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Shafer has a great first half. Then...
It just was not meant to be. Syracuse head for about 51 minutes. Then Syracuse allowed a Pitt final drive, which included a converted 4th down fake punt, to kick a game winning field goal as time expired. Awful to watch as the defense seemed helpless. Syracuse lost 23 to 20. To the abbreviated report card.
Dungey gave it a good effort. And the first couple drives of the game gave us all hope that this was going to be a good game, with Syracuse moving the ball on offense. But two picks in the second half really hurt SU's chances at winning. And the running game only provided a couple big plays. A tail of two halves.
Had to get a stop at the end of the game. The defense was either gassed, given bad play calls, or were just plain not as talented. To repeat what I've said again and again, the way to beat Syracuse is pass. Syracuse hasn't had a good secondary in over ten years. They continue to allow big plays or even just chain moving plays at will late in games.
Special Teams
Not much to complain about except allowing a 4th down conversion on a fake punt on the final drive. Dixon was great, and Murphy was perfect on the day.
Shafer had everything going in the first half. The staff made good calls, got some stops, and won all their challenges (which I was most impressed with). Then halftime happened. And Pitt outcoached Shafer and his staff almost the entire second half.
C+ (2.25)
Syracuse owned the first half in almost every phase, but when you give the other team two more possessions through picks, but more importantly don't score yourself, it makes it hard to win. Not getting a stop on the final opponent drive with time ticking down ruins the day for everyone. If Syracuse can figure out how to close out a game this could be a team worth believing in. As of right now, I'm not sure they could close down a lane of traffic.
Syracuse's schedule only gets more fun with Florida State, Louisville, and Clemson coming up. L'ville is the most vulnerable, but none of them are easy and probably all are losses. Giddy up.

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