For three consecutive weeks the Orange had one task; to win a game.
The Orange were trampled by Louisville 41-3.
The Orange were destroyed by NC State 41-17.
The Orange were beaten by Pitt 31-14.
Each loss held a significant weight as the chances to reign in a bowl game became smaller and smaller. Winning against Pitt did not seem likely in the week of the game. But a promising first half leaving the score Pitt 14 - Syracuse 7 kept fans around.
Those same fans who were around at the end of the first half left before the third quarter could even end. With 4:45 left in the third quarter fans began to exit after Pitt receiver Jordan Addison’s touchdown made the game 28-7. Addison had his way with the Orange racking up 11 receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Along with Addison, the duo of tight ends for Pitt dominated the Orange. Lucas Krull and Gavin Bartholomew finished the game with a combined 11 receptions for 93 yards. Each reception these tight ends caught were followed up by huge runs after the catch. Especially after a catch from Bartholomew that led to him trucking over Syracuse defensive back Garrett Williams.
The Pitt receivers were able to make plays because of their nifty but poised quarterback Kenny Pickett. The display Pickett put on was almost ethereal. Pickett threw for four touchdowns on 209 yards and completed 28 out of 38 passes. Pickett would nickel and dime the Orange and then escape a closing pocket and pick up ten yards for a first down. As Pickett picked the Syracuse defense apart, the Orange could not find any ways to stop him or get things going on offense.
The likelihood of Sean Tucker going missing on a Saturday is highly unlikely. But today, Tucker was nowhere to be found. Pitt’s number one rush defense put the clamps on Tucker, as he only rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries. The expected rushing attack of the Orange was put out early on leading to Syracuse finding other ways to produce on offense.
The usual struggle of passing the ball for the Orange was absent today. Shrader found a way to connect with his receivers 17 times out of 24 passing attempts for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. Courtney Jackson led the day for the Orange with those two touchdown receptions and eight receptions for 92 yards. The role of Jackson has climbed tremendously since the departure of Taj Harris and Shrader seems to have a favorite target in the passing game.
A successful season for the Orange varies in opinion whether it be from Syracuse head coach Dino Babers, a fan, or the media. But being one win away from a bowl game for three games and not winning can be seen as a failure. The Orange dropped another one losing 31-14 to Pitt.