Syracuse opponent preview: What to know about Pittsburgh

first_img Published on October 3, 2018 at 10:21 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham Defensively, the Panthers don’t fare much better, allowing 32 points per contest. That’s 97th in the country. Pitt, on average, gives up 430.6 yards a game — 200.8 on the ground. Syracuse averages 480.8 on offense. The Panthers also struggle to turn opponents over, generating just 1.4 a game.How Syracuse beats Pitt: Contain the run. Syracuse struggled mightily to tackle Clemson running back Travis Etienne a week ago, and the sophomore had a career day — 27 carries for 203 yards and three touchdowns. Pitt looks primarily to run the ball, and if Syracuse’s linebackers struggle as much as they did a week ago, the Panthers will make the Orange pay.Conversely, SU needs to get back to running the football itself. Against the best defensive front it will play all season, a Syracuse rushing attack that averaged 200-plus yards a game got bottled up for 61. Dungey, Moe Neal and the rest of the offense need to move the ball consistently against a poor Pitt run defense.Player to watch: Kenny Pickett, quarterback, No. 8Pickett was sluggish in the Panthers 51-6 beatdown at the hand of Penn State, going 9-for-18 for 55 yards and an interception. But when the Panthers scored 35 on the road in a loss to North Carolina, Pickett went 19-for-33 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. If Pickett has a good day, Pitt’s offense suddenly gets another dimension. Comments Syracuse (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) travels to Pittsburgh (2-3, 1-1) to play the Panthers on Saturday at 12:20 p.m. at Heinz Field. The Orange is coming off its first loss of the season, a 27-23 heartbreaker at No. 3 Clemson. Pitt most recently took a 45-14 beatdown on the road at the hands of No. 13 Central Florida.The game will air on ACC Network Extra. Here’s what to know about the Panthers.All-time series: Pitt leads, 38-32-3.Last time they played: Syracuse slipped past Pitt, 27-24, in the Carrier Dome last season. In a game in which Steve Ishmael and Ervin Philips were quiet, Eric Dungey and Ravian Pierce teamed up to the tune of nine catches for 99 for the latter, while the former totaled 365 passing yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers punched it in on the ground twice, but the Orange ran for 135 yards and a score of its own.The Pittsburgh report: The Panthers keep the ball on the ground, favoring handoffs to running backs Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall over Kenny Pickett passes. Pickett, the Pitt signal caller, beat out USC transfer Ricky Town for the starting job but has yet to eclipse 200 yards passing and has thrown an interception in all but one game. Entering the weekend, Pitt, as a team, is 114th in the country in passing attempts with 24.6 a game — Syracuse averages 33.4.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn lieu of an aerial attack, the Panthers rely on the experienced duo of Ollison and Hall. Ollison, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound bruiser, takes the bulk of the handoffs, receiving 68 to Hall’s 31. Ollison averages 5.9 yards a carry. Hall is a little more explosive, taking his carries for 6.7 yards. The two have combined for six touchdowns.And therein lies Pitt’s biggest issue: scoring. The Panthers already struggled to move the ball — 113th in yards per game — and then struggle to find the endzone even when they do. The Panthers have nine total touchdowns in five games. Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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