North Carolina Game Day Thread 2018

North Carolina Game Day Thread 2018

It looks like North Carolina is getting +4.5 points in the betting line today. That sounds about right to me.  The above website predicts a bigger 29 – 17 Pitt win though. The over/under is 48.5 points

That sounds about right also.

But this is the great thing about college football – things can change on a dime (or the cost of Retro Air Jordan 3s shoes at $2500 per pair).

Football aside, what type of idiot pays $2500 for a pair of sneakers? Honest to God, that right there is society’s problem today. That’s exactly why I refuse to wear any clothing with any advertising on it. I believe the business who is labelled on the apparel should pay us to be walking billboards for them.

But that’s just me.

Game time is listed at 12:20 but will probably be delayed for a bit for Pat Narduzzi to get his NSA contractors in place to steal the Tarheel’s signs.

Pitt vs NC Predictions Thread

Pitt vs NC Predictions Thread

Here are Ike’s thoughts on the NC game…

Well as I stated earlier, I’m not sure which way I want to go with this game. Trying to think about a PITT game with my brain is most probably the toughest thing I do in life. Hey, isn’t life grand? << (ike’s got it made)

Breaking this game down should be easy. For once, PITT’s numbers shout out louder than the opponents but… but. Can PITT beat this UNC football team for the first time in five years? Some of you may know, I do not give a rat’s behind about what happened five years ago much less 30 years. So we go on this year and look at how the two teams stack up.

UNC is a hurting puppy and PITT’s defense is just now emerging. Important need to know here. Looks like the first game this year where PITT will play a team in real life (Albany excluded) that isn’t a match-up nightmare for our team. 2-1 so far is good but 3-1 is even better. I’m going with my gut on this one and I don’t think UNC can score that many points on this PITT defense and the offense will definitely be on KP duty tomorrow. PITT breakout in the second half and end all the talk concerning the lack of scoring… PITT wins! PITT wins! PITT wins!

PITT…34
UNC…17

Editor’s Notes:  Here is some interesting stats and facts about the Panthers so far…

Pitt Stats Game 3

This next chart bothers me a lot in some ways. The fact that in 25 different and important categories (for the full list see here) we are in the lower half of the nation in 15 of them.  Our Passing Offense and our Scoring Offense is especially worrisome and this doesn’t split our scoring up by halfs… and as we know we’ve had a total of three (3!) points in six second half quarters so far.  We have to do better there.

Pitt Stats NCAA

44th in rushing is about where we left off last season. When you look at our Rushing ‘splits’ below it tells a different story.  Take a look at what we have done in our first two quarters of play as opposed to our last two quarters of play in the three matches we’ve had so far:

Pitt Rushing game 3

If we have any close games ahead of us this has to change. So far we’ve been able to jump out to big leads in our two wins… but we can’t live on doing that – not against balanced offense teams witch GT wasn’t.

That fact that against our two D1 teams we have faced we’ve given up 35 ppg hurts also.

I’m following Ike’s lead and expect a close win down in Chapel Hill:

Pitt 31 – NC 24

KNOW YOUR ENEMY………..North Carolina

KNOW YOUR ENEMY………..North Carolina

Submitted by Thomas Eicher (ike)

I just love this saying, I believe it’s a very important life lesson. It goes well with the “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies even closer” so as Jackie Gleason liked to say and here we go..

As we know, PITT will be traveling down to the rain soaked state of North Carolina to play the Tar-Heels coached by Larry Fedora. UNC plays their home games at Kenan Memorial Stadium in the heart of their campus at Chapel Hill NC, This is an old stadium built in 1926-1927. It holds somewhere around 51,000 people. Gee, this joint reminds me of another stadium I use to watch games in.

UNC has only played two games with this past weeks game being canceled against UCF and stand at 0-2. This is bad for two reasons. The most important being PITT coaches will miss a game film with UCF as well as UNC. Some think this also gave UNC more time to study and prepare for PITT, I don’t really buy into that too much.

About the team: I guess the big need to know is that UNC has had as many as 13 players suspended to start their season for selling shoes, nine of which will still be held out this weeks game. This includes their starting QB Chazz Surrat, I looked but couldn’t find if any other important starters remain out. Now I’m not sure about this but I think the starting QB Nathan Elliott was the QB for UNC last year which beat PITT. (remember Henderson’s fumble) So far, Elliott’s numbers don’t stand out. He’s 37-73, 356 yards with 1 TD and 4 picks. Not that great folks.

The starting RB looks to be Antonio Williams who has run for 143 yards on 23 carries. Again, that sounds like one good game but he’s played in two. Their leading receiver is Anthony Williams with 7 catches for 146 yards. Now it’s way too early to see much from these numbers but they are not eye poppers. (Editor: that is over 20 yards per catch and better than Pitt’s  leading receiver…pretty eyepopping to me)

On defense, UNC has their leading tackler from the past two years back and his numbers do pop out at you. Last year he had 93 tackles and the year before that…115. Cole Holcomb 6’1″ 235lbs. He looks to be a good one.

UNC played at California first game against the Golden Bears who look to have a decent team this year. UNC played a good game before losing 24-17 on their west coast trip. The Bears are now 3-0 so maybe that was a decent showing? They also lost to East Carolina 41-19, so hold on. So after just two games UNC is averaging 162 yards a game on the ground and 185 yards through the air. They are losing the time of possession battle 24.30 to the opponents 35.30. On offense UNC has averaged 348 yards a game to the opponents 395 yards per game.

Summary, this is a must win for PITT this coming Saturday. No if and’s or buts…. 

ike's pictures 045
The POVers at Famous Fran’s Penn State tailgate!
IMG951353001
Georgia Tech tailgate with the George Aston clan 

Just a reminder from Reed of what happens when the Pitt team gets cocky. If we remember last season Pitt was riding a two game win streak after beating Duke and Virginia when the Tarheels came to Heinz…

Lets be 3-1 when the whistle blows!

The Game was Crap, but the Tailgating was Memorable…

The Game was Crap, but the Tailgating was Memorable…

Here is a great piece from John…our own MajorMajors.

I’m still trying to recover from the Pitt-Penn State game debacle. The win versus Georgia Tech helped. But my funk after the stinker, rain-soaked game robbed me of an opportunity to share a good experience my son and I had before that game.

We had the good fortune to attend two great pre-game tailgates that day. One, of course, was hosted by the ever resourceful Fran “The Franchise” Lokar. Fran found a spot just inside the garage. We had some big-time POV celebrities in attendance, led by BigB and his wife. I took some photos to capture the “POV Under Cover” event. My only regret was that I got there after ike had left and I left before ike returned.

My son and I left Fran’s tailgate early because we went to the Pitt “Hall of Fame” pre-game tailgate. I had gotten an invite even though I was a lowly baseball team letterman. I bought a ticket to bring my son as my guest. It turned out to be well worthwhile.

Of course we got soaked walking to the tent where the Hall of Fame tailgate was held. As we got inside the tent and found some space where we could shake the water off, I look up and not six feet away from me, sitting at a table with a woman who I presume was his wife, sat —– the legendary Mike Ditka. I said to my son in a low voice – “That’s Mike Ditka!”

Mike Ditka was sitting there like the Godfather. It seemed like everyone was somewhat hesitant to approach him. My son and I approached him and I said “Iron Mike, it’s an honor to shake your hand.” He couldn’t have been nicer. I told Mike that I had worked with a person, Pete Suder, who had played baseball with him at Pitt. Mike said he remembered Pete as a very good baseball player. I didn’t know if Mike really remembered him, but then Mike said that Pete’s father had played in the majors for the Philadelphia Athletics – which is true. So Mike did remember.

After talking with Iron Mike (how do you follow that up?) we started looking around the tent. A person who was at least a foot taller than everyone else caught my eye. So we went and said hello to Charles Smith. Then we spotted Billy Knight and talked to him. These guys couldn’t have been nicer. Smith is impressively tall and thin; Knight was both tall and big.

Next we see a small gathering around Tony Dorsett. We go and wait our turn to say hello and get a photo. I said “Tony, how does it feel to be the best of all time?” Tony was gracious.

Then we tracked down Hugh Green. I said “Hugh, how does it feel to be the best of all time?” I mean, what do you say to these guys who your are in awe of and who brought you so many good memories?

We saw Johnny Majors but it was getting late and he was on the move and left the tent before we could connect with him. And I don’t know if Danny Marino was in the tent, but we never saw him.

There were some recent players there too. We talked briefly to Matt Galambos. Then my son recognized Chris Blewitt as we were getting some dessert at the dessert table. We ended up talking to Chris about place-kicking for about 20 minutes. I asked him if he tries to hit a 50-yarder harder than a 30 yarder. He said no, you hit them all the same. Said the winning kick at Clemson was the “purest” ball he ever hit. He said he had a tryout with the Steelers but talked about how tough it is to get your “foot” in the door for one of those 32 NFL jobs.

Anyway, just as Fran does a first-rate job on the POV tailgate, Pitt did a first-rate job on the Hall of Fame tailgate. We barely got around to eating anything there, but the food was great. (Note to Fran – that dessert table was one where you could make your own sundae. Ha-ha!)

It was a treat to see the Pitt legends up close and to talk to them. They were all friendly and seemed to be having a good time. I think my son will cherish the photos – especially the one with “Iron Mike Ditka,” and the one with Tony Dorsett, and the one with Hugh Green, and on and on…

I hope the Hall of Fame and this tailgate is an indication that Pitt is going to finally put more emphasis on their treatment and honoring of Pitt’s letter winners.

Editor’s Note:

Apparently Narduzzi is literally killing me. Just came from my pre-op physical and my EKG showed I have had a ‘minor’ heart attack since my last test in…Nov 2014.

I knew you guys were not good for my health. Now I have to deal with this crap before I get the OK to get cut open.  Funny thing though is that I’m in great health otherwise.

1/4th OF THE SEASON OVER ALREADY?

1/4th OF THE SEASON OVER ALREADY?

Here is a quick bunch of thoughts from Jim (Pittman4ever)

It is hard to believe that we are already on game four and that the much awaited  three game home start to Pitt’s season is already over.

So, at this point how do think our season has started?  Most of us (I would wager to say) are relatively pleased being 2-1 at this point and 1-0 in ACC conference play.  However, I’m guessing we would all say it’s been quite an unusual Twilight Zone type of three game home stand start to the year!

Who would have thought we would get shut out for the entire second half in our opening win against a weak Albany team even though we easily won 33-7?  

Did any of us (UPitt included!) actually think Penn State would totally dismantle us 6-51 in a monsoon viewed on prime time tv?

Then, when it looks like Narduzzi had lost the team, we come out totally ready to play and prepared to stop the Georgia Tech vaunted offense in our impressive 24-19 victory!  And yet SOMEHOW our offense still disappeared once again in the whole 2nd half!  Odd, to say the least!!    

So, what are your theories as to why the bizarre play has happened up to this point of the season and will it continue this week at North Carolina, who for some unknown reason we seem to enjoy losing to???   

Editor’s Notes; I’ll throw in my three cents here also.  Like Jim above I have no real handle on this year’s Pitt team except that you don’t know what you are going to get from half to half…to half. 

The defense has looked very good in spots – against Albany and in the 1st half against Georgia Tech.  Then it looked horrible all the other times.   Our run game looks pretty good and I think we are all surprised that our passing game hasn’t been very effective. Here is how our offense breaks down:    

Key O stats

For instance, one telling statistic I look at when gauging an offense is how many yards per point is the team needing to build a score?  Last year – and remember our offense sucked last year – we had a point every 15.6 yards.  This season we are getting a point every 21.2 yards which puts us down at 116th out of 130 D1 teams.  Not good and I think that will be a problem going forward. 

0.234 points per play has us at 113th nationally and we are scoring an average of 2.0 TDs per games so far – 103rd in the country. So we have some big work to do on that side of the ball.  Here is how we fare nationally in offensive production:

Pitt O 9-19

We are running the ball OK but it really isn’t translating into points like it should.  That bears watching when we play the better teams on our schedule.

On paper playing NC this week will probably help our offensive stats but right now we are not impressive averaging only 21 ppg.   Pickett should be more effective than he has been so far this season and that’s a bit disappointing.  I had written earlier in the preseason that his strengths were the short and intermediate passes and he’s doing that with a 65+% completion rate, but also that his deep passing was suspect, accuracy mostly, and that has been shown also.   Here is what he’s done so far:

Pickett 9-19

Pickett’s 6.44 yards per attempt and his 9.9 yards per completion are very low at this point.  That has to change or we’ll see eight in the box against our run game all the time (like we saw work well for PSU when they did that in the 2nd half of that game).

We have dodged major bullets with our opponent’s receivers having stone hands also.  PSU had seven drops by their receivers and I think GT had at least three or four – and two would have resulted in TDs I believe.  But the problem is that their receivers were running free pretty much all game – although GT passes so little those plays for them are outliers.  Still they had guys open pretty easily and teams who are better in their passing games are going to hurt us.

But at this point I’m very happy with a 2-1 start.  I picked GT to win and that didn’t happen…truth be told I’m not real good at picking individual games so pay no attention to me with that.  If we can start 3-1 then I’ll say winning five or six wins is more reachable but I’m sticking with five  wins on the year… with maybe a .500 regular season.

Wins are fun but Albany was pretty much figured to be one and the GT game was closer that most fans would have liked.   All in all it looks good in the W/L column but it makes you wonder what we’re going to see in the future.

 

 

Pitt vs North Carolina Game Notes

Pitt vs North Carolina Game Notes

PITT (2-1, 1-0 ACC) vs. NORTH CAROLINA (0-2, 0-0 ACC)

September 22, 2018 • 12:20 p.m., ET

Kenan Stadium (50,500/Natural Grass) • Chapel Hill, N.C.

Raycom (WTAE-TV) • Pitt IMG Sports Radio Network

PittsburghPanthers.com • @Pitt_FB

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. North Carolina)

GAME STORYLINES

• Pitt travels to North Carolina this Saturday for its first road game of the season. The Panthers are coming off a 24-19 win over Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels, originally slated to host UCF last week, saw their Sept. 15 game canceled due to Hurricane Florence.

  • Narrow margins have been the rule during recent Pitt-UNC series history. The past seven meetings have been decided by a combined 28 points (4.0 points per game). The Tar Heels edged Pitt at Heinz Field last year, 34-31.
  • Since 2013, North Carolina is the only team in the Coastal that Pitt has not beaten. The Panthers are 0-5 against the Tar Heels in ACC play. North Carolina also leads the overall series, 9-3.
  • Pitt’s last victory in the series occurred in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers edged the Tar Heels (coached by Butch Davis), 19-17, on a field goal with 52 seconds left.
  • With a 2-1 overall record, Pitt has won at least two of its first three games for the 14th time since the 2000 season. A victory at North Carolina would give the Panthers their first 3-1 start since 2015, Pat Narduzzi’s debut season in Pittsburgh.
  • Pitt’s last 2-0 start to ACC play also occurred in 2015. The Panthers opened with a 4-0 conference record that year, finishing as the Coastal Division runner-up with a 6-2 league record.
  • Sophomore defensive end Rashad Weaver is tied for the national lead with three fumble recoveries on the young season. Weaver recovered two fumbles against Penn State and one last week in the Georgia Tech win.
  • Senior tailback Qadree Ollison is averaging 94.3 rushing yards per game. Ollison had a season-high 119 yards against Penn State and netted 91 last week against Georgia Tech. For the year, he has totaled 283 yards on 45 carries (6.3 avg.) and three touchdowns.

SERIES NOTES
This is the 13th meeting between Pitt and North Carolina in a series that dates back to 1974…nine of the 12 games have been decided by single digits, including each of the last seven contests…the Tar Heels lead the overall series, 9-3, and have won all five ACC encounters, including last season’s 34-31 decision at Heinz Field…Pitt and North Carolina meet annually as members of the ACC’s Coastal Division…the Panthers are 2-4 against the Tar Heels in Pittsburgh and 0-5 in Chapel Hill…Pitt won the lone neutral site meeting, 19-17, in the 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte…bowl MVP Dion Lewis rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, while Dan Hutchins provided the winning points on a 33-yard field goal with 52 seconds left to upend the Tar Heels…that 2009 bowl victory capped a 10-3 season for Pitt…the Panthers’ only two regular-season wins in the series both occurred in Pittsburgh: 20-16 in 1978 and 7-6 in 1982…the 1982 game served as the opener for both schools and was a battle of preseason Top 5 teams in Three Rivers Stadium…Pitt, led by quarterback Dan Marino, was the preseason No. 1 team, while North Carolina, which featured tailback Kelvin Bryant, was No. 5…the ’82 game was played in Three Rivers Stadium to accommodate a weeknight CBS primetime TV audience.

NC 2-deep 18

BROADCAST INFORMATION

Television • Raycom (WTAE-TV, Channel 4, in Pittsburgh)

Tom Werme (play-by-play), Dave Archer (analyst), Lericia Harris, reporter

Pitt Radio • 93.7 The Fan & the Pitt IMG Sports Network

Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Pat Bostick (analyst), Larry Richert (reporter)

SiriusXM Satellite Radio

XM Channel 380, Internet Channel 965

WPTS Radio (Pitt Student Station) • 92.1 FM

Pitt IMG Sports Network Online Audio Options

PittsburghPanthers.com

Pitt Panthers Gameday App

TuneIn (free live and on-demand content)

Monday Morning QB; Georgia Tech

Monday Morning QB; Georgia Tech

Monday-Morning-QB

The good news is that we are 2-1 on the season with wins over Albany and Georgia Tech.  As we do on here we’ll list the Good, the Bad and the Ugly then you guys can chip in with your thoughts.

However, I’m two-blocked with other obligations so my thoughts today will be short.

THE GOOD

We held GT to 320 yards rushing.  I had written earlier that if we could hold their offense to under 300 yards on the ground we’d win.  Pretty close on that – although I had GT winning this game which was a bad prediction.

Pickett passed better than before with 16 0f 23 for 197 yards and 1 INT.  On the season so far he’s done this:

Pickett 2018

I thought he’d have better stats at this point but he’s not losing ball games which for a young QB is the key.  He’s got to be better on his deep throws though.

THE BAD

The 2nd half stagnation. We have to do something about the fact that in each of our three games so far we have been almost shutout in those six quarters of play with only a FG in this last game.  This isn’t good and this time it could easily have led to a loss.  We played so well in the first half so something’s going on there.

THE UGLY

Even though it was a plus for us I thought GT’s HC Paul Johnson’s playcalling was horrible. GT was off all day – helped in that by our defense in the 1st half of course –  but I felt that the GT team we just played was not a very good one.