Pitt vs OSU Gameday Thread

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We are about to play the third game of the 2016 season and things look like they are on the upswing for the team as we sit at 2-0.  After a rather shaky opener, a 28-7 win against Villanova at Heinz Field, we hosted our long-time rival Penn State in the first meeting between the two teams in 16 years.

We won that game in a match that had two distinct halves.  In each of the first two quarters of play we out scored PSU 14-7 for a 28-14 halftime lead.  At that point, and the way we were controlling the game with our running strength (with a TOP of 18:41), you would have thought the 2nd half would be a cakewalk for us.

1st-q

2nd-q

But that’s not how Pitt rolls as they say. During the 3rd quarter the scoring evened out at 7 points apiece with Pitt still dominating the TOP with a 10:29 to 4:31 margin.  That is when Pitt fans started to get nervous though because controlling the clock for that much time and not extending our lead was unsettling. So even though we still held a 35-21 lead things were getting shaky.

3rd-q

That set the stage for the 4th quarter in which PSU flipped the script.  During the last 15 minutes Penn State controlled the ball as they started a serious run to overtake us. You can see below that they out scored us 18-7 that quarter and held a 2:24 TOP margin.   What was almost our downfall was McSorley’s passing toward the end of the game when he racked up 119 yards in the last 15 minutes of play.

4th-q

Given the way the game ended – McSorley not seeing a wide open PSU WR in the end zone and instead threw the INT – you can see why Pitt fans are wary of today’s game as visitors in Stillwater.  We didn’t pull away for the win last Saturday after holding a nice halftime lead.  Instead we held on for dear life…but we won against Penn State and it has felt sweet all week.

Here are the post-game notes for the Penn State game issued by the Pitt Media dept.

Team

After a 16-year hiatus in the Keystone Classic rivalry, Pitt defeated Penn State, 42-39, in a thrilling back-and-forth contest at a sold-out Heinz Field on Saturday afternoon.

 The attendance of 69,983 set a Pittsburgh sports all-time record. The previous record crowd for a sporting event held in the city of Pittsburgh was 68,918 for the Pitt football game against Fordham in 1938 (at Pitt Stadium).

 Pitt’s 42 points marked the most the Panthers have ever scored against Penn State. The previous Pitt high for points against the Nittany Lions was 41 points in the 1931 contest.

 Saturday’s contest was also the highest scoring Pitt-Penn State game ever. The previous record for points in a game in the prior 96 meetings between the Panthers and Nittany Lions was 74 points in the 1968 game.

 The Pitt rushing attack finished with 341 yards on 56 carries for an average of 6.1 yards per rush. The Panthers held Penn State star running back Saquon Barkley to just 72 yards rushing on 31 attempts, an average of 2.4.

 The Pitt offense opened with a 99-yard drive on its first possession of the game, highlighted by 48 rushing yards from James Conner and 47 rushing yards from Quadree Henderson. The 10-play march in 4:43 was Pitt’s first 99-yard touchdown drive since an eight-play drive in 3:37 against Delaware on Aug. 30, 2014.

 The Pitt defense forced four turnovers in the game, including an interception by Ryan Lewis in the end zone with 1:15 to play that sealed the victory for the Panthers.

 James Conner

 Junior running back James Conner tallied his 12th career 100-yard rushing game and 13th multi-TD effort.

 Conner finished with 117 yards on 22 rushes for an average of 5.3 yards per carry, and had a one-yard scoring run

 He also caught a 12-yard touchdown on 3rd and 11 with 10:24 left in the game, putting Pitt up 42-31 and ultimately providing the winning points. It was Conner’s second consecutive week with a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the same contest.

 Ryan Lewis

 Senior defensive back Ryan Lewis, whose first career interception clinched the Pitt win, also finished with a career-high nine tackles in the game, breaking his previous best of six set against Delaware on Aug. 30, 2014.

 George Aston

 Sophomore fullback George Aston scored the first two rushing touchdowns of his career, both in the first half.

 It was Aston’s second career multi-TD game after he caught two receiving scores against Louisville on Nov. 21, 2015.

 Quadree Henderson

 Sophomore wide receiver Quadree Henderson continued his impressive start to the season with another big game. After tallying 211 all-purpose yards last week against Villanova, Henderson accumulated 201 all-purpose yards against the Nittany Lions. He finished with 96 yards on kickoff returns (with a long of 84), 58 rushing and 47 receiving.

 Henderson also caught his first career touchdown in the second quarter, reeling in a seven-yard score from senior quarterback Nathan Peterman.

 Ejuan Price

 Senior defensive end Ejuan Price forced two fumbles in a game for the first time in his collegiate career. Price stripped Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley twice—initially on a seven-yard sack in the first quarter and then on a six-yard rushing loss in the second quarter. Pitt scored touchdowns on the subsequent drives off both turnovers.

Price was a force in the game, also finishing with three quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss and one sack.

Yesterday we all made our predictions and I noticed that more than a few of us picked OSU to win.  That certainly isn’t far-fetched give what we saw late Last Saturday afternoon.  But at the same time a bunch of national sportswriters have chosen Pitt to come out on top.

I think we pull it off because Canada opens the passing game up and that complements the run game.

So – leave your impressions as the game unfolds.  It should be a good hard-fought one and let’s hope the Panthers are the last team standing…

(I’ll not be doing in-game comments as I’ll be watching at Dan 72’s house with some other Pitt fans)

429 thoughts on “Pitt vs OSU Gameday Thread

  1. Huff – R.Foster fumbled in the previous game and was in Saban’s doghouse. He has been passed on the depth chart by a sophomore. I hope he is going to class and pursuing his degree.

    I wish Mr. Foster the best…

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  2. How did we only lose this game by seven points? Maddox was burned so many times that I thought his uniform was going to spontaneously combust!
    News flash, we need better, faster, TALLER defensive backs. Pitt can’t get new guys like Miller & Hamlin involved in this defense fast enough.

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  3. Meanwhile, nd is 1-2, the pedos honored their enabler yesterday in creepy valley and Chubbs Chaney is pushing the right offensive buttons at Georgia with a true FR QB as they are now 3-0.

    I wouldn’t be suprised to see a change in our defensive scheme this week – maybe a 3-3-5 or 3-4-4. Jarrett did nothing yesterday but stand up and get pushed around. That has to be obvious on tape – why not put Wirginis or Bam in as a 4th LB to speed rush? Or Mitchell as a 5th DB to cover over the top?

    We need better, not more of the same to beat the tar holes.

    HTP!

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  4. Emel – Dan72’s food was too good for me to get out of the kitchen.

    I missed the last part of the game because I was driving any my phone kept going in and out on the game broadcast. I am working on the Sunday Podcast as we speak…

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  5. Sure I’m disappointed about the defense, but I give them credit for only giving up 14 points after halftime. We showed way more heart and toughness than FSU — our game was easily headed the same direction as theirs, but we didn’t give up fighting. That said, the lack of carries for Ollison bothers me. How many snaps on offense did he even get? Especially in a game that played out the way this one did, I feel that his fresh legs could have really helped us. It’s tough coming back after a delay like that after you’ve played hard for 45+ minutes of action. Heck, I remember games where it was hard even coming back out after half time.

    Is Whitehead one of our fastest players? I know he is a physical player and that’s probably why he is at safety, but we could use some help at corner. Can’t we try him at corner?

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  6. Like most here I’m happy with the fight this team showed. Didn’t
    Quit and didn’t SOP. They easily could have and would have in the past. That said, our lack of speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball is glaring and scary. I really thought NP would show a lot of improvement this year. He’s not any better and may be worse. He is what he is..a below average P5 QB. Our running game will have no chance this year if our opponents can a bring LBs and safeties crashing to the line because we don’t have a QB or receivers not named Henderson.

    All that said, this game is on Narduzzi. His stubborn insistence on his defense when we don’t have the athletes to execute it is ridiculous. If he doesn’t change things up and provide more safety help we will give up more than 40 points a lot this season. Washington had 296 yards receiving and was often 7 to 10 yards behind our defense taking a nap waiting for the ball. Coach – your kids didn’t quit and played their hearts out…that’s also on you and great job. Now, give them a chance to win by admitting that They can’t execute your scheme and make some adjustments. They aren’t suddenly going to become faster bigger or stronger this week, so you have to adjust whether you want to or not.

    Love for someone to tell me I watched the wrong game and I’m wrong. I really want to be wrong!

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  7. This team plays hard, and offensively although one dimensional is putting up points and playing exciting football. Pitt is at a talent deficit on defense. PN will get that fixed, it’s only year 2. The Coastal is still there for the taking. Focus on NC.

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  8. One last thing, the weather delay helped the pokes. Even Gundy said so. They were reeling and that time was used to adjust and rest. Not that his receiver needed any, he was burning PITT’so db all day.

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  9. UNC is a better team than OK St. More true balance. QB may be young but I agree loss on Narduzzi. No QB, No DL, No LB’s and No WR’s or DB’s. Connor needs to play less. He isn’t the same and that is to be expected. The gimmick offense will not work anymore. OK St. Shut it down in the 4th quarter. The sweeps etc. you must have at least an appearence of a passing game to win.

    I hope Lewis and Maddox if they were brought back to Pitt find another sport. Worst DB’s since Pitts.

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  10. Man, huge pass plays on both ends of this game! Realistically, SOP loses this game going away, folded tents headed for the exits by the 4th Q. Didn’t happen. We got beat testerday by a pretty good football team.
    I’m not making any excuses for our defensive secondary that collectively got beat like a drum, all,,, game,,,, long, but we just need bigger, taller, more talented DBs in there to defend the likes of WRs such as Washington. That guy was Boyd like in his performance yesterday! The other issue was that the required constant pressure that the DL needed to be put on Rudolph was inconsistent. When he had time, Rudolph just sliced and diced us. Good for him, he tossed some nice rainbows that he lobbed in there where only his guys could pull them in, and pull them in they did.
    In any case, another entertaining contest to watch, if you didn’t have any skin in the game. For me though, I’m not happy. I see more of the same problem for Pitt against UNC with the troops we have as CBs right now. Hamlin can’t get healthy soon enough for me.
    ACC play on Saturday onward! The Pursuit!

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  11. A list of observations that mean absolutely nothing….

    The loss to Oklahoma St. is meaningless, and I expected much worse, given the Pitt defensive personnel and OSU team speed.
    The OC clearly has no confidence in the QB.
    Do the coordinators actually scout the opposing team’s personnel when putting in a game plan? Hate to second guess, but 1 on 1 coverage and HB tosses against a team with great speed seems pretty short sighted… or stubborn.
    If you measure statistics against D-1 personnel only (exclude Villanova game), this defense has the chance to be spectacularly bad this year. The thought of what teams like UNC, Va Tech, Miami, and Clemson could do is really scary.
    Marshall gave up 65 points to Akron, who scored 10 on Wiscy the previous week. Despite that score, that Marshall game will be treacherous. Also meaningless when it comes to winning the Coastal.
    Chad Voytik has been replaced at QB and Arkansas St. is 0-3. Looks like OU transfer Justice Hansen (soph) will lead the Red Wolves going forward and vindicating some on this board. I hear the duck hunting in Jonesboro, Arkansas is fantastic in the fall.
    A top 10 1-AA team (or “FCS” as the politically correct refer to it) is a tougher opponent than bottom feeders of the Power 5. The risk/reward is too great. For the life of me, I cannot understand why P-5 athletic directors schedule these teams expecting a win. There is absolutely no upside to beating them and only downside when you lose. If you want weak opponents, go find out who has the smallest recruiting budget in the MAC, Sun Belt, or Conference USA. Those are the programs you can schedule out of conference and keep your job.
    A follow up to point 7…The Missouri Valley Football Conference is damn good. The South Dakota St. Jackrabbits gave my TCU Horned Frogs everything they could handle. Illinois St. beat Northwestern. Northern Iowa beat Iowa St. Then there are the North Dakota St. Bison. They have won the last 5 FCS championships IN A ROW!!!! Yesterday, they did what neither Todd Graham nor Pat Narduzzi could do…go into Nile Kinnick stadium and beat the Iowa Hawkeyes. What a win for the MVC.
    The Army Black Nights have their best football team in 15 years. They will beat Navy this year.
    I am a huge believer in the concept that most things in college football can be explained by demographics. Unless there is some major migration to the Northeast or some transformational athletes become statistical anomalies in Pennsylvania, I don’t ever think we will see the days where Pitt, Penn St., Syracuse, and WVU compete for national titles on a consistent basis. Maybe if all the stars align, one of these teams can go 11-1 and pose a threat, but not year in and year out. As much as any of us older (I am 39) fans wish for the 70’s and 80’s glory days to come back, I think 9-3 is the ceiling for most of the rust belt teams east of Columbus, Ohio.

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  12. Dallas Mike – someone else must have your edit button.

    Great list of observations by the way.

    I hate to lose – we need to fix some things fast and be ready for our ACC revenge game against unc next Saturday.

    HTP!

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  13. UPittbaseball: Do you mean the Pitts that plays for the Miami Dolphins in the NFL? Yes HCPN needs to upgrade the DB’s because his scheme calls for a lot of single man to man coverage and not to many CB’s will stay with Washington one on one on a slippery field.

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  14. Well we now know how we stand up to one of the most prolific passing attacks in the country.

    Easy enough to blame the D-backs, and they certainly deserve their share of criticism. But football is one or lost on the line of scrimmage and our inability to put any pressure on the QB had as much to do with result as anything else. Even many of our blitzes were ineffective.

    Kudos to the coaches for the halftime adjustment forcing Mason to throw underneath, putting pressure on him to be more accurate. Major reason we made it close. Watching him air it out with our guys running in pursuit, and their great receivers adjusting to the ball was getting tiring.

    I place as much of the blame for the loss on the offense, not nearly as many long sustained drives as needed. The offensive line not nearly as dominant as we hoped for. Too many breakdowns in pass coverage. Peterman not rising to the occasion often enough.

    There is still a lot of good to say about this game. We didn’t get blown out which looked highly probable for a while. We made a lot of big plays on both sides of the ball. (just not enough) Conner made big plays running and receiving, Henderson is special. Weah is coming on, and we look to have another receiver in Tipton, who almost became a big star.

    Galambos and especially Caprara made some big plays to help keep us in the game.

    Hendrix and Hamlin might have really helped in this game, but we will never know. We certainly could have used more talent at D-End and corner.

    I didn’t really expect a win knowing our history against quality QB’s with great receivers and the current level of defensive play. My hope was that our offense would be more dominant. It’s still pretty good, but not Big 12 good.

    We get another chance at them next year. Hopefully Rudolph and Washington will be in the NFL.

    The obvious answer is recruiting, I don’t think this game hurt us there, National TV, big time crowd, lot’s of excitement and fun. Maybe best that the fourth quarter was played on the internet.

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  15. Ike – Yes that Pitts and he still
    Sucks and wont smell the field here in Miami. Selling cars on 51 next fall.

    Boyd – I hope Timmons shows your prima donna ass how football is played today.

    DallasMike – What are our numbers after last night?

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  16. Nice stuff Dallas Mike. Narduzzi will have to bring in more players from outside the WPIAL, but it doesn’t help when when he isn’t getting many of the best local players. Kelly is eating his lunch, this year, and has Jurkovec lined up. The latest is Robert Hainsley of IMG Academy formerly of Gateway HS.

    You never get them all, but you need to get most of them, and right now ND is getting most of them.

    I agree that having our D-backs try to run with their receivers on on one was a big miscalculation. Especially when our pass rush was ineffective. The halftime adjustment should have been made sooner.

    However the game was lost by an ineffective fourth quarter offense. Two games in a row, hope it doesn’t become a trend.

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  17. One thing you can always rely on is the fact that when Pitt loses a football game that those who like to criticize quickly locate their keyboards.
    Another game where the cumulative points bust through the 80 barrier.
    I’m not apologizing for our loss, but how did our team keep up with these guys to lose by only seven? Scoring 38 points wins a lot of games this season. Putting it in a different perspective, I’d rather have our +80 point contest where we are in the game until the bitter end than the 80+ WTF happened beat down that FSU just endured. As a matter of fact after Pitt’s own WFT moment in the first few seconds of the game going down 7-0 I was surprised that we didn’t have the exact same kind of ass kicking handed to us by the Cowboys.

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  18. UPITT – We all want the team to progress faster bit through Houston comparison is not fair. Sumlin was successful there as well while PN followed Potato Paul.

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  19. I’m not in the game for moral victories but I can actually see and siphon what happens on the field. Yes PITT has hole that need plugged but they gave a great team effort yesterday and we need to take the game for what is was. imo that is a big improvement from what we all getting way to use to.

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  20. Step off the ledge boys. We lost a game we were an under dog in. They have the best pass game we’ll likely face all year. Most teams have a hiccup against an inferior opponent, theirs happened last week. Focus on the division .

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  21. Root Sports has the Pitt OK State game on right now.

    Just watched Maddox blitz and hurry the QB’s throw for an incompletion right before their missed FG. The stat sheet on Pitt’s website shows no QB hurries. Hmmm…

    I’m closing this game out and looking forward to our revenge game vs unc.

    HTP!

    Like

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