The Syracuse Orange once again failed to show up for a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. A terrible 3rd-down play call early spoiled the best chance the Orange had to score a touchdown on the day and Pat Narduzzi got to enjoy an ugly, ugly win.
So now the Orange are 6-3. They won’t be ranked and the injuries continue to pile up. Carlos Del Rio-Wilson started 6-10 then went 2-13. He was throwing high all day. He was locked onto primary reads and he was under relentless pressure.
A lot of you were screaming for Sean Tucker to get more hand-offs. Tucker finished with 10 carries for 19 yards and 3 receptions for 7 yards. Oronde Gadsden II was targeted six times and finished without a catch. He would have walked into the end zone in the fourth quarter if the ball wasn’t thrown over his head. Syracuse had 48 snaps on offense yesterday and they tried to feed their best weapons- 10 of CDRW’s 23 pass attempts went to those two players.
There’s no more Orange Bowl talk and the Cheez-It Bowl might be out of reach as well. As excited as many were about the 6-0 start has been surpassed by how any of you are angry over the three-game losing streak.
However, let’s have a little perspective here. This is the Syracuse football poll history since 2001. Did you think that it was 1996 again and the Orange were going to be a 9 or 10 win team just like that?
Yes the last three games could have been wins. That’s the understandable frustration. What doesn’t make sense are the people acting as though this coaching staff isn’t improved. Robert Anae might be too conservative at this point (goal-line toss play not withstanding), because the Orange cannot move anyone on the defensive front. That doesn’t mean he didn’t provide a big boost to the offense this season.
We knew the Orange would need their back-up QB this season and Del Rio-Wilson looked like an inexperienced college quarterback. The defense has done a tremendous job to try and hold up while being under-manned and on the field far too long. They have held up better than Syracuse groups who had the same fate throughout Dino’s tenure.
Babers is coming back and the off-season will be pivotal. He’s going to have to work hard to make sure another successful September wins back the casual fans. I’ll say it again- he hasn’t earned another extension, he’s merely bought himself and the program more time to build to get back to the consistent level needed in the ACC.
I already know who will respond to this negatively and that’s your perspective. Just don’t expect me to claim that this season isn’t a success. It’s the first week in November and we’re not trying to come up with some crazy scenario to get six wins. Beating Florida State and/or Wake without Shrader doesn’t seem likely, but maybe sitting him now will allow him to be back and closer to 100% than if he were asked to play through injury. If not and the Orange can only finish 7-5 and go to the Pinstripe Bowl, it’s not the worst thing from where we all sat in August.
And if you don’t like what I think, well basketball season starts tomorrow.