptions before leaving the game, he threw interceptions on consecutive series after re-entering. And with that, SU couldn't muster up much offensively -- only three second-half points -- and lost in-part because of it.