Well – we have had over 36 hours to digest and accept one of the worse losses Pitt has experienced in our ‘modern’ era. It was a terrible football game all-around and by ‘all-around’ I mean on the field, off the field and even on television as ESPN’s broadcast turned into an “Insult Pitt Day at Heinz” Special Event.
But let’s be honest with ourselves here – as angry and disappointed as we are in all aspects of what we watched on Saturday – wouldn’t you also have been making jokes at some other team’s expense if Pitt was on the top end of that 49-0 score we had at one point in the game?
Yes, I think you would; so what the announcers did and said didn’t bother me as nearly much as what I saw Pat Narduzzi and his staff conceive, design and then put out on the field during for this match. Our coaching staff swung and missed at every single facet of what makes a successful football team and what makes for a successful game against Oklahoma State.
What bothers me the most now that the OSU pirate ship has sailed with our collective family jewels safely stored in their hold… is that we may see this exact thing replicated more than once or twice in our remaining games… specifically next week down in Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. Yeah, I feel that poorly when I look at the rest of our schedule.
So – on Monday morning we address what we though was the “Good, Bad and Ugly” aspects of the game that just had been played. Here goes…
The effect of rsJR QB Ben DiNucci’s play on the rest of his offensive teammates.
At 18m 38s into the game, with Pitt down 35-0, Pat Narduzzi made the call to bench rsSR Max Browne and go with DiNucci. Immediately Pitt’s offensive players perked up and responded with well-blocked short pitch and catch play to Henderson that he took 71 yards to the OSU 11 yard line – and we scored three plays later.
That was our first TD in the last 29 minutes of play against both PSU and OSU – and Ben DiNucci was under center for both of them. That speaks volumes and should be (I say ‘should be’ for a reason) the fact that tilts the remaining 2017 QB1 snaps to DiNucci.
The bottom line with our QB situation is this: after many years of watching, following and now writing about Pitt football I believe that Pitt fans can accept a loss in a match as long as 1) we played competitively and 2) we fans had fun watching the kids play the game. Max Browne does not do that for us in either way – but Ben DiNucci does and will.
He may not be the answer for future wins on the schedule but DiNucci makes watching Pitt enjoyable and so without hesitation on Narduzzi and Watson’s part he needs to be the starting QB against Georgia Tech.
In what may be the most crucial part of future games – considering we have scores close enough that we may win games – rsSR P Ryan Winslow’s work at punting the ball is critical – and it is too bad that his excellent punting on Saturday was completely wasted.
As you can see from the box here Winslow was super effective with his kicks and, in a game where field position didn’t really mean anything, still gave us somewhat of a chance on defense . One punt in particular, early on when we were still in the game down by 7-0, was downed on the OSU 4 yard line. Of course they drove 96 yards for a TD – but Winslow did his job well on that play and all throughtout day when called on.
That is it – no other “Good” issues to discuss.
THE BAD and THE UGLY
Max Brown’s play along with everything else we saw in person, watched on TV, listened to on the radio and had to experience in what is a true low point in five years of Pitt football. I’d venture to say that as the actual play in games goes this was the worse I have ever seen.
I lumped these two headings together because the whole afternoon, from 13:00 left in the 1st quarter until the whistle blew to end the game, was a complete and utter rout. There is truly no other way to spin this fellow Pitt fans- it was an ugly afternoon from the opening kickoff until the horrid game ended. So – I’m not going to write a novel describing in detail how truly crappy we played.
Please feel free to add your own “Good, Bad and Ugly” in your comments – there are just too damned many for me to list here.
But just for fun (?) let’s look at these gems of observations from ESPN’s Pitt front page:
- Oklahoma State through one half at Pitt: seven drives. seven TDs (not including taking a knee before halftime). QB Mason Rudolph has thrown for 423 yards — a school record for a half. All told, the Cowboys have 521 yards of offense and are 9-for-9 on third downs. Mike Gundy’s crew making a statement, up 49-14 at halftime.
- Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph completed 9-of-14 passes for 252 yards and 4 TDs when Pittsburgh sent five or more pass rushers, per ESPN Stats & Info. Going back to the start of last season, it was the third-most yards and tied for the most passing TDs against the blitz in a single game by a Power 5 QB.
- Oklahoma State now has four 100-yard receivers (James Washington, Jalen McCleskey, Dillon Stoner, Marcell Ateman). The previous school record for a single game was two.
Need we say more? OK, we will – check out this column from Brian Batko of the P-G:
“That’s their base. That’s who they are. That’s the world he’s lived in for a long time. … One thing that is evident, people have a base system, and they run their plays,” Gundy said early last week. “Can they change structures within a week’s practice? I don’t know.”
Turns out, from Gundy’s perspective, they didn’t.
“Pitt’s schemes? It’s the same stuff,” Gundy said Saturday. “Little more crossfire blitz than we thought they would bring to the table, but for the most part, their structure was the same.”
Notes: I just found this video while looking for other stuff this morning. Here is a young man looking to make a name in the sports business so he’s recorded home videos of his 2017 college football predictions… and so far he’s pretty spot on about his Pitt thoughts even though he recorded this in August.
This time last week I would have been skeptical toward his predicted W/L record for us – now, not so much and I hate to say it but if things don’t turn around dramatically for us we may see a true disaster of a season. We know we have a really young team out there – more play and results like we saw so far in these first three games and team moral may just tank.
At this time Pitt-GT is opening up with Pitt getting 7.5 points. 7.5 !! Almost unbelievable after just giving up 33 and then 59 points in the last two games.
Here is the Oddsshark.com look at the match-up.
My advice, and I’m not really a betting man, put down your mortgage on GT in this one. They are the #1 running team in the nation averaging 373 yards and 4 TDs per game.
Here are GT’s national rankings at this point after two games – their last game was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma…
As I said in the podcast – their run game obviously worries me and we won’t be able to stop it – but their passing game, as weak as it looks, is what I’m concerned about also. Every time we play a great Wishbone run team like GT or Navy they always pop out two or three long gainer passes against us because we are so committed to stopping their run game – as we should be.
Those are the plays that you least expect and that push the dagger in just a bit farther. We see it every time.