Monday Morning QB: Pitt Wins!

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Can’t beat this feeling… Honest to God.  Even with all the pragmatism I try to maintain on here and with all the neutral feelings I try to inject into my score predictions, my Pitt roots, all 110 years of them,  show through both internally and externally.

This 42-39 win over Penn State is one for the fans – we guys and gals who have stood by and watched the vagaries of the Fates spin the Pitt football program around and blow it down Forbes Avenue like a tumbleweed.  That might still happen for time to time but it will be minor slings and arrows – not the heart-numbing drama we went through in the recent past.  I’ve a feeling we’ve left that behind.

Pitt deserved this win and the Administration, Athletic Dept and the coaches and players gave it to us.  A true team effort in many ways and not only on the field of play.  I’m not forgetting the fan’s part in the win either – Saturday’s was the most excited and loud Pitt crowd I have ever heard – and I’ll remind you I was at Pitt during our championship run.

Here – watch some again:

We stand at 2-0 and 1-0 in this hard four game stretch that we have to start the season off with.  Yes, four game stretch because I never underestimate the Marshall football program (10-3 last season) especially now with Doc Holliday at the helm and that game will be, for a number of reason, an important and tough one for us.

Monday morning QB is about a quick review, my impressions and then my Top Three Pluses and Minuses – and then your six items also in the comments section.  So, some items of interest.

I mentioned in the comments section to yesterday’s article that I was up in the press box for the game and because of the crowds I got there two hours before game time and it was pretty full – mostly of PSU media (there were a ton of PSU, national media and NFL scouts in attendance).  The press box holds, I’ll estimate, 150 or so seats and it was standing room only on the 4th level where I was.

But that is also where some alumni football players hang out and selected ‘guests’ of the university; friends of the staff, HS coaches, etc…- so lots of very interesting and informative conversations take place.  Pitt also throws out a nice pre-game buffet so everyone talks over food.  Funny, interesting and informative stuff and truly the only fun time while up there.

Otherwise we have to be and act with professionalism – I got a yellow card warning for being emotive when Pitt scored in the 2nd half.  But hey, I’m a Pitt fan first.yellow-card-legit

What I’m leading up to is that I knew far in advance we wouldn’t be throwing the ball hardly at all unless down by 10+ points in the 2nd half. I heard and read fans really complaining about Peterman’s day at QB – my best friend thought he sucked and Canada was afraid to let him pass until I explained the whole situation after the game – but that lack of pass play calling was by design.  Narduzzi said were going to run the ball this week and we did, and did, and did…

A commenter yesterday mentioned the all-blue uniforms and the heavy heat on Saturday and why the staff didn’t anticipate that and switch.  12084669First off the home team usually wears its school colors when at home and secondly Narduzzi allows his team Eagles, a select group of Seniors, to choose the uniforms for each game. That’s how we got blue on blue with blue helmets.  Personally I didn’t like the combo, especially the helmets, I’d much rather they wear the gold ones.

I was pleasantly surprised that I saw very few, maybe three, “Joe Knew” T-shirts and I left the press box and walked around outside at 11:30 to check out the crowd. It was a great pre-game atmosphere and I walked up to an older PSU fan who was looking at the Pittsburgh Police Mounted units and their horses standing outside.  I pointed to the horse’s head and said “Hey, this end is Pitt and the other is Penn state“.  He laughed and said “Well, at this end (pointing to the head) the horse eats Penn Sate at that end …’

I had to admit that was pretty damn witty and we shook and wished luck…

Alright – on to football.  Here are my positives and negatives.

POSITIVES:

Our indomitable running game.  Let’s go to the stat sheet and take a look at the pure numbers on the day.  Keep in mind that we didn’t just use our depth at running back but threw WRs and DBs in there also.  It was alike rushing potpourri.

The stat line shows 56 carries for 341 yards and 3 TDs at a 6.1 ypc clip.  Friends, that is about as good as it gets against a Power 5 team.snip_20160912083917

In particular:

James Conner is back to form gets 117 yards for his 12th 100+ game along with his 3rd TD on the season; WR Quadree Henderson gets a shot at carrying the ball and goes crazy with a 14.5 ypc average; QB Nate Peterman thinks “Hell, if they won’t let me pass I’ll run the ball” and he does for 52 yards and 6.5 ypc.

But wait, there’s more!

Pitt has a OC in Matt Canada  who finally realizes we have a good Fullback and that a FB is also allowed to carry the ball – so George Aston carries four times and scores twice.  A showing of speed on his part also as he scores from three yards out by outrunning the Linebacker U.’s LBs.

RB Darrin Hall provides some relief in a 4 for 34 yard showing with a nice 33 yarder; WR Jordan Whitehead feels left out so they give him the ball once to keep him happy and he rips off a 28 yard run and finally and just because we could we slide WR Dontez Ford in there for a go also and he picks up six.

A veritable abundance of riches – and all provided with the opportunity to succeed by an Offensive Line that rebounded from a poor opening game to drive the big Penn State defensive line back on their heels almost every play.

Half of our Special Teams’ play.  I say half because the other half in firmly in the negative column.  Quadree Henderson had two kickoff returns and made the most of them.  His 84 yard return to set up a TD gives him two of those in the last three games and he currently sits at #1 nationally in this category.  He has 4 returns for 214 yards (53.5 avg) with a TD.

Ryan Winslow has a good day with not only averaging 42.6 yards per punt but has two clutch punts in the 4th quarter resulting in good field position for our defense.  With the score at 42-31 we were pinned back at our 12 yard line and he gets off a 44 yard punt that ended with PSU’s ball at their own 40.

More importantly with 4;49 left in the game and punting from our 30 he puts PSU back on their 29 yard line with a 46 yard punt.  That made PSU try to go 71 yards for a score and really helped us win that game.  When we intercepted the ball for our last possession there was only 2:15 left so we could take three knees in our Victory Formation to ease out the clock.

He does need to put more air under his punts though.

QB Nate Peterman’s truncated passing role.  This might be a headscratcher if you didn’t actually watch the game. I like Peterman and as I said I wasn’t surprised at how he and our passing game was used on Saturday.  We were going to run the ball and we did.  But Peterman’s passing was absolutely part of that win and here’s why.

His stat sheet, especially the yardage, looks pretty dim – until you get to the three touchdown passes he threw.  On the day his stat line was 11/15 for 91 yards (73.3%), 3 TDs with 1 INT (which bounced directly off the receiver’s hand to a PSU DB).

Not that overall great until you drill down to see exactly what he actually did with the chances he got.  We had six passing 1st downs.  Add that the three TDs he threw and it shows that out of 11 completions nine of those were either 1st downs or TDs.  That gave him a QB rating on the game of 176.9 and that is just by numbers alone.

What he did on our scoring drives – again with limited opportunity – was more impressive to me because he made evey completion count for something.

  • On our 1st series he was asked to throw only one pass, but that was from the PSU 12 yard line and was a 10 yard completion for a 1st down giving us four shots up close for TD. 7-0 score.
  • 2nd series;  he throws a TD to Henderson.  14-0
  • 4th series: 24 yards to Henderson for a 1st down; 16 yards Henderson to the PSU 19 for a 1st down.  21-0
  • With PSU coming back and the score at 28-21 he threw for a 1st down then ran for another 1st down en-route to our TD.
  • Then again when PSU pulled to four at 35-31 he threw a 12 yard TD to Conner to give us the final winning margin at 42 points.

As said above he ran for 52 yards also (6.5 ypc) and didn’t get sacked at all.  But the rubber meeting the road is take any one of those TD passes out and we lose the game.

Granted, his stats weren’t all that impressive but his production, and especially his efficiency, getting a 1st down or TD on 60% of your attempts, certainly was.  Canada called, I believe, only one deep play and that was in the 1st half – other than that the passes were just an addendum to the run game but were well executed and integral.

A QB can only do what the OC calls on you do.  Believe me, no QB who has ever worn a Pitt uniform, save maybe Dan Marino, was going to audible out of called running plays in that Pitt vs Penn State game – Narduzzi would have his head. Throw an INT on an audible and Narduzii would be calling Jackie Sherrill to borrow his bloodless castrators.

So when the playcalling is skewed to 79% running, and you knew that going in, you take what you can get.

NEGATIVES:

Our defensive backfield play:  I mentioned I watched the game with alumni DB Shawn Robinson.  I’ll defer to the expert when he said that our DB play was horrible.  The PSU QB, gritty and more talented that most Pitt fans thought he’s be, put up a career game on Saturday.

His 71.4% completion rate was outstanding and he garnered a lot of yards with 332 and a TD.  Because our DL held fast he was forced to throw as a come-from-behind measure and he almost did just that.  Had he seen a wide open WR running down the sidelines into the right side of the end zone without a Pitt defender nearby the outcome may well have been a loss for us.

But he didn’t and it wasn’t.

PSU’s running game, while effective on short yardage plays (Saquon Barkley had four short TD runs of 1, 3, 3, 1 yards) didn’t really carry the team forward all that much. Our stoudt DL and some good LB play limited PSU to 20 yards on 70 yards on 31 carries (2.3 ypc) with most of that yardage being one 29 yards scamper by Barkley.

Saquon Barkley is all he was hyped up to be IMO.  He had to be the workhorse yesterday and produced well for them.  Five TDs – a PSU record – is no small matter.  He had a total of 147 yards on 23 touches for a 6.4 yards per clip.  For a large part of the game he was their offense.

So when behind 28-14 going into the 3rd quarter McSorley had to air it out and he did – especially in hitting Barkley on a left hand wheel route from our 40 and giving Barkley the chance to do a 40 yard dash with our LBs and DB – which we lost by a large margin.

He went 12/14 in passing during PSU’s TD scoring drives and he did that with a lot of pressure from blitzes in his face and as he was sacked four times

We had a hard time stopping this kid even in heavy crunch times where we needed a stop and went into a prevent defense.  On their last scoring drive he went 2 for 3 for 46 yards and two 1st downs – then threw a two-point conversion.

Of course as said above Lewis came though in the final clutch moment. But let’s give  the due credit to McSorley – he did what it took when asked to throw the football.

As we stand after two games our Pass Defense has given up 44 completions on 66 tries (60%) for 453 yards at a 11.3 ypc average and 1 TD.  We have to do better with that.

Our other half of the Special Teams. Our kicker is in a slump with no field Goal to show in this game (one attempt from a long 49 yards) our on the season and our coverage teams made some untimely poor plays.  PSU kick returns – Miles Sanders in particular did well with Sanders bring out a kickoff for 33 yards.

They averaged 22 yards on KO returns which is an OK coverage defense but also had 15.2 yards per punt return which is too much to give up.

Too many bad and stupid penalties.  We were penalized for 79 yards on 10 flags.  One was a pass interference that gave PSU their first 7 points then on their next scoring possession we had them back at their own 26 on a 3rd & 1 and our offside call gave them a 1st down and on they went for their 14th points.

I believe at least three were unsportsmanlike conduct – on a very cheap shot on their kicker by Saleem Brightwell when the ball had already gone out of the end zone.   Although I wonder if Narduzzi didn’t show the kids a video of PSU LB Lavar Arrington knocking our punter down then dry humping him for about a minute back in 1999.

Narduzzi said after the game that he didn’t mind the flags for roughness so much as he wants us to be a tough team.  I get that and we were for the most part Saturday.  but much better to be a tough and smart team because we all have seen series extended by stupid penalties to give the opponent a chance to score and win.

Wrap-Up:

I spoke with a lot of PSU media types before the game and every single one was honest in saying they thought Penn State was average at best on defense and that Pitt would probably win.  Only one young lady felt that PSU would ‘kill’ Pitt and the grad student next to her rolled his eyes.

Point being that no PSU media fans I talked to before during and after the games were surprised Pitt won and I got the feeling that was in a large part due to Pitt’s being a good team in their eyes.  I had a great time with all those folks and welcome the return trip up to Happy Valley next season.

Onto OK State where we take on a good offensive team, averaging 45 ppg but who lost the game Saturday on an error by the officials.  They are a Power five Big 12 team and we cannot rest on our laurels if we expect to go into their place and win the match.  Narduzzi did a great motivational job leading up to the Penn State win – he needs to keep that momentum level up this week also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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61 thoughts on “Monday Morning QB: Pitt Wins!

  1. Thanks, Reed. The TV guys kept saying that about half the crowd was PSU fans. Do you agree? I saw lots of white, but nowhere near that much.

    H2P

    p.s. Who won the prediction bet?

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  2. The team showed real character…the 1st drive for 99 yards set the tone for the game. The touchdown drives when PSU was within 7 were awesome…6 times in the red zone and 6 touchdowns. The defense rushed the passer very well…The DB’s will come around. The PSU receivers did make some tough catches although covered well …H2P!!!

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  3. I assume picking the prediction winner may be a task. Probably a large handful picked Pitt by 3 but most if not all were scores in the 20s.

    I was hoping for a 2nd down pass down the field on each of the final 2 possessions (not counting kneel downs at end) since it was apparent PSU packed the line … but all’s well that ends well.

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  4. OK, my ONE huge criticism – how in God’s name do you not have Jordan Whitehead back deep in victory formation? Who the hell is responsible for that? Fire them.

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. Nice Article!

    Hoping we go 3-0 but will be a big test.

    Still water is only supposed to be 85° on Saturday which is amazing as we’ve been in the mid 90s to the 100’s. That should help us.

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  6. “His 84 yard return for a TD gives him two of those in the last three games and he currently sits at #1 nationally in this category.”

    Who edits/proofreads for you Reed? His return did not make it to the endzone although if QH holds up and lets the block happen in front of him rather than cut back OR our #11 hits the same guy on the cut back, he would have scored.

    Can I volunteer for the proofing job?

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  7. Watch the Connor TD at 2:28 in the clip Reed posted. Bookser #78 pulls and pancakes his guy and moves another, then proceeds to stand over him talking very spirited trash. I noticed it during the game. Great block.

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  8. Pitt badly needs another “Henderson Like” wide receiver on the other side to put much more pressure on the opposing defenses who will continue to stake the box going forward. With all his speed can’t we utilize Weah on an end sweep much like we did with Boyd? If your not going to throw him the ball deep just what are we using him for?—-As for the pass defense, we didn’t have one last year and with the same personal back there this year minus the one playing in the NFL today what else did we expect? Our best pass defense is when we put pressure on the QB. Dropping 7 and 8 into coverage ain’t the answer I’m afraid.

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  9. @pmdH2P like many have said here and despite what folks continue to post I was at the game and I would say conservatively it was 70% Pitt fans and 30% PSU fans and probably more like 75/25. I have been going to games since mid-late 90s and this was easily the best atmosphere I have seen in person. Pitt fans were very loud when needed and any time in our section 115 when a PSU chant was started it was quickly drowned out with Pitt fans. People who are saying 50/50 are about as delusional as the PSU fans lining up their laundry list of excuses and talking of moral victories. Yesterday when I got home and started reading comments on here I was blown away by the people who could not take satisfaction in this win in some way. Pitt was not perfect but oh boy the only thing that matters in the end is that we scored more points then them. As much as some PSU fans can’t accept a loss it is almost like we have a subset of Pitt fans that can’t accept a win by any measure. I will say despite the jacked up atmosphere both sets of fans were pretty cordial to each other and I barely saw any incidents of people going over the line. Credit to Pitt fans who easily could have been in your face after dealing with the air of superiority of PSU fans for so many years. H2P!!!!

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  10. Particularly excellent Peterman analysis by you Reed. Going in, I said Peterman was the key to the game and he wasn’t the BIG KEY(run game with O-line and stable of runners) but he was A key without which we do not win this one.

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  11. One thing not mentioned on this blog so far was the tactical change of pace running of Pitt offensive plays. Sometimes quick snaps no huddle other times regular huddle and pace.

    Caught the Nits sleeping at least 3 X and only 1 penalty on Pitt for motion pre play. Thought Canada did a masterfull job of changing pace.

    Just furious w Blewitt on an ugly line drive miss from 49 yds. This is D1 football. You have to make that kick or at least make a good effort. Pitt blocked it to perfection and he had all day to kick. PSU took possession and owned all the Mo for the next 12 minutes. A change may be in order.

    One last note. Penn State women all still look like farm animals! Pitt women were gorgeous on Saturday!

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  12. Hah, Dan 72. My wife and niece are PSU grads—and they are hot. So, let’s say that most/lots of PSU women look like farm animals. Of course, we can very safely say the Pitt women outshine them without question.

    H2Pitt Women

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  13. My kids saw a different side of Dad on Saturday (jumping up and down yelling “interception! interception!” etc). Boy as a Pitt fan I have not felt that good in a long time and as much as I would have loved to have won 42-21, it probably would not have have created this kind of high.

    If we can continue to put up this kind of offensive production, look out because no doubt Nards will get the D in line. Our defense has played some fantastic second halfs since he took over and I expect more of the same in the future even though that did not happen this past week.

    I just hope the creativity on offense continues…it felt like we went conservative again after halfway through the 3rd quarter, and it almost did us in.

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  14. Thanks for posting the video, Reed!

    I was there as well as usual and I’d say the atmosphere was even more electric than the game at Three Rivers in 1976. Proud of the student for staying – including my daughter – and happy that they now have seen what a big time atmosphere we can have at games.

    Gonna be hard to go into Stillwater and take one.But Narduzzi looks like he knows what he is dong, so we’ll see.

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  15. Those complaining about the DBs.

    You can criticize for poor tackling or blown coverages where guys are wide open.

    You can’t complain about the statistical yards given up against spread offenses.
    If you watch any college football you know that spread teams put up huge numbers, even against the best defenses. The trick is limiting what they do in the red zone and possessing the ball a long time when you have the ball.

    Pitt was determined to stop the run. PSU was going to get their yards passing.

    Get used to it, the schedule is full of spread offenses.

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  16. Good job Reed. This is a game that maybe should not be over analyzed. Narduzzi treated it as special and the game plan was unusual to say the least. Hope you can get into HCPN’s head this week?

    Tvax feel free to take on the fulltime job of proofreading for me.

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  17. If I told you before the game that Barkley would score 5 TDs, wouldn’t you have readily bet all your worldly possessions that Penn State would win? Great win for Pitt in the new era of “you-better-keep-scoring-points-to-win” college football.

    Positives:
    — Q. Henderson!! We finally have a true speedster that other teams have to fear! And on his TD catch, made a really nice, athletic catch because the ball was a tad behind him. And is he fun to watch on kickoff returns or what.

    —Coach Canada. Came up with a nice scheme to best use the speed of Henderson/Whitehead; the power of Conner/Ollison; and the niftiness of Aston (I especially liked Aston’s run where he tip-toed down the sideline for extra yards). And I’ve always liked the shovel pass play – works wonders for the QBs passing stats too. (If keeping the practices closed helped Pitt surprise PSU with the shovel pass and jet sweep plays, then it was well worth it in my book…)

    –Ryan Lewis. On PSU’s last play, I was already in my head thinking of OT and wondering how we would do and worrying about a crushing defeat. But I was still screaming for the Pitt defense when suddenly I saw a VISION! The VISION was of Ryan Lewis – and I think he was riding on a white horse – and he saved the day for Pitt. Hallelujah! I remember reading a while back that he was one of the faster Panthers, but I wondered if he’d ever play a significant role at Pitt. Well that box has been checked off by Ryan. Way to go Ryan!

    Negatives:
    –Going so conservative in the second half Some of the 3rd down calls were head-scratchers. Didn’t bother me so much that we ran, but we kept it up the middle. We had great success running to the outside with our faster guys, but on too many 3rd downs in the second half we just turned and handed off to our not-as-fast guys. This game is more proof that college football is now a game where you have to keep scoring points….

    –Allowing PSU to score TD at end of 2nd Q. Seems to happen a lot to Pitt.

    –Coming out flat for 1st series of second half. These last two gave PSU the chance to get back in the game.

    Great job Reed.

    Hail to Pitt.

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  18. The reason a lot of people aren’t overly ecstatic about the Pitt wins based on quite a few things….

    One: this game is so early in the season —- and Pitt absolutely already can clearly compete very seriously with every single team on the schedule including Clemson (and hot-dang! : with still almost=all Chryst’s guys —- but also all of Pat Narduzzi’s Attitude and $wag) — So Pitt fans are happy with a win, but are already Jazzed-Up and Hype to go play Oklahoma State, Standing-room only, on primetime National TV at their place. ON TO THE NEXT ONE.

    ****And Also: guess what?? Pitt was just as talented, if not BETTER, than that Nittany Lions team on Saturday. Again, with almost all “Paul Chryst’ers” and Not “Narduzzi’s players”.

    —– btw, Hahaha clueless, left-behind and they don’t even know it, insulated, vacuum-sealed penn state fans try to say that Pitt was so experienced, and Senior Laden (shaking my head — so ignorant and deluded) —- YO, DUM-DUMS, THOSE ARE ALL PAUL CHRYST RECRUITS YOU SILLY, FOOLISH, PEOPLE hahaha — all of Pat Narduzzi’s oldest- players are only true Sophomores and redshirt, then Pitt has the current freshman, plus incoming recruits. Pat Narduzzi is creating magic from players he did not recruit, but he’s inspiring them.

    Goodness Gracious at least us reasonable, educated Pitt-fans know and are HYPE for Pitt’s limitless future lol. Why would I even consider the opinion of totally clueless penn state people and their dream-world, just killing brain cells haha.

    — So Pitt really could’ve crushed + STEAM ROLLED penn state but we just let them hang around! Avonte Maddox jumps a horrible-advised throw by McSorley on 3rd down, and I saw it right away and yelled, * “PICK SIX BABY!!!!: * But then Maddox just slaps at the ball, the Penn State receiver catches it for a first, and they score on the drive to stay in the game!! etc., etc., etc.!!!

    If penn state came-in and showed themselves to be a real, Big-10 Power that would absolutely be up there with Jim Harbaugh’s new Supercharged Michigan, Urban Meyer’s Ohio State, and Pat Narduzzi’s created- Michigan Stated Spartans, then Yes, Pitt fans would be over-the-moon about last Saturday.

    But as it played out, Pitt, with 95% all previous-regime, MAC recruit players — STILL showed we were Bigger, stronger, and even More athletic than penn state!!! We shoulda beat them by 21, Pitt was just BETTER.

    #Ambition + #ThePursuit

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  19. ike, actually if you read many of my “shitty” posts(most), proofing for myself is more than a full-time job. :>)

    Funny thing, I have said before and really feel that Pitt hoops is my only real love. HCPN is making me rethink that….hope Stallings does well enough to get me back. I’d be perfectly OK loving both for a long time.

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  20. I stand corrected. .. but will say that after writing 2000+ words I don’t really sit around and proof the text.

    I thought the crowd was about 60/40 at first but then the tailgate crowd came in and it looked like 70/30.

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  21. Odds for the cowgirls:
    173 Pittsburgh
    174 Oklahoma State -7 -15 -6½ -10 -6½ -10 -6½ -10 -7 EV -6½ -10 -6½ -10 -6½ -05

    Feeling like Pitt +7 is a great bet.

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  22. The only part of the stadium that had a lot of psu fans was the visitors sideline from the 30’s to the goal line. Everything else was thoroughly Pitt. Maybe the upper endzone, I can’t see that from the lower endzone. The problem is the press boxes & tv cameras face that sideline, hence people thinking it was closer to 50/50. 15-20k psu bums tops, so 75/25 Pitt.

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  23. Dr Tom, follow-up from Saturday … here is an excerpt from Cardiac Hill article just published:

    One thing a lot of fans didn’t like seeing was Oklahoma State losing to Central Michigan on Saturday. Not only did that knock the Cowboys out of the rankings, but, well, it also probably just made the team a bit angry and focused heading into this week. ICYMI, Oklahoma State lost about as terribly as you can, falling after a Hail Mary play and subsequent lateral that went for a touchdown on the final play of the game. Even worse for the Cowboys was that Central Michigan had the chance to run that play when the game should have actually ended prior to it happening.

    Yikes.

    To say that Oklahoma State will be motivated is an understatement.

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  24. Man O Man what a game!!!!!!!
    My 3 positives:
    1. Coach Duzz for having the team totally focused and ready to play. Every player seemed to mention that in the interviews.
    2. The offensive game plan was FANTASTIC thru the first half of the game. PSU didn’t know what hit them! Before they knew it Pitt had “28” on the board.
    3. The defensive pressure of our front lineman. E. Price looked like ……..are you ready?….Hugh Green for much of the game. (Great memory: Pitt Stadium announcer: (“another tackle by Hugh……Pitt Fans reply “Green”!!!)

    My 3 negatives:
    1. DB’s don’t ” looka too good”
    2. We played “not to lose” for too much of the 2nd half
    3. Loss of focus to begin the 2nd half, illustrated by continuously being penalized to start the last half.

    P.S. pmdHTP. The popular saying in the 70’s was: ” 99% of all college girls are beautiful – the other 1% go to Penn State!” Fortunately for you, your beautiful wife and niece aren’t enough to percentage wise move the numbers!!! :>)

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  25. www, yes I agree Oklahoma State will be motivated on Saturday. But at least Pitt can go into that game knowing that if they can play a better game than Central Michigan played we will have an excellent chance to upset them. There should be little fear on Pitt’s part going into that game.

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  26. @Nick Actually the upper deck end zone seats appeared to be mostly PSU fans too.

    I am with MajorMajors. The second half play calling remaining so conservative almost cost Pitt the game. Pitt only scored 14 points in the second half. The first of those scores happened halfway through the third. The second of those touchdowns was setup by Henderson’s KO return. The shovel pass touchdown to Conner was on a 3rd and goal from the 12. PSU had totally shutdown two earlier attempts on shovel passes to Orndoff. One can look at the shovel pass call to Conner as brilliant or crazy in that light.

    I know many are elated by the outcome and patting Canada and Narduzzi on the back. I can’t seem to square all that with all the complaining about Chaney’s conservative approach last year and the defensive backfield play in the PSU game. Pitt’s offense after the TD midway thru the 3rd was anemic at best. They were basically three and out on all the other series other than Blewitt’s questionable missed FG. It was setup by a 30 yard Peterman scramble.

    The game plan as it has been revealed was to run it until PSU stopped it (which they did after the 3rd quarter TD) and turn it over to the defense to win the game (which they were a dropped TD pass away from not doing). I was ready to blame Narduzzi and Canada if Pitt lost this game. I feel like Pitt escaped a game they could have embarrassingly lost.

    Interesting that at least four of Peterman’s eleven completions were on shovel passes.

    I hope we see more against OSU, but I assume the same offensive game plan will be in place. I just hope it works for 60 minutes this time.

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  27. Peterman has done done a great job over two games of minimizing the drive killing play. His only “bad” result being getting blind sided in the Villanova game that spoiled the Pitt Defense’s shut out over the Wildcats. I can list three or four plays that Nate just did the right thing. His huge run out of the pocket in the 4th Q was one of those making a bad situation smell like roses with a solid heads up play. Another thing that I give him credit for on Saturday is that he absolutely thread the needle on his TD pass to Orndoff. He put that ball right into Orndoff’s hands while the window between the hands of two defenders on either side of that window were just inches from deflecting the toss. Plus that ball was delieved by express mail with some zip on it.

    After Villanova, we were concerned about the crappy play of our OL and whether Conner could still summon up “Beast Mode”. Those concerns now can be put to rest. Before the season, I questioned why in the world this coaching staff continued to put their faith in “No Hands” Weah. He comes out against Villanova with a 4 catch day and a TD. Lots of fun watching this team develop it’s identity.

    Next week, I have no idea what to anticipate, but I do know that Narduzzi is getting the most out of his charges at the moment. What happens as they gain additional game experience down the road, anybody knows.

    My previous post on the last thread that Reed put up detailed what I have anticipated from Narduzzi from early on in his tenure here. The guy is a motivator and his kids just love playing for him. Lewis was quoted in response to the question of how Narduzzi reacted to his INT when he returned to the sideline, said “he kissed me”. So I’m not concerned about Narduzzi’s tendency to show his emotions on gameday, I think it’s great and the kids can sense the passion in the guy. He’s a winner and these Panthers want to be the winners that he is challenging them to aspire to. BTW, that Lewis INT ranks right up there with the Billy Owens pick against the Nitters, hell I would have kissed the guy too!

    The Panthers couldn’t be in a better place right now, riding on an emotional win stoked up with confidence and a ton of momentum. It’s up to Narduzzi the channel all of this energy into a great gameplan during preparation for our next “most important game of the season”.

    I must go back to last season in retrospect and remind everybody how well Pitt played on the road last year. We were only one heroic last second FG away from taking a really good B1G team to OT in our only road loss of 2015. So needless to say, the Panthers are not going to be awe struck playing against a Big 12 opponent when showing up in Stillwater to play against the big bad Cowboys of OK ST. I really have a good feeling about this one.

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  28. Agree, jrnpitt.
    Does anyone think OkState is a different team than the one who gave Central Michigan the chance for 3+ quarters. No disrespect for a team I do not know much about, but there are some negatives, but a whole lot more to like about this Pitt Panther team.

    I’ve said this season is a success for me with just one win this year if it were the right game(done), so I will enjoy for a year, but the feeling I get from these guys led by HCPN and staff is that they aren’t done yet.
    Saturday was the first step and this upcoming Saturday could be the next to something really special.

    H2P!!!

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  29. Last week it was bad snaps and poor O line play. This week the INT went off the receivers hands, but you fail to mention it was behind and high. Didn’t 2 of the TD’s come from underhand throws. Peterman threw a strike to Orndoff but that was a lot of words for a low impact guy, just saying!

    Positives
    1 Pitt won
    2 Henderson is a true weapon get him the ball.
    3 the D line played very well.

    Negatives
    1 conservative play calling late in the game on O
    2 Terrish Webb was really bad along with a few others back there.
    3 Blewitt shouldn’t be allowed to leave the locker room.

    Over all lots to build on and lots of work yet to do. This is already a great season and has the potential to take us all to places we have only dreamed of!

    Like

  30. Obviously a great win for everyone involved.

    However, I can’t understand how Pitt can be so dominant in the first half and

    almost give away the game in the second.

    The only difference between this one and all the others that we have lost over the years

    was that PSU choked at the end, with a dropped ball and an inexplicable Hail Mary.

    While I love the end result, I am not particularly encouraged, one way or the other looking

    down the road.

    The game proved that while we have some exceptional strengths, we also have some pretty dire weaknesses.

    Did we really take our foot off the petal, which makes little sense or did we tire out after the adrenaline wore off? Did Penn State figure us out, and make adjustments and if so will other teams be able to watch the film, and make those same adjustments?

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  31. Difference between Pitt fans and PSU fans: Pitt fans “We won by 3 but (insert list of reasons and negatives why it could have gone wrong and been a loss and how we are doomed in future games) PSU fans “We lost by 3 but (insert list of excuses and reasons why they easily could of won and how this is a great building experience for future games)” I know one thing on Saturday I never got too high or too low until Lewis intercepted that pass. Unless you live under a rock Pitt has a way to never win or lose easy. Saturday made all those uneasy experiences worth it.

    Like

  32. Arizona lost because of a bad snap on a field goal last night.

    I am less bothered by Blewitt than why Narduzzi chose to kick in the first place.

    I also find it dumbfounding why Peterman was rarely called on to throw a third down pass.

    Shovels don’t count.

    Like

  33. gc agreed…Nards is all about the D so I thought surely he would try to pin them back and finally get field position reset in our favor…

    Last year we were a great “2nd half adjustment” team so I am not too worried about that moving forward…but that said, we did get out-adjusted in that game and it almost cost us.

    Like

  34. I’m with Barvo. The ultra-conservative playcalling was really just strange. Peterman was doing well when he was given chances and the rushing attack had clearly slowed down by the end of the second quarter. The failure to open up the playbook (and if being at home with a two touchdown lead in a non-conference game isn’t the time to take a few chances down the field, when is?) and alter the run/pass ratio meant the offense didn’t accomplish much of anything in the second half, PSU kept all the momentum, and in the last couple of minutes they were on the verge of completely blowing a 28-7 lead in very Wannstedtian fashion.

    It was a fun game to watch and it sure felt good to win, but this game, quite frankly, did not fill me with confidence in the Narduzzi regime.

    Like

  35. There’s a dry heat down here in oklahoma. After working in Louisiana last month when it was 90 degrees and 80% humidity, I didn’t feel hot there at all. But in Oklahoma I do, even though there isn’t any humidity. Something about growing up in PA with all the humidity makes it more bearable for me.
    I’d suggest Pitt has moisture blowing into their sideline fans during this week’s game.

    Like

  36. jrn and tvx, do you really think that PSU saw the same Pitt team that Villanova saw the week before? I can only hope that Ok St is the same team that played Central Michigan.

    Like

  37. @wbb, definitely not, and my point is I think it is.

    Ok St may have an ass whipped edge, but no other advantage and certainly they were not looking ahead to this week and so took their eye off the ball for 3.5 quarters.

    Not saying 7 points is excessive but seeing Pitt play and strike hard and fast and then respond rather than folding(players moreso than coaches game calling), I am feelin’ it and it’s all good.

    H2P!!!

    Like

  38. steveH – you just can’t seem to give Peterman any credit for anything… That INT was directly in Ford’s hands smack at his forehead level- here take a look – the video at the 9th row on left side. it was a perfect throw for a 1st down.

    http://www.espn.com/college-football/video?gameId=400869436

    And yes gc – shovel passes do count because without them we’d have lost that game.

    If you all want a beauty contest go to the NFL and watch Brady or Rodgers or someone. Peterman was filling a role set by the OC during the week and he executed that role perfectly. Hell – criticizing three TD passes against Penn State? C’mon…

    Like

  39. Emel

    As an undergrad at Pitt the best concert I have ever seen, Jeff Beck at the Stanley in Pittsburgh October 15th 1980, unbelievable!!!

    Like

  40. Jeff R. – I think we’ll see the passing game get called on more now that the running game has proven to be effective. We are not going to run the ball 79% of the time every game. Talk was that Canada and Narduzzi had to see the run game really work thus the number of carries. Granted PSU’s DL didn’t play all that well or couldn’t play all that well I should say, but 334 yards at 6.1 ypc is good against any FBS team.

    I think burning Moss’ Redshirt is a questionable move also. We have four other good backs who can play but it looks like Narduzzi is pulling out all the stops this season.

    But Hey – I may win that beer bet because Peterman is on track for 30 TDs… He may get it with less than 2000 yards passing but WTH – I’ll take a free beer any way I can get it.

    Like

  41. 60% chance of rain in Stillwater OK this Saturday with an 80 temp plays right into Pitt hands.

    Hey Reed, you dont think Pitt is going to try to jam the ball down Oklahoma State after how bad their run defense is?

    I would look for a huge run game again and Pitt to run on 65% or more of the plays. Its time to accept Pitt is running heavy this year.

    Like

  42. The Pitt victory is my #1 positive. #2 is Conner’s “Beast Mode” type game. #3 is Q.Henderson.

    Honorable mentioned – Oline and Play Calling.

    The negatives in no particular order: 10 penalties, kicking game and calling TO on 4th and 16

    Like

  43. Guys – drafting up a bits and pieces article now as I’ll be with a family member during surgery tomorrow. It isn’t too serious – my son has a hernia from me kicking him in the groin repeatedly for not helping me renovate HIS kitchen.

    Don’t know if this was mentioned yet but Hendrix and Ziese are out for the year – both had surgery on Friday.

    Record day on this blog on PSU Saturday. You’d be shocked at how fast this site has grown and thanks all. I have made….. a total of…. $14.98 in two months. As stated I split that between the two charities and added my own two cents to round it up to $15.

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  44. Reed it was clearly over his forehead and Ford is coming back to the line of scrimmage, if that ball is thrown chest high it’s never picked. I don’t have a problem with Peterman and gave him credit for TD throw to TE. What I don’t understand is all the excuses for a guy who has thrown for less then 300 yards after 2 games. I know that’s not all on him and 5/1 is great but it seems you can find a harsh word for all the other players except him, why?

    Like

  45. Tvax – Yes it will be a different team when you lose to a shitty Central Michigan Team. These guys are all about being motivated to play. That is why you see big upsets in college.

    Like

  46. I’ve been to Stillwater. My son went to a wrestling camp there one summer years back (OK State has great wrestling program). It’s a nice campus and Okies are generally really friendly people….but after losing to CMU maybe not so much! :>)

    Like

  47. I share an office with an OSU fan (also named Reed) so I was quizzing him on their team.
    His take:
    James Washington is very fast and their NO.1 receiver
    McClusky is a young receiver who could end up being better than Washington.
    Juwan Sills is the taller of the three and is experienced.
    They throw lots of deep balls and like to run jet sweeps.
    Their O-line is pretty young overall.
    Their running game is better than last year and the rb’s are Barry Sanders Jr and Justice Hill,

    Their front seven is pretty good.
    CMU had success throwing the ball on OSU.

    Like

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