Know the Enemy & Predictions: VT

VT is one of those teams we fans talk about when we say that Pitt has to start winning ‘big’ games.  But the fact is that all our remaining games are ‘big’ as long as we keep winning them – it is what will keep us in the hunt for the ACC Coastal championship.

So what are the things we need to know about and then see our team do to win this game? Here are my thoughts…

We need to knock the Hokie QB Jerod Evans out of the game. Seriously.

This kid has thrown for 19 TDs against only two INTs in seven games and this is his first season to boot. That scares me and it better scare both HC Pat Narduzzi and DC What’s-his-name.

That was the first thing that popped out of my mind.  Sorry it was negative but when a QB has this stat line:

evans

…one has to wonder what they will do against our poor and now jury-rigged defensive backfield.  But there is more to Evan’s game than just passing – he has 85 carries for 417 yards at a 4.9 ypc clip and has three TDs in doing it.  That places him as the 2nd best rusher on the VT team.

Here is Evan’s Game Log for your perusal:

evans-games

I’m not too sure we are equipped to handle this young man defensively.  As a matter of fact I think he tears us up tomorrow night. Evan’s passing over the last two games, against Miami and Syracuse, has averaged 289 ypg.  That is what I’m talking about above – if he gets close to that number we’ll have problems.

snip_20161026081302Here you can see our head-to-head comparisons with VT.  Their allowing only 17.8 ppg is going to be a problem – actually if they hold us to less that 30 points I believe we’ll lose .  Our defense is just not equipped to hold an offense like theirs down to a lower scoring game.

Here is this odds maker’s background info on this game – I like the way they lay the info out so understandably.  One other bit of numbers I think is good to have when trying to predict the outcome of a college game is how the team did in their past games of the season.

vt-last-5

From this you can see that our passing defense does have an upward trend – the shutdown of the Cavalier’s passing in the 2nd half of last weeks game was a pleasant surprise in that regard. 

You can see that after the two pass defense debacles in our losses against OK State and NC our pass defense has given up an average of 216 ypg in the last three games – a far cry from the first four games of season.  Still, an average of 328 ypg passing over the last five games isn’t all that heartwarming.  Let’s hope our upward trend in defending the pass continues.

That is a lot of info on VT.  How does Pitt stack up in this game?

Well, first off you have to address the running game of Pitt if you’re an opposing DC.  We have an heavy impact ground attack that has us rushing for 240 ypg which lands us 20th in the nation.  Some of that is thunder in the form of James Conner; 124 carries for 531 yards (4.3 ypc) and 7 TDs and he’s offset with lightning by Quadree Henderson’s 32 carries for 349 yards (10.9 ypc) and 3 TDs.

Those are the two main runners and isn’t it interesting that one is a WR and kick returner?

Rounding out the ball carriers we have true FR Chawntez Moss who kicks in a 6.2 ypc clip.  he’s getting more work as the games roll around. I’d like to see him become the main ball carrier for one full game and wonder what he’d produce if you gave him the ball for 20-25 carries.  I’d think he’d break at least one long gainer.  That 6.2 ypc is nothing to sneeze at and he could easily get 150+ yards given more carries.

Will this be another game where the OC, Matt Canada, puts the ball in Peterman’s hands more often and allow him to throw some deeper passes? Who knows? Here is what Peterman’s done this season:

np-vt2

 

You can see that he had QB Passer Ratings of over 150 in three games (150.0 is a quality benchmark like batting .300 or 1,000 yards rushing); Penn State with three TDs, Marshall with 280 yards and two TDs and just two weeks ago GT with 192 yards and a TD.

Right now he’s sitting at 11 TDs against two INTs and that is very nice. He hasn’t thrown a INT in the last four games. But his whole season has been kind of weird in that the passing game has, for the most part, been an afterthought behind the strong run game we have put out on the field.

Perhaps that is as it should be.  But I can’t help feeling that in one of these next three harder games against VT, Miami and Clemson, our run game might be stuffed to the point where the pass will have to get us the win.  I’m hoping Nate Peterman and his receivers have been  kept sharp enough to make that happen if needed.

manifest_destinySo this guy’s prediction for the Thursday night game against VT is this:

I don’t think there is any real home-field advantage for Pitt at Heinz Field anyway so we’ll start off the game with a real 0-0 score.  Our passing defense doesn’t give up monster yards (like over 300) tomorrow night but QB Evans surgically throws for 1st downs and TDs. I think he’ll have three TDs on the day in a mix of passing and his running.

As to the outcome.  I’ll go with the head’s thinking over the heart’s feeling and say that VT comes into Pittsburgh and leaves with a win that will swing on a play or two in their favor – most likely a long QB run late in the game that takes us by surprise.

VT 31 – Pitt 28

Note: TE Charles Reeves chose Pitt today…

77 thoughts on “Know the Enemy & Predictions: VT

  1. Set at guard, need some big men now.

    Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings has a third player for 2017, as he secured a verbal commitment from guard Marcus Carr Wednesday morning.

    Carr is a 6-foot-2 point guard out of Monteverde Academy in Monteverde, Florida. He’s rated as a three-star prospect by 247. Carr is originally from Toronto, Ontario, and has been on Pitt’s radar for quite some time. He took his official visit to campus earlier this month.

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  2. Very honest assessment Reed.

    It will come down to how good our offense does vs. Hokies. They will need to score
    40+ points to win this one, unless we force a bunch of turnovers.

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  3. ^^^ Pat Narduzzi is going to get Young Men to come to Pitt, Bet on that.

    People get hype about James Franklin’s recruiting “rankings”, but you of course after Character and Personality — you have to look at Speed.

    Penn State overall is simply not fast at all. If you watch the game (that Overrated Ohio State GAVE THEM in a ‘Comedy of Errors’) pswho is Not slow, per-se, but not they are absolutely not fast. Essentially James Franklin is recruiting Higher-Ranked Paul Chryst recruits.

    Pat Narduzzi knows how to Spot-‘Em

    — Pitt is going to be FAST starting next year, and ^^^ even more as Narduzzi’s “Reign” Progresses.

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  4. Reed, does the picture of J.L. O’Sullivan imply “manifest destiny” on our behalf?

    Maybe…that is an excellent catch on your part. However that drawing looks almost exactly like me.

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  5. Agree on Evans, former 4 star recruit is big. Question is can we outscore VPI? I’ll go with my heart way over my head Pitt 28 VPI 27. BASTE THE TURKEYS.
    HAIL TO PITT!!

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  6. Reed… your prediction sent me to the medicine cabinet for my nitroglycerin… can already feel me a$$ and chest tightening and I was soooo relaxed after our trip to Smit Island and going camping with Jackagain…
    Will need 5 TDs and a FG to win this in double OT .. 38-31 Pursuit Panthers with all of Chapel cheering us on…

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  7. Paralysis by Analysis … but I do agree that Evans is really good and this will be the best defense we will have faced, possibly for the entire year. My only prediction is that it will be lower scoring than the other games..

    Reeves is a really good get. All 3 services show that he was offered by Alabama, and a host of other quality programs. Scout has him as the 5th rated TE in the nation.

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  8. Good pick-up in Reeves..also saw Marcus Carr committed to Pitt BB…
    Now we have 3 TE’s in the next class all 3 tall young men..is there another Brian O’Neil in the bunch..will be fun to see how it shakes out over the next couple of years..Pitt football is on the move..and it’s upward..One game at a time and the Hokies are up next..no need to even think about the game after if you want to be champions.

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  9. couple things here:

    I just don’t buy the theory of PITT having VT’s number even though they do win many games against them. Each new year and each new head coach have nothing to do with the previous ones. I just don’t consider this in any way.

    This game just may hinge on Nate’s running out of the pocket as well as Evan’s. In other words, broken plays. Peterman has done well when plays break down and I do think PITT will need to pass the ball to keep the defense honest.

    Thinking PITT really benefitted with the half bye week. Health and preparation could be a real key with this game. PITT may get a few player’s back combined with a few young players who got some good game experience may bolster both units.

    Don’t like strength against strength in this game but VT is only good against the run considering they haven’t played really good running teams. PITT remains much higher on the running defense list even after player a much tougher schedule when you consider the running back they have faced. Anyone think teams throw on PITT because they just can’t run? GT alone puts up 400 yards on the ground a game.

    The weather doesn’t look like the factor as preciously expected. All in all it looks like a nice football night expected on the north shore. That is if the Steelers don’t want to take advantage of the rain and let mother nature water the field during the off week for them. It has been dry around here?

    So on with it.

    PITT plays another inspired game and puts a more complete wire to wire game with lots of pressure on Evans and their running game while the offense remains steady as a rock.

    PITT37
    VT 17
    btw, That late field goal last week screwed me. My final score was 44-28. for whatever that’s worth?

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  10. This is big game for we win out. Pitt38 VT 34. We will win out and upset Clemson who isn’t unbeatable. As an old coach winning is 90% in the mind H2P

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  11. I’m with Reed, I can’t see Pitt being able to stop the VT passing game. And i can see VT slowing down the Pitt running game. Peterman will have to have his best game of the year for Pitt to stay in the game. VT 42 Pitt 24

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  12. Our defensive backfield remains porous, but we use the clock to keep their offense off the field just long enough to finish in another nail biter 38-35. The Good Guys win!

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  13. Evans reminds me too much of Marquis Williams, a QB that we could not beat.

    Add to that 6’7″ 245 lb tight end Hodges, and I just don’t think we have an answer for those guys.

    Our great offense is going to be up against their stiffest challenge.

    To win, we will need turnovers, great special teams and a lot of points, and time of possession from the offense.

    Also some great individual performances on both sides of the ball.

    I do think the season turns on this game.

    Have not got a clue regarding outcome.

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  14. Va Tech’s full-game vs. Miami only five days ago —- For those of you who have spare time and want to go scout the opponent, lol 😉

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  15. Our winning will be based, partially, in proportion to how many snaps JC gets at DE. For this QB (who has much better numbers than the DeShaun Watson-Clemscum) will tear us up if we don’t get to him early and often. And I don’t think Price on his own, even if he’s 100%, can provide enough pressure. But Price and Conner could really be something out there, a force to be reckoned with. The Nard Dog is a DC, he’s got to be able to see this being the YUGE ANSWER for the defensive backfield sieve.

    You’ve got to put the Gobbler QB Under Pressure !

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  16. Emel, I’m certainly not trying to be a jerk-off here but Conner played two snaps last week at DE. Also a few years ago he got a few snaps there as well. It’s one good spin move with bupkis the other times. Nice move but….. I also could be very wrong and the fact that PITT has good backup RB’s, I don’t have a problem with JC playing on D but………….jus saying

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  17. VT has a banged up O-line and their passing game relies on the run. Pitt’s strength on defense is the run and pressure on the QB. It’s there for the taking. While VT has a good passing attack, they’ve only gone over 300 yards once … and that was a loss to CUSE. This should be a very competitive game. Being at home should help.

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  18. Connor is starting to look like his old self while the offense overall is becoming more balanced. Pitt’s defense will carry momentum over from 2nd half of Virginia game and the offense will have it’s best game of the year. Pitt 34, Va Tech 24

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  19. The Hokies’ QB Evans has some great stats, but I also saw him throw some poor passes in the Miami game. (Course against us the opposing QB usually can do no wrong… )

    I don’t like Bam missing this game, he would have been a good match for their running QB.

    We only win if we force a couple turnovers and cash them in. So my score with two cashed-in turnovers is:

    Pitt 34 – VT 31.

    Go Pitt.

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  20. Haven’t been held under 200 yards rushing yet. Don’t expect it to happen tomorrow either – which means Pitt holds on to the ball longer than VPI. For this team, and this defense – time of possession is almost as valuable as points and turnovers. The online – featuring potentially 6 future draft picks – grinds away at VPI.

    In the end – Pitt does enough to win another close game. I take Pitt and the points.

    34-31

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  21. Emel – two turkey facts 1) if it rains they have been known to look up and drown as rain goes down their throat 2) turkey barns are very long as once they start to run if there is not enough room they will crush the lead turkeys running to the other end. thanks for the video

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