Originally written on Pitt Blather  |  Last updated 11/13/14
New-era-pinstripe-bowl

Okay, busy day ahead. Have to clear out work. Get other crap out of the way. Then have to do enough that the family will leave me alone by 7pm.

Someone fire the guy (or gal) who does the headlines at the P-G. There is no Pitt-Syracuse rivalry. Both fanbases know it, and accept it. Heck, read the article. The only mention of “rivalry” is in the context of both teams moving to the ACC. You don’t hear fans, players or coaches refer to it as anything but a conference game.

QB Tino Sunseri plays up the noise factor of the Carrier Dome.

“They’re making sure they’re loud,” Sunseri said. “They definitely use that to their advantage. I think their players feed off of it, definitely. We have to be able to handle ourselves, we have to be able to handle the snap count.”

That may not be as big a factor as the Syracuse brass try to pump up the size of the crowd for TV by making it part of a “family” weekend. Spreading out the students rather than concentrating them in a section.

Syracuse coach Doug Marrone has been poor mouthing his team’s overall performance. Mainly putting the blame on himself.

For the second week in a row during the Big East coaches conference call, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone shouldered all the blame for his team’s 1-3 start.

“I’ve done a poor job with turnovers and penalties and certain situations on the field that have really hurt our team,” Marrone said. “We have to give ourselves an opportunity, and that’s not what we are doing now.”

The Orange’s turnover ratio is negative 1.5 per game, seventh in the eight-team Big East and 109th in the country. Syracuse also is next-to-last in the conference and 114th in average penalties per game (8.8).

“That’s a reflection on me,” said Marrone, whose record at the Carrier Dome has fallen to 11-12 since taking over the program in 2009.

What has killed the Orange, offensively is stalling out before reaching the redzone. They are a solid 83% in redzone opportunities. They have a ton of passing yardage. But, the turnovers, penalties and stalling out too soon — there are pills for that — have kept them from getting close enough to add points.

One of the things some think hurts Syracuse, is the same thing that has allowed them to pile up yards and scares me about the Orange offense.

Perhaps part of the problem is the staff’s decision midway through preseason camp to go exclusively with a no-huddle shotgun formation that has quarterback Ryan Nassib lining up three to four yards behind center even with the ball on the 1-yard line, sending it back to the 4 or 5 as an actual starting point.

“One of the things that has helped us is we’ve really been attacking all of the areas and spreading people out, and we’ve had success in that,” Marrone said. “(But) the closer you get (to the end zone) the less opportunity you have to spread them out to create those situations.”

The move, though, has helped protect Nassib. Giving him time to throw despite what had been a patchwork line. The return of Justin Pugh to left tackle will help strengthen their line. It also limits substitutions on defense.

Pitt has to get some pressure up front — obviously — if we want to see Ryan Nassib look like the Ryan Nassib we’ve seen before.

Letting him stay untouched is much like Pitt’s passing offense with Tino Sunseri. Don’t get the pressure on him regularly and he will make the enough good passes to a solid receiving corp.

Here’s some more breakdown of the game.

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