No. 20 Syracuse Extends Losing Streak to Three against Pitt, 19-9
No. 20 Syracuse Football (6-3, 3-2 ACC) dropped its third consecutive game and second by a double-digit margin with a 19-9 loss at Pitt (5-4, 2-3 ACC). With the defeat, SU remains winless (0-10) in Pittsburgh since 2001. The Orange offense struggled throughout as redshirt freshman quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson made his first collegiate start in place of an injured Garrett Shrader. The ‘Cuse totaled its lowest yardage output (145) in a single game since being shutout 30-0 at Louisville in November 2020. Syracuse’s lone point-scorer was kicker Andre Szmyt, who went three-for-four on field goals. SU had possession for just 23 minutes and averaged only three yards per play.
The Orange’s woeful first drive foreshadowed the dim offensive performance ahead. Both running back Sean Tucker and Del Rio-Wilson combined for zero yards on the first two runs of the game. The former had one of his least productive days as a member of The ‘Cuse. Syracuse’s third-year sophomore tallied 12 touches for a total of 22 yards. In three career games against the Panthers, Tucker has run for a mere 71 yards on 23 carries. An SU 3rd-and-10 quickly became 3rd-and-15 after a false start from right guard Chris Bleich. What followed was the first of six sacks for the Pitt defense, the first coming from linebacker Solomon DeShields.
“I don’t think it's the DNA of the (Panthers) front at all,” said Orange head coach Dino Babers postgame. “We didn’t start our left guard. Kalen Ellis did not play in the game along with the quarterback (Shrader). We didn’t get the runs out of the quarterback that we traditionally do. Based on some of those things, and the score, it made it difficult to turn us into too much of a passing team instead of a balanced football team.”
SU’s lack of offense did little to affect its top-20 scoring defense. Pittsburgh averaged under five yards per play and committed a pair of turnovers. The Panthers’ first drive of the evening ended at the Orange 14-yard line after safety Ja’Had Carter snagged his third interception in as many weeks. Five minutes into the third quarter, a failed double pass from Pitt turned into cornerback Isaiah Johnson’s first pick as a member of The ‘Cuse.
Pittsburgh was without the ACC’s leading rusher in Israel Abanikanda, who was sidelined due to an undisclosed injury. Regardless, the Panthers ran for nearly 170 yards behind a strong performance from sophomore Rodney Hammond Jr. The backup running back rumbled through Syracuse for a career-best 124 rushing yards, including a six-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Redshirt senior C’Bo Flemister also found the endzone for Pittsburgh with under two minutes left in the third frame.
Syracuse returns to action on Saturday, November 12 against Florida State in the JMA Wireless Dome. Game time is at 8:00 p.m. while WAER’s coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with McClurg Team Countdown to Kickoff. Before that, the Syracuse Men’s Basketball season begins on Monday, November 7 against Lehigh at 8:00 p.m. Listen to all the action on 88.3 starting at 7:30 p.m. with McClurg Team Countdown to Tip-off.