Home » lghuujgf » Ravian Pierce paces Syracuse’s offense in 27-24 win against Pittsburgh

Ravian Pierce paces Syracuse’s offense in 27-24 win against Pittsburgh

first_imgDino Babers weighed his options when Syracuse found itself facing fourth down five yards from the end zone in the game’s final minute. The Syracuse head coach could instruct his team to kick a field go to go up by six and risk having to kick off to a dynamic return man in Pittsburgh’s Quadree Henderson. Or, he could go for it and risk giving Pitt the ball with an erasable three-point deficit.He chose the latter. It didn’t work. Pitt got the ball, did nothing with it and SU (3-3, 2-4) scraped out a 27-24 win over the Panthers (2-4, 0-1), the Orange’s first conference victory.Baber’s choice, though, wasn’t to go to one of his senior wideouts who are among the nation’s leading pass catchers. It wasn’t to give Eric Dungey the green light and have him run for the end zone. Instead, Babers had Dungey flick a shovel pass to tight end Ravian Pierce. The ball bounced off Pierce’s outreached hands and fell to the turf.“I’m not mad at him,” Babers said. “He played a fantastic game and we’re lucky to have him.”The choice to trust Pierce in a key spot was one anchored in the fact that the junior college transfer was Syracuse’s most productive receiver in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. He caught a career high nine passes for 99 yards. If he caught that final pass and advanced just one yard, he would have been the first Syracuse tight end with a 100 yard game since Chris Gedney since 1992.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter the game, Pierce was asked when was the last time he had a game like this. But he didn’t even know his final stats. He asked what they were, wincing upon receiving the answer.“That’s kind of painful,” he joked.Triple digits or not, Pierce stepped up when SU needed someone. Pitt’s passing defense appeared better than the 106th best in FBS, the ranking with which it entered this week. Steve Ishmael caught just five passes and fell short of 100 yards receiving for the first time this season. Ervin Philips had just 55 yards. Eric Dungey needed someone to go to, so he went to Pierce 12 times, nearly a quarter of his 49 total passing attempts.Once he had the ball in his hands, Pierce, at 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, was no easy tackle. Nearly every time he caught the ball, he was able to notch a few extra yards after contact. That kind of physical skill set is something SU lacked at the tight end spot last season. It allows more variance in the types of sets SU can run.After the game, Pierce said the film showed a few ways SU could “take advantage” of the Pitt defense. He was a part of the game plan, designed to pick up blitzes — which came often — and release after. But it took awhile. Pierce was targeted once by Dungey in the first half.“I’m just trying to open the coaches’ eyes and prove I could be one of those guys that can help out,” Pierce said.Babers took notice. He praised Pierce’s ability after the catch and marveled at a one-handed grab. In the end, though, he said Pierce’s big day was the result of what the looks the Pitt defense gave SU. The Panthers locked in on Ishmael and Philips, which was somewhat expected.“When talking to the team last night at the hotel,” Babers said, “I told them I really don’t know who’s going to have a big day.”Pierce let him, and Pitt, know. It was his day. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 7, 2017 at 6:55 pm Contact: [email protected] | @jtblosslast_img

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