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November 19, 2013
Syracuse Team Report
This week the Syracuse Orange head back into the Carrier Dome and will play the Pittsburgh Panthers. Here is a quick look at both teams heading into this week.
Syracuse (5-5, 3-3)
Last Game: Florida State 59, Syracuse 3. The Orange was blown out early in the road loss, trailing 28-0 after one quarter. Syracuse avoided a shutout with a field goal with 7:42 remaining, but it was small consolation.
Takeaway: The Orange had a two-game winning streak snapped, but it showed again the difficulty it is having tangling with the upper-echelon teams in the ACC.
Now, Syracuse has losses to Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State. All of those have come by blowouts.
At least the last two games might be played more at Syracuse's speed. The Orange has matchups against old Eastern rivals, facing Pittsburgh and Boston College.
There will be concerns about how healthy the Orange is going forward. The loss at Florida State took a physical toll. CB Julian Whitgham ended up in the hospital, while the offense had several battered players at the skill positions.
Even before that, the offense has clicked best with a run-first, straight-ahead approach. Even with the big early deficit against Florida State, the passing attack rarely clicked.
Pittsburgh (5-5, 2-4)
Last Game: North Carolina 34, Pittsburgh 27. The Panthers wiped out a 24-point, second-half deficit to tie the game, but they yielded WR Ryan Switzer's game-winning 61-yard punt return with less than five minutes to play. For a defense that was picked apart early, the Panthers perked up on that side of the ball in the second half.
Takeaway: The Panthers had a significant comeback and then couldn't finish against North Carolina because of a breakdown on special teams.
But not performing well enough consistently on offense is hiding some of the improvements on defense.
QB Tom Savage has had some strong outings, but the Panther went stale when he missed time during the game with North Carolina with a knee injury. He returned and that seemed to provide a spark.
The sad part for the Panthers is that didn't cultivate momentum after defeating Notre Dame. Instead, it looked like a letdown that they vowed to avoid.
Now it's back to some of the Big East type of days for the Panthers. Their final two games of the regular season come against Syracuse and Miami.