We don’t know who will be under center for the Orange tomorrow, but we know that Syracuse needs a win if they want to spend another week in the top 25 of the polls (and top 20 of the CFP rankings).
Here’s what we think will happen:
Syracuse 27, Pitt 21
For full transparency, I had Pitt winning this game at first earlier this week. But now that I look deeper into this matchup, I’m liking Syracuse more because of its defense. Yes, Israel Abanikanda is going to be tough to stop, but no one has - not even Tennessee (Side note: people forget Pitt took Tennessee to overtime this season). Opponents are averaging nearly 28 points per game against Pitt, and the Panthers defensed have allowed 24 points in every game with exception to Western Michigan. Pitt’s defense looks like recent Orange defenses - star power in some positions but not enough to bring together all 11 players into a cohesive unit. No matter who starts under center for Syracuse at quarterback, this should be a Sean Tucker game.
Syracuse 23, Pittsburgh 20
I’d guess that we’ll see Carlos Del Rio-Wilson under center for the Orange in this one. That means I’m worried more about the Panthers pass rush than their running game, no offense to Israel Abanikanda. Syracuse native SirVocea Dennis has developed into an All-ACC linebacker and with Calijah Kancey in front of him, the interior of the Orange line will need to be prepared. Del Rio-Wilson showed good arm strength last week, but he also looked a bit jumpy under pressure. Still, I’m going with Syracuse in a close one because I think the Orange defense rebounds from last week and gets back to their havoc-creating ways.
Syracuse 28, Pittsburgh 23
I’m also thinking that CDRW gets the nod to start and with barely any film to analyze, Pitt is at a disadvantage here. The Panthers’ explosive front seven present a major challenge, but Del Rio-Wilson can help offset the pressure if he is willing to hang in the pocket, use his arm strength to fire off precision passes, and probably take a few hits in the process. The key is if he does hit those tight window passes and Orange receivers can hang on to the ball. And if Isaiah Johnson holds down his side in man coverage, then the Mob can stack the box and limit IA’s impact. I’ve got a feeling Mikel Jones makes a big play for GW too.
Syracuse 24, Pitt 17
I’m assuming Abanikanda gets his. But if they can hold him around 100 yards and force Pitt to throw, this game gets into the hands of the Syracuse offense. The secondary can hold their own, even without Garrett Williams’ unfortunate injury. As of this writing, we’re in consensus on CDRW getting the nod, assuming Shrader is still on limited mobility. The different look hopefully helps out and Del Rio-Wilson looked to have a good pocket presence. He’s going to need that with Kancey giving our interior line their biggest challenge on the year.
Who wins the game between Syracuse and Pitt?
This poll is closed
Pitt wins and the meltdown makes the last two weeks seem really tame
Syracuse wins and everyone puts fries and slaw on their Saturday night dinner