With 9:20 left in the game on Saturday, Syracuse Orange kicker Ryan Norton kicked off and Pitt got a chance to drive 95 yards down the field to try and win the game, currently stuck at 20-20. In spite of two penalties, the Panthers drove down, down, down the field at a solid clip, eating up chunks of time along the way. They did it with four-yard and five-yard runs. They did it with big passes. They did it with a fourth-down fake-punt right out of the Riley Dixon playbook. In the end, they pulled up at the six-yard-line with three second left, giving Chris Blewitt a chipshot opportunity to win the game. Which he did.
There's that thing they say about hindsight. You know it. I know it. I don't know about you but I remember thinking at one point as Pitt dominated our defense one last time and appeared to have the game in their grasp, was there something that Syracuse could do to stop what was coming? We all knew Pitt was going to do what they did. They did it. Of course they did.
But what if we flipped the script? What if we had let Pitt just waltz into the end zone at one point so we could get the ball back? Could it have worked? Was it worth a shot?
Pitt got to the 22-yard-line at the 2:25 mark. They got to the 18-yard-line at 1:39 and Syracuse called it's last timeout. At that point, we all knew that Pitt was just going to grind clock and set up the field goal. We also knew that SU's defense was not going to stop the proceedings. They were gassed. They were dominated. It was obvious.
So what Syracuse came out of the timeout, let Qadree Ollison take the handoff and then scamper right into the end zone? It'd make it 27-20 and give the Orange about a minute to work a miracle.
Now of course, the game was tied at the moment. It was entirely possible that Blewitt would have missed. It was entirely possible that the kick could have been blocked (ala Georgia Tech). It was entirely possible that any number of things could have happened as tends to happen in college football.
It would have taken a serious collection of heuvos rancheros to call that kind of play, but maybe that's the kind of decision-making that Syracuse needs right now. With the defense more porous than Swiss cheese and the game on the line, why not put the ball in the hands of Eric Dungey and the offense and let them take one more shot?
It's probably not "smart" football, but I guess that makes us the smart 3-4 team.