POV Predictions & Know The Enemy

(Game Notes – don’t leave home without them)

Marshall – just the name strikes fear into opposing football teams!

Not really, I just wanted a dramatic opening.  But Marshall isn’t a program to be taken lightly no matter what their current record is – which stands at 1-2 with big scoring losses to Akron (65-38) and then Louisville (59-28) both at home.  Their singular win is against Morgan State also at home.

So Pitt will be their first away game of the season.  In normal times we’d think that an opposing team would face a lot of screaming Pitt fans in Heinz Field but I wonder about that for this weekend.  Pitt is also coming off two high scoring losses and there may not be all that many butts in the seats – especially given that the game starts at 7:30 pm.

Marshall’s Thundering Herd resides in Conference USA and while many Pitt fans may look down their noses at this it is my firm belief that Marshall shouldn’t be taken lightly.  As a matter of fact while most of us looked at the beginning part of the schedule and saw three ‘big games’ I have been writing that there are four – because Marshall always seem to annually upset a team that didn’t take them seriously enough.

Last season they  went 10-3 and beat a few teams that oddsmakers said they weren’t supposed to starting of with a convincing win against Big 10’s Purdue and ending with a bowl win against Conference USA’s UCONN.  Ex-WVU DC Doc Holliday is the head coach there and has racked up an impressive record of 51-30.

On paper this should be an easy win… but personally I have no firm handle on what this Pitt team is all about this season.  We seem to be great at the run with 250 yards per game and that is mainly because we are breaking big runs on jet sweeps every so often…but are only averaging 5.0 ypc which means we are getting stopped at or behind the LOS rather often.

We are scoring 36 ppg yet are giving up 32 and have a 2-2 record.  In our two losses we have given up 82 total points and scored 77 – but still lost the games.  Get that – we averaged 38.5 points and lost both games.

Here are  the Marshall stats through their three games.  Note that their scoring got a great bump from a 62-0 win over Morgan State.  However in their two losses against the better teams they still scored an average of 33 points.  They will move the ball on us and I think our pass defense, while it will be a bit better, will be tested all day and found wanting.

Marshall Team Stats – Through games 09/29/2016
Stat Rank Value
Total Offense 63 432.3
Rushing Offense 84 159.7
Passing Offense 39 272.7
Team Passing Efficiency 32 153.25
Scoring Offense T-19 42.7
Total Defense 114 478.7
Rushing Defense 67 155.0
Passing Yards Allowed 122 323.7
Team Passing Efficiency Defense 108 153.45
Scoring Defense 122 41.3

The Herd has an excellent QB in SO Chase Litton.  He’s an accurate passer who I think will light us up… especially if we shared our game film with the Marshall staff – BTW that is voluntary and some schools won’t do it (here is an interesting article about that).

 Here are his career passing stats.  Note that he was sacked only 16 time last season and threw 23 TDs to 8 INTs.  He ended up with a seasonal

littonThis season he is off to a gangbusters start also – but remember he played his first game against Morgan State.  We need to get INTs against this kid – he threw three just last week (against 4 TDs).  But he’s averaging 16.0 yards per completion with a 181.7 rating which puts him and that is pretty unnerving.  He’d be ranked #7th nationally had he played in all their games.

litton-2

Here is the official Marshall football program’s Twitter Account.  It is interesting that they put more faith in our passing game than our OC Matt Canada does.  Take a look at these:

.@DOCMUFB: @Pitt_FB will take some shots down the field, but they’ll also take advantage of play-action as safeties creep up to stop run.

.@DOCMUFB: If you’re the head coach @Pitt_FB & you don’t have great players, it’s your own fault. Such a tremendous recruiting area there.

.@DOCMUFB: @Pitt_FB is excellent in the run game, but they do have the ability to throw it so you have to be able to defend that too.

Seems like they are either misinformed or are trying to lull the Panther kids to sleep.  I had to laugh at that second one which is what every one of us Pitt fans have been saying for some time.  I don’t know haw ‘great’ it is now but it’s still very good if we can keep the bigger programs from stealing kids right off our own campus.

Marshall’s run defense is suspect but I think Canada needs to start this next game with a normal run/pass mixture (60/40) just to get an idea of how we can play when the passing game is used at the beginning of the game and not just later in the 2nd half.

If Peterman can’t get some 1st downs with his arm (and not just on 3rd down plays) then put Stocker in sooner or later.  After this match the ‘practice’ games are done and we have the ACC schedule in front of us.

Pat Narduzzi will use this Marshall game as an audition for his recruits especially if we get up but a 14+ margin in the 1st half.  He is planning on doing that in the defensive backfield with FRs Coleman and possibly Hamlin anyway – and he was impressed with LB Saleem Brightwell’s game last week.  So even with Mike Caprara’s return from injury I think he’ll be sat down after a while so that Brightwell can get more playing time.

As to the outcome of tomorrows game? Who knows?  I don’t pretend to have a crystal Ball… actually I do pretend that, but I think this could be one of the surprise games of the year and not in a good way.  I’ve gone with either my gut (PSU win – wrong) or my heart (OSU loss – wrong) and (NC loss – wrong) so I’m going back to my gut and saying we win a close game.  But I’ll not be that suprised or shocked if it goes the other way:

Pitt – 35  Marshall – 31

 

127 thoughts on “POV Predictions & Know The Enemy

  1. H2P. We will be Plundering the herd tonight.

    Note to coaches: think how much more effective your 4th Quarter turtling would be, if you showed a strong enough passing game in the first 3 quarters to draw the DBs and LB back away from the LOS. Then you could run with ease thru the 4th. And 4th Q screens and shovels would be that much more effective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sitting in Ditka’s for lunch and the Marshall beat writer is sitting near us.

    He tells me that if Pitt takes care of their business (as they should) then this should be a cake walk for the Panthers.

    Hmmm…

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  3. “Pitt’s blown lead against the Tar Heels was so spectacularly done, you almost have to be in awe.

    Look at the numbers. They allowed 25 offensive plays and 108 combined yards over two drives in 5:43 of time off the clock.

    Plus the defense allowed four fourth downs in four tries.

    That’s all almost impossible to do. Further consider that the Panthers entered the fourth quarter with a double digit lead, scored another three, forced two punts in the quarter, and STILL MANAGED TO LOSE!”

    Anyone that’s followed Pitt football over the last 32 years, realizes that : nothing is impossible with this program. For that is the essence of SOP.

    New Motto for the Blue and White

    Pitt Football : Doing the Impossible

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  4. One wonders what the Football Gods have in store for us this evening.

    Well at least we can have a few strong drinks before the Chinese Water Torture begins 🙂

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  5. To think that the B1G wanted Buttgers over Pitt…lol….like those clowns will command the New York TV market. They stink in both FB & BB too.

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  6. You beat me to the punch Jack. Rusted out Rutgers got pitted today. The Bucknuts were even merciful and didn’t try to score another TD, after being on the Buttgers 4 yard line with over 2 minutes to go. 58-0 was humiliating enough I suppose.

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  7. Emel – but they (butgers) are in the Big Joke so the pedos and Ohio Fake can secure needed easy wins each year.

    I heard a report yesterday that the NFL ratings are down substantially so far this year because of two reasons – I won’t mention either because Reed will delete my post as being too political.

    I know I’m not watching the nfl. Much better entertainment available.

    Off to tailgate before cheering loud and proud for Pitt. My hat will match the seating in Heinz Field.

    Oh, one more note, did you see the logo at midfield for cuse vs nd? NFL logo – yeah right, not making that up.

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  8. ~ EE. Yep I agree, they got some more big Cable subscribers in NJ and two more almost guaranteed wins for Ohio Fake, Michigan and the Pedo’s. So everyone all around is happy. Except maybe the fans, who I’m sure not too thrilled to be playing Buttgers and the Twerps every year. But hey, since when do the fans/alumni count ?

    And yes NFL TV ratings are down 12 to 15%. Wonder why ! (sarc)
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2016/09/23/nfls-tv-ratings-continue-slide-amidst-national-anthem-protests/#236f759c4591

    Just looked at the ND/Cuse highlites, they played at Met Life Stadium in NYC so reason for NFL logo at midfield. They did have the endzones painted ‘Syracuse’ and in their colors, So at least Met Life did that for them.

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  9. Butgers a sure win for Mich, MSU, OSU, Iowa, Wisky, not so sure of the lower middle class peds. So arrogant and they have only one big title since joining that All East conference and that was twenty years ago. Speaking of Ohio state. i remember a game at Pitt Stadium in late Majors 2 when they were up by 50 or 60 points when two guys in red and silver (on purpose) were screaming at Cooper, I believe, to let the 4th string QB pass. Glad we arent in that conference. The 4th quarter numbers of UNC are mind numbing.
    NFL? – cable out for weekend, wont miss it at all. They can sit in $hit.
    Off to the game. HAIL TO PITT,
    Ps Boy has Doc been taking shots at Pitt, more shots than he drinks. Good coach though. Send him back in a pine box to Tombstone West Virginny.
    HAIL TO PITT.

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  10. We have a passing game, who knew?

    Weah with a great game and Tipton with a TD.

    O-line giving Peterman time to throw and RB’s picking up blitzes very nicely.

    Peterman on the money.

    Defense also playing very well.

    Like

  11. The announcers were particularly lousy last night. They hardly ever mention the players making tackles. For those that watch channel 2 Pittsburgh I thought the one dude sounded exactly like Paul Martino. Who is a lousy news broadcaster.

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