Another Monday morning and another loss to talk about. This time we didn’t beat the point spread – which was I believe was +11.5 since we lost 35-17. Sad to say but the point spread and whether we beat it or not which has quickly become an indicator for Pitt fans to gauge if the team is good or bad.
But there are more games on the schedule and anything can happen, right?
If we are to win a few more games, and we just might, we’ll have to build on some of the things the team and coaching staff have done correctly in the past seven games this season. While that may be slim pickings there are some nuggets there. The problem is trying to find the “GOOD” when there is so much of the ‘BAD” and “UGLY” surrounding it.
But let’s give it a shot; I’ll go first then you all state how you saw the game.
I was relegated to watching Pitt play, again, in the local bar as the only way you can see the new ACC network down here in borderland MD is by Direct TV. This time a $5 tip when I walked in the door got me a seat in front of my own 72″ TV up on the wall.
That way I could see how just how bad we sucked in even bigger images then watching at home. And I do think that overall we sucked again. Here goes:
I’ll go first with how our defensive backfield played. Normally with any other team when they give up 198 yards and one TD passing that would be a so-so defense… but at Pitt the last two years it makes people sit up and take notice.
I will say that NCS’s QB Findley’s play really helped in this regard, especially in the 1st half of the game where he missed on almost every one of his passes. But the results are the same; incomplete passes and no yards gained.
I think their first series of the game was indicative of what NCS’s staff leanings were – they went on a nine play drive but only gained 41 yards and Findley missed on a 4th and 3 pass to turn the ball over. he was 1 for 3 in that opening drive and badly missed on both incompletions.
But we kept the passing yardage down for the most part and had we countered that with a run defense we may have won the game (more on that later).
Ben DiNucci’s play deserves mention in this category also. Look, I have held the opinion from the minute he signed his LOI with us that DiNucci wasn’t ever going to be anything but a substitute QB for us as long as we had any sort of other talent in the QB room. And that had been the case right up until Browne’s injury two weeks ago.
But for right now and on last Saturday he’s the starter until he isn’t. With that I didn’t expect fireworks from him but a rather steady passing game that would allow our run game to be effective.
The fact that our running game is worse than bad (more on that later also!) isn’t DiNucci’s fault at all but indeed put more stress and expectations on him to produce. His stats line was average – 19/32 for 170 yards and 1 TD with 1 INT but his passing yards per attempt was poor at only 5.3 yards.
Still, he engineered the series where we broke the 0-0 score with this impressive drive:
- 1st and 10 at NCST 42
(7:37 – 1st) Jordan Whitehead run for 5 yds to the NCSt 37
- 2nd and 5 at NCST 37
(7:37 – 1st) Ben Dinucci pass complete to Quadree Henderson for a loss of 2 yards to the NCSt 39
- 3rd and 7 at NCST 39
(7:37 – 1st) Ben Dinucci pass complete to Rafael Araujo-Lopes for 7 yds to the NCSt 32 for a 1ST down
- 1st and 10 at NCST 32
(7:37 – 1st) Jordan Whitehead run for a loss of 1 yard to the NCSt 33
- 2nd and 11 at NCST 33
(5:05 – 1st) Ben Dinucci pass complete to Jester Weah for 33 yds for a TD, (Alex Kessman KICK)
He also was in for our next offensive score when we drove 69 yards in 10 plays for a RB Darrin Hall TD – even though he only threw the ball once in that series. So you’d think that his having helped produce 14 points against a good ACC opponent in a 1st half would cement his role.