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Syracuse football: what to watch for vs Pittsburgh

Can the Orange swing for the fences on Saturday?

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (4-5, 0-5) and Pittsburgh Panthers (2-7, 1-4) take to the diamond on Saturday afternoon for a game that only Sickos can love.

Here’s what we’re watching for:

Kevin: Something new

It could be a new offensive wrinkle, a trick play, or maybe Dino Babers will fight his natural instinct and not put an injured player under center. The way Carlos Del-Rio Wilson looked at the end of Friday’s game doesn’t make me comfortable seeing him back under center on a lousy field behind a weak offensive line. It might not be pretty with Braden Davis or Luke MacPhail taking snaps, but it’s better than watching an injured player thrown to the Panthers.

Dom: Win the possession battle

It’s easier said than done considering Syracuse held the ball for less than half the time Boston College did last week, but part of the reason the Orange stayed close throughout was on the turnover front. It not only kept BC within range but cut promising drives for opponents short. Obviously, the offense failing to execute when it had great field position of its own is equally as much as a concern, which means that (yet again) the defense is going to need to shoulder the burden.

Mike: A LeQuint Allen Career Game

If there’s one player on the entire team who’s still as locked in as he was in Week 1, it’s LeQuint. Other players such as Dan Villari pointed out that while the Orange were just “going through the motions” early in the week, it was Allen who stepped up and reminded them all of what the situation really is and how they can still overcome recent frustrations. It’s also a special week for #1: he’ll be playing in front of family in the Bronx, where he previously had a great Pinstripe Bowl performance. All of Orange Nation would love if after everything that’s happened, Allen ends up being the spark they all needed.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 23 Army at Syracuse Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Max: Stopping third and short

1-for-15. That’s how bad Syracuse’s defense has been on third and three or less over the past three weeks. Pitt presents another challenge with a two-headed monster at running back in Rodney Hammond Jr. and C’Bo Flemister, each averaging over four yards a carry. In a game that’s expected to be extremely low scoring, possessions will be at a premium. The Orange must find a way to stop the Panthers on third and short to give the ball back to the offense.

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What will you be watching for on Saturday afternoon?