2022 Season Up Next: Pitt vs. Syracuse

Pitt is coming off its fourth loss (and three of its last four games) losing to North Carolina 24-42. Last week, I talked about Pitt not winning the turnover battle in its prior losses. Pitt lost the turnover battle against UNC losing one fumble while UNC had zero turnovers. IMO, that fumble was the turning point in the game.

Pitt got the ball back late in the third quarter losing 24 – 28 after a UNC TD. On a 3rd and one at the fifty, Izzy fumbled and game over.

Pitt is now 4 – 4 (1-3 Conf, 3-1 OOC and sits in fifth place in the Coastal.

The Syracuse Orange have now lost two games in a row losing to Notre Dame 24 – 41. Overall, they are 6 – 2 (3-1 Conf, 3-1 OOC). They are in second place in the Atlantic.

Below is the schedule for both teams.

I am now in color coding mode. Red is for Transfer Portal (TP) entries. Green is for season ending injuries. Names highlighted in yellow are defensive players starters. (Games started are next to Oline and Defense players names.)

Here are the NCAA offensive stats comparison after week 9 action:

You can make a case for either offense being better, but I will go with the Orange. Mainly because I am on a turnover tantrum. Syracuse has turned the ball over nine times to Pitt’s thirteen.

The offense revolves around QB play. Like last week, I am showing some of the ACC QB stats I update weekly. I use ESPN game stats for my individual team stats but always verify with NCAA stats.

Normally, I only show YTD summary line for the backup QB’s. That is partially true as the stats line for Patti and Yarnell are for the only game they played this season. I added Carlos Del Rio-Wilson’s stat lines for the only four games he has played in his career. I guess that the three prior game action in blowout Orange wins set him up for success against Notre Dame.

Rio-Wilson was a 2021 (Rivals 5.9  4-star) Florida recruit. He transferred to Syracuse for the 2022 season.

The Cuse normal starting QB is Garrett Schrader. But he was injured in the first half of the Notre Dame game. At this time, HC Dino Babers when asked about the status of Schrader for the Pitt game said that “it was too much information to disclose.” Does that sound like HCPN. To me, it is only normal head coach speech.

RB’s and WR comparison:

We know who the bell cows RB’s are – Tucker and Izzy. Tucker is having a down year compared to 2021. He averaged 125 yards / game at a 6.2 per rush attempt last year. He is down to 94 / game this year. But that probably is a result of the improved passing offense under their new OC Robert Anae.

Both Syracuse QB’s are running threats either by scrambling or designed running plays.

The main beneficiary of the improved passing attack is WR Oronde Gadsden-a big and tall (6’4”) target. Excluding the RB’s and TE’s, Gadsden accounts for 40% of the WR’s catches (41 of 103 receptions). Do the other WR’s have a penchant for the “dropsies” or bad route running?

If Anae were Pitt’s OC, Pitt fans would be up in arms over the use of TE’s. The lone Orange TE has 3 catches for 18 yards.

On to the offensive lines. Chart includes players with game experience, TFL’s and sacks allowed statistics and a breakdown of pass/run/sacks ratios, average offense plays per games, True TFL’s Allowed as a percentage of Adjusted run plays and average offensive plays per game.

Unlike Pitt, the Orange Oline has not suffered the injury bug. Pitt’s opponent does a better job at rush blocking but has allowed more sacks.

Based on Avg plays/game, Syracuse seems to be a more deliberate, slower playing team. But my calculated seconds/play (RB/WR comparison chart), plays faster than Pitt. That conundrum can be explained by the passing completion percentage – Pitt 57.9%, Syracuse 64.8%. Another example of the interplay of statistics.

That ends the Offensive review. On to the defense. I am starting with NCAA defensive stats.

Syracuse had a solid defense last year. This year, they stepped it up. NCAA Top 20 in in four categories (out of 15 categories) including total defense and passing yards allowed. But what makes me a believer is the turnovers they are forcing.

Let us take a look at the individual defense stats. I am only showing those defensive players with five or more total tackles. Starting with the Orange.

Syracuse has 29 players making a defensive stat. I am showing the stats of 24 players on a 5-tackle two deep (including two starters credited with a start but have less than five tackles). All 29 players stats by designated position group, and the stats of the 18 listed starters.

Syracuse has been able to keep up their NCAA/Conference stats even with a slew of injuries. The latest is the loss of DB Garett Williams for the remainder of the season. He suffered a torn ACL against Notre Dame.

LB Mikel Jones is a stud. He will be going pro in the near future.

On to the Pitt defensive players statistics and Havoc Defense.

Pitt has 33 players making a defensive stat. I am showing the stats of 26 players on a 5-tackle two deep. All 33 players stats by designated position group, and the stats of the 17 listed starters.

What can I say about the Pitt defense. I am just frustrated at the lack of generated turnovers.

Miscellaneous NCAA stats:

Hey, a team that only averages half a yard more than Pitt’s punters.

Breaking News: Pitt has fallen out of the Top 10 in Time of Possession.

Is it an ACC vendetta against northern teams because the Orange are even worse than Pitt in the penalties categories.

That’s it, Fort Pitt.

I will not be writing next week’s Up Next –  Virginia article. Mike (aka Michelangelo, MM, Maestro) has graciously offered to pick up the job.

61 thoughts on “2022 Season Up Next: Pitt vs. Syracuse

  1. Great stuff Richard…thanks for putting in the time for the POV.
    I can’t get a feel for this team at all except they are predictable and mistake prone. Not a good combo.
    Looking forward to The Big Tailgate Saturday and hosting all the POV dignitaries.
    Hoping to get the Offense back on track and score in the 35 range.
    Pitt 35 Orange 30.


    1. Thanks – Never did thank the Red 5A group for hosting my brother and me for the GT game. Turned out to be the high light of the day. Hope the dignitaries have a great time both before and after.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this write-up. I think there is an error in the remaining games on Syracuse’s schedule. Their last 4 games should be:

    @ Pitt
    vs. Fla State
    @ Wake Forest
    @ Boston College

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for catching that error. You are correct.

    The whole chart is wrong, as I didn’t properly update my templet. The remaining Cuse opponents are actually North Carolina opponents.

    Hopefully, I can edit out the chart and update with the corrected one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Richard, you have provided outstanding opponent reviews and this one is another in your line of useful information.

    This game is the turning point game for both teams. Syracuse to some degree has been revived by Anae as OC and he is using his mostly 3*** players to the best of their ability….maybe saving Biebers job. The Orange have had a wacky schedule playing total Humpty Dumpty’s like UConn and completely outclassed tiny Wagner. Losing to Clemson and The Domers is not a disgrace but they have an obvious talent advantage over the Cuse.
    A healthy Shrader is a potent weapon against our on-again/off-again defense and Tucker can be a game-breaker. What team will show up on Saturday for The Orange? The much improved or the fading into the printed wallpaper Biebers citrus fruit?

    The same can be said about our “Our guys played their hearts out” team. Slovis/Izzy or is it Izzy/Slovis. Cignetti offense from 1998 or holy moly Cignetti offense ready for 2022?
    Can our defense put heavy pressure on Shrader or Del-Rio or will they kill themselves once more with absolutely mind-blowing stupid penalties? Do we have receivers and a tight end?

    I think this game is so unpredictable that it could end in a tie with the winner’s field goal kicker knocking one over the goalpost from 49 yards. “OUR GUYS PLAYED HARD”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. After I read the above article I pulled up my list of Pitt football bookmarks on my tablet and I went through all them; the blogs both local & national, the professional websites, Pitt’s own football websites… everything I could to see if there’s anything like this type and quality of an article in anywhere else online.

    There isn’t and won’t be in the future because Richard writes on here. It is rather intimidating 🙂

    This is the most fantastic and unique type of writing and we have it on the POV and it is so informative that I wish I could share it with the world in other ways…but let them come to us!

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Thank you Richard. Awesome stats.

    Pitt will not beat Cuse with Slovis at QB! Broken record still spinning!

    Could someone post how to get to our bash at Red5A ? I’ll be coming over on the subway. Thx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go up the North Shore T Station escalator…go outside…. turn left… thats Red 5A.
      Look up… there is a highway overpass. Walk undeneath it in the parking lot and look to your left. You may see the POV flag in the back corner. We are next to the back exit of the parking deck that is above the T station.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. To add one more note to JoeL’s excellent directions: Look for a big green box (electrical transformer) on an elevated pedestal. Our tailgate will be set up right next to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This game will determine if we go to a bowl. Even if we win, the bowl will most likely be with a MAC team.


    1. Maybe Shockey (as the Biletnikoff Award winner) will get to play vs our secondary and break every Akron record on the books.


  8. this is a winnable game IF Slovis gets knocked out,,,, definitely can’t root for that, idt

    I still think Cig is the biggest problem but I just can’t see this team playing quite the same for Slow and they would for Patti or even Yarnell

    Acrisure likely to be quiet and what little I’ve seen of Syracuse, their defense looks better than Louisville so no reason to thing Pitt should win yet if the Orange QB is out we should see an exciting game

    if we have our starting QB and they have theirs Pitt 9 Syracuse 24

    if both don’t Pitt 22 Cuse 17

    if we do and they don’t Pitt 11 Cuse 13

    if we don’t and they do Pitt 27 Cuse 26

    is Hammond healthy? because if Slow is playing Cuse loads up and knocks out Izzy and flings around Flea(who gives by far the most amazing lb for lb effort on the team) as this o-line continues to struggle

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I believe the last time Pitt faced Anae’s offense it was a shootout with Pitt coming out on top. Pitt can’t win a shootout with Cignetti’s offense. This could be another bad loss. Hope I am wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saved the link to Sports Spyder. Gives me more to read about opponents. There is actually at least one Duke site (Bull Durham) who actually talks about football.


  10. When we look at the success of the running game, I think Cig is taking a bit of an unfair hit. Why could he be so successful in the running game? Because this offense has talent there with good backs and an OL that has size, experience, and can handle the blocking techniques.

    The passing game has too many moving parts, and the players are not as good and experienced playing together. The OL has not adapted sufficiently to Slovis’ pocket passing style. He is not the running QB that we had with Pickett, and the OL must adapt to the style of the QB that is running the offense. This includes better pass protection from the RBs.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. The Pitt offense almost totally relies on Izzy breaking free for some long runs. Absent that you see many Izzy -1, 1 and 2 yard runs when the stacked box gets to him early. The Cuse has quite a few D injuries and it may give Pitt a chance to pull out a win. But what I see coming is many Slovis sacks and almost sacks that turn into turnovers. CUSE 31 Pitt10 as “stubborn Narduzzi” will ride with Slovis right up to the final whistle.


  12. Well, let’s see. The Cuse has a bunch of d players hurt and the conventional thinking is we may be able to run on them. How much you wanna bet the Cig comes out throwing? Both he and Il Duzze try to get way too cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Syracuse has too many injuries and are mentally broken. Pitt covers and then some.

    Pitt 31
    Syracuse 19

    That whiskey is gonna taste fine after this game.

    Armed forces appreciation day. Pitt brings a howitzer to this contest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mentally broken? After losing to Clemson by 5 (at Clemson) then a good ND team??

      What does that say for us losing to a poor GT team, UL then killed by NC?

      If SYR is broken then we are dead and buried.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Richard – thank you. Agree on the Izzy fumble, but the other game-changer play was when SirVocea, of all people, took a bad angle on that 4th and 5 play and allowed Maye to make the 1st down. Tough to blame SirVocea for anything when he’s making tackles all over the field, but that one hurt.

    I hope we don’t use the first half trying to wear down the Orange DLine. That will be boring – Izzy left; Izzy right…

    My guess is Pitt finds a way to win this game…. Maybe they will be inspired by the POV celebrities in attendance…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I see this game as a toss up. I don’t care what the bookies say. Lucky breaks, bad calls will determine the outcome. Hope for a 56-55 entertainment gem. But not expecting it.


  16. App State and Coastal Carolina on ESPN… always a very entertaining game….BigB likes to be entertained!!!


  17. Great work, Richard! Another home run! Much appreciated!

    Who knows what to expect on Saturday. There is no unit, except maybe at running back, that can be reliably counted on to come through. It is getting late in the season to get things straightened out.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You guys probably already know this…but I didn’t. SirVocea was a 2-star recruit with only one power 5 offer (Pitt).
    Sometimes you just find ‘em. Wish we had 5 of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Just watched some of the Rice vs. UTEP game. My Fightin’ Rice Owls got the win 37-30 with a late TD. Their QB threw for over 300 yards and had a couple nice runs.

    Go Owls!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coastal Carolina 35 APP State 28…..what exciting football!!! Wonder how Nard-dog would fair against those teams?


      1. One of my son’s is a Rice grad and my daughter is a grad of Rice’s graduate school of music…

        So the Rice Owls are the Owls I root for…👍. Last night’s win made Rice 5 and 4. They haven’t been bowl eligible in ages.

        Here’s a bit of Rice trivia:
        Super Bowl VIII was played on January 13, 1974 at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas. This was the first time the Super Bowl venue was not home to that of an NFL franchise. At the time, the Astrodome seated just over 50,000, and was considered too small to host a Super Bowl. Rice Stadium capacity was 70,000. This was also the first Super Bowl not to be held in either the Los Angeles, Miami or New Orleans areas. It was also the last Super Bowl, and penultimate game overall (the 1974 Pro Bowl in Kansas City played the next week was the last) to feature goal posts at the front of the end zone (they were moved to the endline, in the back of the end zone, the next season).

        Trivia factoid #2:
        Rice Stadium hosted John F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the Moon” speech in 1962. One of the great lines of all time in a presidential speech, IMHO: “Why choose to go to the moon? Why does Rice play Texas?…”

        Go Pitt.


        1. I think it was Rice back in late 70″s or early 80’s were a Texas A&M leader of the Corp of Cadets chased either band members or cheerleaders off the field with a drawn sword.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The Rice band is the “Marching Owl Band,” known as the “MOB.” My son was in the MOB. They dress like mobsters and are notorious for doing performances designed and intended to agitate their opponents and their opponents fans…

            So, Richard, your post makes sense to me…


    2. Rice is an OUTSTANDING school and you have a right to be proud of your kids. Beautiful campus too. Rice is a Vanderbilt, academics first and winning is secondary>>>baseball teams are generally excellent Go OWLS and go my Quakers, education should always be a priority!!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Richard – excellent analysis as usual! Thanks for giving all of us something to chew on.

    I believe the game was lost before Izzy’s fumble… UNC’s 2nd possession in the 3rd qtr… our defense couldn’t get off the field and then UNC held Pitt in its next series.

    Have no idea what to expect on Sat… but don’t see Pitt winning unless Slovis plays well for a complete game…. which hasn’t happened this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joe, I think the scales of the game were tipped to the Heels favor when they stepped onto the field….they have possibly the best QB Maye/ WR Downs and Green in the country. PITT had to interrupt the passing game and failed to do so…Jimmies and Joes.


  21. I also predict our d will stink and they will run all over us. Il Duzze’s d will once again frustrate all Pitt fans.( can ya tell I’ve about had it?).


    1. Randy, I know where you are coming from ……FIRE NARDUZZI !!!!! When I think about the next 3 years of PITT football I get a queasy “Dave Hart” feeling in my gut !


  22. If Shrader plays the Orangemen will win by 10. We will witness more of the same…some nice Izzy runs but not enough, our D giving up a couple of quick scores, Tucker having a good game and our boy Hollywood Slovis doing his thing…the Cuse is DUE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I know that many disagree with me on this but I believe that to recruit well, meaning four and five-star recruits, you have to have some sort of an elite season to be able to point back to.

    We missed that last year when Kenny Pickett decided to sit out instead of playing the bowl game. There’s a big difference between 11 wins and 12 wins in college football.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Off Topic – Dan you will enjoy this. Many years ago on here I explained how basketball recruiting actually happened for the blue blood schools. The apparel companies paid to get players to go to the dukes, kansas’, MSU’s, etc. They paid the players big money and the AAU coaches under the guise of apparel brand growth. The coaches would tell the nike.adidas people that athlete Dan would look good in our uniform. That was the statement that gave the apparel rep the green light to go make a payoff to an athlete. No money exchange between coach/institution and player and aau. Therefore, no violation. Scam. Now it’s all in the open.


    Liked by 2 people

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