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Syracuse football: Three takeaways from old-fashioned 28-13 victory over Pitt

‘Cuse unlocked their Thunder to finally get into the conference win column.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that often seemed to be a visual tribute to century-old football, the Syracuse Orange defeated the Pitt-iful Panthers 28-13 at Yankee Stadium. If you missed watching this game live, you might be surprised to hear that the Orange offense was not just effective, but outright suffocating at points.

Here’s how SU got it done with their backs against the wall:

A Throwback to Innovation

Syracuse did not need to rely on such novelties as the forward pass to win today. No, they went with a much simpler strategy, one that allowed the Service Academies and certain other programs like Georgia Tech to dominate for many years: bulldoze everyone. The Orange ran a small variety of run packages, leaning heavily on the Wildcat and a lot of pre-snap motion.

Syracuse had 399 total yards of offense - 382 were on the ground.

The most variation from that was Garrett Shrader’s sole completion of the day, a 5-yard touchdown pass to Max Mang on the opening drive. That is also a variation in that it was SU’s first TD on an initial possession of a game this season. While Shrader did return to action and started the game at quarterback, a former QB stood out the most in another role.

Thunder Dan is the Man

The Orange finally Sent Villari. Good things happened. This is all the proof you need of our credibility.

Seriously thought, no one saw this coming. Dan Villari DOMINATED and all he had to do was run up the gut and fight off tackles left and right. He had 17 rushes for 154 yards and a TD that gave SU a comfortable pad at the start of the 4th quarter.

While I was counting on a big day from LeQuint Allen (who finished with 102 yards of rushing in front of family), it was the Long Island native who picked up a career day in a completely unexpected way.

There are few on the team than deserved it more than the converted TE who still came out to compete in a bleak situation. That said, he wasn’t the only one who clearly hasn’t given up.

Bellamy Breaks Through

The Mob finally got the turnovers they’ve been searching for, four of them in fact... and Jayden Bellamy had two of them, including a pick-six to push ‘Cuse ahead by 8.

All told, the turnovers resulted in 21 points for a team that has been struggling to turn defensive stops into offensive production.

Individually, the emergence of the Notre Dame transfer in SU’s secondary has alleviated some issues that were present in the middle third of the schedule. For all the slack Dino Babers has gotten recently (much of it warranted), he absolutely got this offseason addition right.