Tale of the tape: Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh

Quarterbacks Ryan Nassib came through in the clutch against South Florida last weekend, leading SU the length of the field to victory. Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri has been unable to post decent stats (a five-to-three touchdown-to-interception ratio) or wins. Advantage: Syracuse Running backs The Orange continued to use Antwon Bailey more last week, and that’s a good thing. He was the perfect complement to Delone Carter. Though Dion Lewis has been a disappointment for Pittsburgh, Ray Graham has been just as much of a pleasant surprise.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Advantage: Even Wide receivers SU’s receiver cast is too depleted to win this matchup. The Panthers have six players with nine catches or more. Jon Baldwin (24 catches) and Mike Shanahan (19 catches) are their two biggest threats. Advantage: Pittsburgh Tight ends Nick Provo is third on the Orange with 12 catches on the season. He has established himself as an option for Nassib. Mike Cruz leads Pittsburgh tight ends with only four receptions. Advantage: Syracuse Offensive line This SU line is still inexperienced, judging by the amount of silly mistakes and penalties it committed against USF. The unit is in for another tough test with Pittsburgh’s defensive line. But Pittsburgh’s line is shaky, too, already having allowed 11 sacks to SU’s 12. Advantage: Even Defensive line The Panthers have too much balance here, with three separate defensive linemen — Jabaal Sheard, Chas Alecxih and Brandon Lindsey — having four sacks or more. Sheard has eight tackles for loss on the season. Advantage: Pittsburgh Linebackers Derrell Smith, Doug Hogue and Marquis Spruill have been as good as anticipated for the Orange. Pittsburgh’s linebacking corps doesn’t have the same kind of presence. Advantage: Syracuse Secondary Pittsburgh’s pass defense has given up just over 40 more yards per game than has Syracuse’s, albeit against stronger competition. SU’s unit is riding the waves, coming off a dominating performance against USF. Advantage: Even Special teams Mike Holmes leads the Big East in punt return average by a wide margin. Holmes averages 18.7 yards per return, a huge advantage in the field-position game. Advantage: Syracuse Coaching Dave Wannstedt’s pedigree has to win out here. He has a proven track record of success, while Doug Marrone has a start with last week’s win. Advantage: Pittsburgh — Compiled by Asst. Sports Editor Brett LoGiurato Comments Published on October 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+

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