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. Nice write up Reed – you keep us well informed.

    Clipped this from PSN –

    “Should Chase Litton be 100% on Saturday, Pitt fans may have reason to worry: 9 different receivers on Marshall have recorded a reception of over 20 yards this year when Litton plays.

    Defensively, Marshall ranks 113th in total defense despite shutting out Morgan State in the opener.”

    The Pitt D needs to stiffen up this weekend and the O needs to continue it’s successful play calling & execution from the first 3 qtrs of the P5 games, but extending the effort into the 4th qtr.

    A total team effort is needed for all 4 qtrs this Saturday to get the season back on track vs the Blundering Herd.

    Pitt wins 45-35

    HTP!

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  2. Wwb – Re: overrated HC jobs. Can’t disagree with any of that which makes our lukewarm recruiting even harder to take. with the watered down WVU, PSU and ND you’d think Pitt would be racking up the best Tri-State recruits but we don’t.

    Not even close actually.

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  3. Prediction: I will take full advantage of the beer sales at Heinz Field tomorrow night. I want to have a positive feeling but until proven otherwise I will be cautious. I can’t see Pitt stopping any QB that has a pulse and can make the forward throwing motion. More importantly I want to see if the coaches continue to be stubborn and play one on one pass coverage and prevent offense later in the game, that to me will set a tone for the rest of the year. That being said…Pitt 45 – Marshall 42 Marshall misses a potential game tying field 40 yard field goal as the fire works prematurely begin, distracting the kicker to badly miss wide right.

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  4. Not sure Marshall’s numbers mean that much for this game considering their #1 QB has missed so much time. Maybe the defense doesn’t give as many points with a more effective field general running the offense? Point is, we just really don’t know much about PITT or Marshall this game. One of these weeks I hope for PITT to define themselves more clearly or perhaps they already have? If that’s the case then look out. imo, PITT hasn’t had to use the whole playbook because of early leads the past two games and with Ford getting hurt didn’t help at all either. I look for an improved passing attack here and more pressure on the QB

    PITT 41

    Marshall 24

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  5. Reed, recruits don’t evaluate coaching jobs but they do put some emphasis on packed stadiums. There are are still, and has been for a while, Western Pa recruits who don’t even give Pitt a thought.

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  6. First – it is good that the game is at night as it is supposed to rain until 2-3 pm per weather underground who are better than Reed’s Drunken Weathergirl. Still expect A sparse crowd.
    Second: As pointed out in game thread by several – deceased grandparents could tear this defense up so that the Marshall QB has been injured is not much of a hindrance to them.
    Third: Wasn’t there an incident with poopy pants back in the Majors/Sherrell area and Ped STate not sending reel to reel film to Pitt? .
    Given Reed’s perfect record on predictions I am suddenly very very nervous but figuring Pitt can score 48 by the end of the third quarter PITT 48 MARSHALL 38.
    HAIL TO PITT, STAMPEDE THE HERD.

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  7. Some rain possible for Saturday in the ‘Burgh. I look for Pitt to do more of the same – run, sweep, run, sweep and an occasional downfield pass. Pitt takes the early lead, but Marshall comes thundering back. The wet conditions slow the scoring. This one goes to OT with Pitt pulling out the win. Pitt 35 Marshall 31.

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  8. Marshall not the team they have been the past three years. They will throw we will put pressure on them I say Pitt 38-21. I hope all the fans who are always negative on this site come to the game if possible to root on our team. HAIL TO PITT

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  9. This team was beaten by Akron 65-38 at home. The amazing QB of theirs played that entire game. Pitt will hold a double digit lead the entire second half, and it will never feel like a contest.
    45-17 Pitt.

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  10. .@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.

    wow, this is a shot across the bow of the USS Nard Dog.

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  11. Ollie better get at least 10 touches tomorrow or that talented kid will be looking at other options of where to play. Even Fffffffrenchie got to carry the ball last week after Muy Pequena Lopes did the previous week.

    Talk about adding insult to injury. Oy

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  12. I have zero issues with what Doc said about recruiting. I also think its accurate. When it comes to recruiting, he walks the walk and talks the talk. He has been a top notch recruiter for a long time, proven track record. Also, Doc talked to Pitt on the last coaching search.

    Pitt 47
    Marshall 41

    If somehow our defense gets torched and our offense has the ball late in 4th quarter and cannot close the deal needing points, it wouldn’t totally shock me. Then Narduzzi will do a 2 minute press conference after the game. He will mention that the coaches did a great job putting the players in the right position. He will mention how Marshall has some good players, nothing he can do. They even have scholorship players.

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  13. Reed, I’m not sure I understand your logic in suggesting a lower turnout because of a 730pm start. Seems more like a plus to me. Now, I expect the crowd to be down primarily because of the last two SOP losses, followed by the opponent.

    BTW – when will they announce the game time for the UVA match-up on Oct 15?

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  14. Emel’s Tea Leaves read:

    Pitt 52
    Thundering Turds 41

    Lots of fireworks at Ketchup Bottle, rain and sop keep the crowd down.

    Sweet Carolina is sung in a downpour and then a mass exodus.

    We Are …..(oh forgetaboutit)

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  15. Based on the last two games, Trubisky looked like an all pro throwing short and intermediate routes, Rudolph was all pro throwing deep routes. Maybe Litton will be all pro throwing both intermediate and deep routes. Then the logical assumption is Pitt is playing from behind most of the game and can’t pull it out in the end. Hope I’m wrong.

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  16. Pitt 42

    Marshall 31

    The offense does well but the 4th quarter conservative play calling continues. Score is closer than actual game circumstances.

    A lot of yellow seats in the audience tomorrow.

    Secondary improves due to schemes being adjusted and personnel changes but is still a WIP.

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  17. I feel this is a tight game and Marshall will want it more and so will the coach. We win but barely and need a Blewitt FG to do it.

    Pitt 33 Marshall 30

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  18. I think Pitt should leave the tarp off and turn this into a mudder. It would turn the game into a running game and favor their offense.

    Pitt 37 – Marshall 31 (Still giving all fans a heart attack as Marshall has a chance to score to win the game)

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  19. 52-13
    Pitt Panthers
    Defense comes alive.
    Defensive line pressures quarterback, along with weak-side blitzes.
    Men, where have you been all season?

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  20. Thundering Herd 45 Pitt 37. In what is becoming an all too familiar theme–out coached again. Should have grabbed a proven winner in Doc when we had the chance!

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  21. Pitt 48
    Hurd 10

    At least all of you complainers (finally) get the gold helmets and gold pants – minus stripes. Now maybe you can focus on the W-L column.

    HTP

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  22. Hard to Pitt in any game with our defensive backfield. But I’ll go with Pitt 35 to 28 with Marshall missing on a long bomb to end the game.

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  23. PITT 44 – Marshall 27. Score is closer than the actual game as Marshall wins the 4’th qtr. : 17-3 as Stocker, Taleni & everyone not on the two deep plays {except freshmen who will redshirt for the year}.

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  24. UNC hearing scheduled by NCAA for 10/28, maybe they will come to a final decision by 2020. We should take a poll …. who gets off scot free first .. the Infamous 3 from PSU or UNC. Those enablers may never get to trial.

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  25. Doc Holiday, Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgury , Class of 1871: we welcome you, once again to the (Heinz) OK Corral. And once again, you’ll escape with your life. But Wyatt Earp won’t save you, because, Marshall, there’s a new Sherrif in town.

    Our DL plays the game of its life, and they and the LBs have 6 sacks (sacks of Terds, so to speak!). OL continues its rampage, and we have a 18 point lead in Q4. NP converts on (3) 4th Q third down passes. Blewett adds (2) 4th Q FGs and the good guys in the BLUE hats win, 48-20.

    I saw it all in a vision last night!

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  26. News & Notes for Saturday’s Epic Struggle (otherwise known as Battle of the Blunderers)

    (1-2) Marshall stumbles into Pittsburgh to face the staggering, punch drunk Pitt Panthers (2-2)

    Game Time : 7:30
    Place : Ketchup Bottle Field

    What can one say, when you have the #94 ranked scoring defense Pitt Panthers facing off against the #122 ranked scoring defense Marshall Thundering Turds. Can these teams play defense ? In one word……..NO !

    Boring it shouldn’t be. Comical yes, but boring no.

    The Blundering Herd gives up an average of 478 yards per game and 41.3 ppg.
    Meanwhile the boys in Blue and White give up an avg. of 422.3 yards per game and 32 ppg.

    This despite both teams having ‘Rent-a-Win’ victims for one of their wins. And indeed Marshall’s only win.

    These teams give up yardage quicker than a politician gives up his (or her) honor and dignity.

    However these teams come at the offensive game in quite opposite directions.
    The boys in Blue and White keep it on the ground, in the Ground Canada Offense while Doc Holliday’s gunslingers like to sling it all over the lot.

    Marshall is coming off a huge blowout loss to Louisville, 59 to something
    While Pitt is coming off……well what else, another disappointing 4th quarter loss in a game it led all of, but the last 2 seconds. The Hard Luck Kids for sure.

    If you plan on attending…..Yellow Seat Covers are optional !

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  27. I imagine Doc has some decent WRs from Florida since he’s supposed to have some good connections down there – with a decent sounding QB the continued big plays concern me.

    But I like Pitt 37 to 27.

    Go Pitt.

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