A (hypothetical) Recap of Saturday’s Game

The Pitt Panthers played their usual brand of crisp, disciplined football yesterday, en-route to a 30-0 shutout over the visiting Syracuse Orange. It was Pitt’s second shutout in as many games, and silenced many of the naysayers that claim this year’s team is really no different than the 2019 squad.

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead after running the ball straight at Syracuse’s undersized 3-3-5 defense, while sprinkling in timely passes to their sure-handed tight ends. In what was his breakout game, grad transfer TE Lucas Krull caught all four balls thrown to him and broke several tackles en-route to an 80 yard, one touchdown day. Once Syracuse adjusted to bring eight men into the box to stop Pitt’s well-executed inside zone scheme, OC Mark Whipple was able to open up the playbook. The offensive line gave Pickett a clean pocket all day long and he was able to complete several deep balls, en-route to a 300 yard passing day.

Additionally, the offense played a virtually mistake-free first half, with the exception of one lone procedural penalty where they were called for five men in the backfield. The offensive staff quickly corrected the issue, and penalties were kept to a minimum after that.

Special teams were also outstanding. “Automatic” Alex Kessman connected on all three of his field goal tries, two of them from the right hash. Also, as per usual, the snapping and holding was mistake-free.

The defense pitched its second shutout in a row. Pitt allowed just 51 yards rushing and 63 yards passing and enjoyed superior field position all day, due to the turnover-free football played by the offense. As you’d come to expect from a Pat Narduzzi coached team, there were no offsides, personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties committed by Pitt’s extremely disciplined defensive unit.

After the game Head Coach Pat Narduzzi had this to say:

“Like I said last week after Austin Peay, this is a different team. This is a senior-laden team. They are clearly holding each other accountable, and not reading too much into their own success. Today we showed the world that we belong in the ACC title race, but we still have to stay focused if we want to make sure we achieve our goal of playing in the ACC Championship Game. Also…Jerry could you just one more time explain to me why you didn’t put us in Top 25? Kinda having trouble wrapping my head around that one. A win’s a win right? Just wait till we bust out our alternate uniforms next week and nobody knows what color they are supposed to be throwing to or tackling.”

….

Editor’s Note: This was clearly written tongue in cheek. If you don’t like it, feel free to go pound some sand. Yes I am happy (relived?) that Pitt won. No, I am not trying do diminish any effort that anyone made on the field. Yes with just a few lapses the defense played Very Well. Still, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a team that professes to pride itself on focus and culture to play disciplined football, and with the exception of one game against an FCS opponent I’ve not seen Pitt play truly disciplined football for a long, long time.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

Syracuse at Pitt Open Game Thread

Pitt steps in in class today. Syracuse has a legitimate NFL talent at safety, and solid ACC level talent across the rest of their defensive backfield. Pitt probably needs to establish the run early to have success, and You’d like to see them execute just as crisply as they did last week. Of course you shouldn’t expect guys to be running free in the defensive backfield this time.

On defense it’s just a matter of how much time Syracuse’s patchwork offensive line can buy DeVito.

Pitt has a chance to make a statement today. 31-6 or better (the UNC score) earns us a modicum of respect. An ugly win by a touchdown or less likely knocks us down a peg. Let’s see what the fellas can do…

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

Updated: Syracuse at Pitt Depth Chart & Game Notes & Narduzzi Presser Transcript

Game NOTES – Per Pitt SID

#25/RV PITT (1-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. SYRACUSE (0-1, 0-1 ACC)

September 19, 2020 • Noon, ET

Heinz Field (68,400/Natural Grass) • Pittsburgh, Pa.

ACC Network • Pitt Panthers Radio Network

PittsburghPanthers.com • @Pitt_FB

LINK (PDF): Pitt Game Notes (vs. Syracuse)

GAME STORYLINES

√ No. 25 Pitt opens a stretch of 10 consecutive ACC contests when it hosts Syracuse at Heinz Field. The Panthers are coming off a 55-0 season-opening win over Austin Peay. The Orange lost 31-6 at North Carolina.

√ Pitt and Syracuse have played every year since 1955, when both schools were independents. The Panthers and Orange were Big East football conference members from 1993-2012 before entering the ACC in 2013.

√ The Panthers have won 15 of the past 18 games in the series. However, tight games are commonplace. Six of the past eight contests have been decided by single digits, including Pitt’s 27-20 win last year in the Dome.

√ Pitt is 8-1 against the Orange at Heinz Field. Syracuse’s lone win at Heinz occurred in 2001, the venue’s inaugural year.

√ Since 2015, Pat Narduzzi has directed the Panthers to 24 victories in ACC play, tied for the third-highest win total (with Virginia Tech) during that span and trailing only Clemson (39) and Miami (25).

√ Since joining the ACC in 2013, the Panthers are 3-4 in conference openers. This will be the third consecutive year and fourth time overall that Pitt opens ACC play at home.

√ Senior quarterback Kenny Pickett was highly effective in one half of play against Austin Peay. Pickett compiled 300 total yards, throwing for 277 and running for an additional 23. He accounted for two touchdowns (one pass, one rush).

√ The heralded Pitt defense surrendered a single rushing yard to Austin Peay on 22 carries. The Panthers gave up only 137 yards overall in producing their first shutout since 2014.

Continue reading “Updated: Syracuse at Pitt Depth Chart & Game Notes & Narduzzi Presser Transcript”

Good, Bad and Ugly: Austin Peay

Quick observations…

Good: Really the first all around dominant Pitt win we’ve seen a while, even though it was against sub-par competition. Still, we’ve seen the Panthers play sloppy football in these types of situations and to their credit, they came out and took care of business.

Also good: 1st team offense. 1st and 2nd team defense. Backups got some work. We got a look at the backup QB’s. DJ Turner played well for only 10 days of practice. The refs let the kids play. Pickett was not touched in the pocket and Carter Warren looked like a different guy out there.

Bad: Two, maybe three dropped passes in first half. I’m picking nits here though. Maybe I’m just a little shell shocked. Pickett also should have rightfully had three TD’s – Kyi Wright dropped one and Jaylen Barden clearly was in bounds and over the pylon bit the refs called him out at the 1. Baldonaldo injury. Krull on sideline. Joey Yellen was a dumpster fire out there. Pat Narduzzi somehow managed to ice his own kicker…(and then that was followed up by a botched snap and missed xp…)

Ugly: (Note there is some question as to whether this is actually a penalty. I looked it up and the rule reads “no two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers. This was the 2018 rule book.). The punt team had the same number on the field at the same time multiple times. They need to get that cleaned up next time. Really inexcusable and is the only part of the afternoon that stank of SOP. Yep I said it.

An Update, and Same Old Pitt (?)

I need to announce a few updates as we head into the season.

First, I have COVID-19. It’s a minor case, just a cough and some fatigue really, but until I recover I’m going to be curtailing most of my Pitt POV activities, as they are an unnecessary time commitment and mental strain.

As such you’ll still see me post stock content released by the Pitt SID (interviews, game notes etc), because this really doesn’t take all that much time or effort. Probably 2-3 x per week.

You’ll also see the open game threads each week.

What I won’t be able to do is actually spend time writing articles.

I’ll also be spending much less time moderating comments. I’ll expect you all to follow the rules, and I’m implementing a zero tolerance policy. IE If I receive just one email complaining about political or otherwise off-limits topics, comments will get shut down. Immediately. With the exception of a weekly game thread.

With that being said, Reed and I did have one collaboration cooked up for you prior to me making this decision. It was meant to be the first of a series, and it may well be that…after I kick the COVID. Anyway, here it is, and I hope you enjoy.

Continue reading “An Update, and Same Old Pitt (?)”