Welp, looks like the oddsmakers had that one right. Some things are just ... difficult to explain. No amount of words can describe the display we saw today in the Pitt-Syracuse game.
In case you missed it, Pitt Pitted themselves to 17-16 win over Syracuse to become bowl eligible. Winning at Miami would be nice, of course, but there's nothing in the way now to keep the Panthers a
BBVA Compass bowl game.
First things first - this wasn't pretty. And bragging about a win like this just makes you look kind of foolish. Neither team looked real good out there and while Pitt technically won the game, either team really could have.
A game never comes down to just one play or even one player. But if you're looking for a responsible party here, you might as well check in with Aaron Donald. Donald was all over the backfield the entire game and came up with the difference between a win and overtime when he blocked an extra point back in the first quarter. I'm not sure what the other players Donald is up against for major awards will do this weekend, but Donald gave himself a heck of a chance to win one or two of them with his game today.
Pointing to that play and suggesting it's the reason for the win would be stupid. But when you win a game by a single point ...
Look, the Panthers aren't a real good football team - I think we all know that. But you've still got to give them credit for making enough plays to win. A loss would have been, frankly, deserved, but you also have to point to the win and just take it sometimes.
The end of the game was as derpy as the rest of it was. Syracuse lined up for a 53-yard attempt with the clock winding down. Paul Chryst in his infinite wisdom made what would appear to be the completely WRONG call by calling a timeout. Chryst wanted to ice the kicker, but the fact is that the kicker was attempting a very difficult kick and the team was scrambling to get it off in time. You absolutely want the kicker to go for it there.
In addition, Pitt needed its timeouts with only about a minute remaining. If the Orange make that kick, you need to have them at your disposal to go for a game-winner of your own. Wasting timeouts is absolutely the wrong move there.
Chryst, though, caught a break - as he often has.
Fortunately for him, Syracuse was lining up for a fake and Chryst and the coaches didn't have the foresight to see it. Over to the sideline was a receiver who was left unguarded. Had Syracuse's fake gone through, assuming he catches a wide open pass, Pitt would have given up a touchdown and likely lost the game.
Look, Chryst's timeout saved the game inadvertently, but as I said, it was completely the wrong move there. This is just another gaffe in his holster and eventually, he better start figuring this thing out.
Take the win. Go out and celebrate. And hail to Pitt, I guess?
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