Real busy folks so you’ll have to carry the ball…might be travelling this week for some funeral and memorial services.

Pitt pulled off a big win Saturday when we outlasted the Duke Blue Devils 54-45 and sets us up nicely for the stretch run for the ACC Coastal crown.

Could happen…

Kick in with your Good, Bad and Ugly.

Thanks, Reed

118 thoughts on “Pitt Beats Duke; MMQB 9/29/18

  1. Link: Pitt 54, Duke 45

    Pitt vs. Duke – Media Recap

    Video Interviews and Quotes from Today’s Game


    Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

    QB Kenny Pickett

    RB Qadree Ollison

    DB/RB V’Lique Carter

    WR Maurice Ffrench

    LB Oluwaseun Idowu

    DB Dennis Briggs

    PK Alex Kessman

    Highlights: Pitt vs. Duke

    Narduzzi Postgame Press Conference Transcript (PDF)

    Postgame Notes (PDF)

    Postgame Press Conference Quotes

    Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

    PAT NARDUZZI: Well, if you guys feel anything like I do, about 11:00 this morning when I got my email, what happened over in Squirrel Hill, there’s a lot more important things than a football game, I can tell you that.

    Our kids were affected by it. Saw kids on their phones in our pregame meals, talking about it. My prayers, this football team’s prayers, our family’s prayers go out to the victims, to the SWAT Team, the police officers of Pittsburgh, to all the families that are affected by that.

    Just a tough deal. You see it happen in Florida, you see it happen wherever, then when it hits you right in your backyard, it makes you wonder.

    My kids were about a half mile from there at the time. First thing I was doing before the game is texting my kids, to make sure they stay in the house, don’t leave. I’m sure a lot of our players were worried about their families, how close they were to it. Just my heart and prayers go out to everybody.

    With that being said, we won a football game today. I thought offensively we were explosive. Ran the ball well. Made big passes when we had to. Kenny Pickett to Ffrench, two big plays that we needed. We really did some maybe overhaul for two-minutes last week. The open week coming out of Notre Dame where we didn’t make some plays in overtime offensively, we did and got after it pretty good against each other. Obviously it paid off today.

    Got ourselves in field goal range, took a shot. Great catch, great throw, great protection. We were able to pull it out.

    Obviously defensively, you know, talk about it. Daniel Jones is a good football player. Obviously a bad day to play defense. I don’t know if anybody plays defense any more. Disappointed in the way our defense played. Been there before. Jerry, you tell me every week, That’s the best defensive effort a week ago. I told you, you get measured where you were on this Saturday. It wasn’t very good. I hope they’re saving it for next week.

    We’ll go back to work. We got a short week. We got Virginia on Friday night. We got a lot of work to do.

    With that I’ll open it up to questions.

    Q. That touchdown pass, do you say let’s take a shot or Shawn Watson? Who makes that decision?
    PAT NARDUZZI: We kind of do it together. It was either run it, try to set up in the middle, then clock it and kick the field goal, or take a shot. We thought about both. We said, Hey, let’s go for the end zone, go for the win.

    We thought Kessman was good from wherever we were, 30 yard line I think. Obviously a lot of big plays made in that series from Darrin Hall’s screen, down the sideline, out of bounds. Just great execution.

    Q. Not a great day for Kenny until that point. What does that drive say about his resiliency as a young player?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Like I said, Kenny is a strong kid. Taysir Mack played a little bit today. He’s not 100%. Didn’t practice much this week. Hopefully get to practice a little bit this week, next week be more explosive with him.

    Kenny Pickett, he’s a dude. I’ll go to any extent with that guy. He’s a competitor. Some of the scrambles he had, big-time scrambles he had for first downs, to get us out of a hole, he did a great job.

    Probably the most disappointing thing was really that last series where we had to kick a field goal, got two penalties, a late hit by Maurice, a holding by one of our offensive linemen. We’re at the eight yard line. As a matter of fact, we score. We got a hold. Get backed up. Pretty soon it’s second and 18. Found a way to get it done.

    It’s a team win. Like I said, some days it’s the offense holding up the defense, some days the defense holding up the offense. We stuck together. I think our defense played a better fourth quarter.

    Q. How do you explain V’Lique Carter’s day from his usage previously in the season?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Who? (laughter)

    Q. No. 19.
    PAT NARDUZZI: I told the TV crew on Friday morning, watch out for V’Lique Carter. It goes into those four games. If he keeps doing that for the next three, he’ll be playing a fifth, maybe a sixth.

    He’s explosive. He’s obviously a DB. We really found him out. He was okay on defense. A lot of things going on, communication, things you need to know. We put him on as a scout team tailback first couple weeks. Holy cow, this guy is explosive. You saw what he did with the ball in his hand. Always held onto it. Never fumbled.

    We’ve been thinking about it for a while here. Kind of saved it a little bit for the ACC play. But he’s explosive. He’s fast. Obviously he’ll get a few more carries next week.

    Q. Given how Carter played today, how much are you planning on using him? Is the possibility of a full-time position switch?
    PAT NARDUZZI: What do you think? We’ll go recruit another DB. You got to score points to win nowadays. That’s the name of the game.

    That guy is explosive. I told him before it happened, I told him on Friday, he came in early, in Coach Sherman’s office, getting coached up, extra details. I said, Listen, you can play both ways. Doesn’t matter.

    He’s a player on offense right now. That’s where he’ll stay right now.

    Q. Pickett was resilient, your defense was resilient in the last two possessions.
    PAT NARDUZZI: They were. But they had to be. They had to bow up, make some plays. Give credit to the defensive coaches in the fourth quarter of adjusting it out, trying to fix it. They started lining up in a ton of empty, not think about running it. Two straight series, empty, dink, dink, dink you to death. All of a sudden the next series they come out and run it down your throat.

    We just didn’t do a good job. We didn’t play very good on defense. We didn’t tackle very well. Zeise got the guy wrapped up in the backfield early in the third drive, then lets him go for 10 yards. That’s not us, which is okay.

    Q. How were they able to get open in the slot?
    PAT NARDUZZI: Matchups. They like to work those two inside guys. T.J. is a heck of a football player. The tight end is going to body up. Playing pitch and catch out there, it’s hard. We dropped off guys. We didn’t make plays. When we tried to do it against Syracuse, we got a pick out of Watts. We just had different stuff in. They did a better job than we did. Give Duke credit. That’s a good football team.

    Q. How big of a boost was the 54-yarder?
    PAT NARDUZZI: It was a big one. Another big one. You think about a kicker’s mentality. Where he was three weeks ago, I guess, here at home against Syracuse, where he was two weeks ago, having to live with that for an open week, then going into this game week.

    It’s funny. Beginning of the second half, “Which way do you want to kick?”

    He said, “I want to kick towards our tunnel. Then he goes, “Whoa, coach. I want to kick the other way so in the fourth quarter I kick the game winner going that way.”


    I guess it wasn’t the game winner, but it was a pretty good one.

    Q. When you have a win like today, like the one against Syracuse, I don’t think there’s been an easy win for Pitt this season, I’m sure you prefer a blowout, but do games like this build the character of this team?
    PAT NARDUZZI: It does. You would like a blowout. I told our guys before the game, Duke isn’t coming to Pittsburgh, fly in here, jump into a hotel to come in here and get their butts kicked. I told the guys before pregame, there’s going to be up and downs, adversity. It ain’t going to be easy. I’m telling you right now.

    Our kids felt pretty confident going into the game. I just wanted to make sure, I said, “Hey, listen, it ain’t going to be easy. Duke is a well-coached football team. They’re a good football team.” It wasn’t going to be easy.

    Yeah, it does build character. It’s easier to go blow people out, be better than everybody for four quarters. It’s tight games like this where our guys continue to believe all the way to the end. I thought we played an outstanding fourth quarter as a team. I think we played really good offensively the entire game.

    Q. Does a guy like Qadree open up your playbook on third-and-long situations? Seems like it’s easy for him to take a shot, get downfield.
    PAT NARDUZZI: I mean, yeah, no doubt. There’s no doubt about it, yeah.

    Q. I know you don’t care about stuff like this, but do you know you’re half a game out of first place?
    PAT NARDUZZI: I don’t care. We’re 1-0 in the ACC today. Tomorrow we go back to work about 7 a.m., work on Virginia on a short week, try to be 1-0 again.

    FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

    #H2P | Twitter | Instagram


  2. The Good:
    1. Run Blocking and Running Game. Quadree Ollison Beast Mode.
    2. Pickett’s long bombs and the Ffrench Connection
    3. The Defense figured out a way to stop ’em at the end
    4. That Carter Kid

    The Bad:
    1. Tackling. Just terrible all day and no excuse.
    2. Overall defense for most of the game
    3. Pickett’s short to medium range accuracy. He’s still holding the ball too long.
    4. Taysir Mack – he clearly wasn’t his old self and I wonder if Matthews might not have come down with a couple of those passes.

    The Ugly:
    1. Hatred & Violence manifested in Squirrel Hill


  3. Time to enjoy the ride…lot’s of points being scored and we won a scoring match..duke games are exciting and we usually come on on the right end of score…I have concluded Duzz can’t D these ACC spreads O’s (Upitt noted that when he was hired before he ever coached a game) that has become a gimme to me and I will not fuss. I am going to enjoy the ride and an heading to Charlottesville Thursday to hang with some POV pals and a frat brother and his wife I haven’t seen since college.

    Spent Friday visiting with a long time friend add former Duke football player Jerry McGee.Jerry who’s fraternal twin Mike was1959 Outland Trophy winner who would later coach Duke vs 1976 PITT Panthers with Jerry was his DC then later AD for Cinncinnati, South Carolina and So Cal..
    Jerry now slowed by Parkinson’s is a great story-teller and I love to be around a good story telling human(becoming a lost art) Jerry told me about the time when they played Pitt and Duke’s staring halfback and D-back was a Pittsburgh boy named Timmy Lee (I think that was his name). Jerry said all the Duke players were given 2 tickets to the game and every one gave their tickets to Dookie Lee so he bring all of his family and friends from Pittsburgh to watch him play at PITT Stadium. As the story goes “on the 3rd play of the game a short pass was thrown to Ditka and he turned up-field to tackle Iron Mike. Ditka took that huge foreram of his mouth! Jerry laughed as I could see him gazing back to that day in Piitsburgh then he smiled and said ” all his Pittsburgh family and friends watched him sit on the bench for the rest of the game.

    Let’s enjoy the ride together…who knows..maybe EMel will be hosting us in Charlotte…..


  4. A Repeat Post: Narduzzi knew of Carter’s ability very early this year as he had been playing the Scout Team RB. Pitt cannot afford to wait to playing talented freshman especially on the offense. Anyone think Narduzzi wished he had played Carter versus NC now?


    1. This is pure speculation, but I have a suspicion we might not have discovered his ball carrying abilities until the UCF week, the week after the UNC loss. We would have needed someone on scout team to give a look similar to that 5’8″ 160 pound speed back that burned Wriginis in the game, and Carter would have fit the bill so they moved him to offense for practices.


  5. The good…we won, gold pants, Carter, great O line, two stud RBs

    The bad …everything else Pitt …including attendance

    The ugly….evil that mankind does!


  6. Reed, you must be doing better if you are able to travel. Really good to hear. Don’t push yourself to hard, no need for a setback.

    The Good: Pitt never gave up and kept coming back. Ollison was a stud and Hall came through when needed most. Picket to FFrench times two. V. Carter is the bomb. Kessman the magnificent. The offensive game plan. The stops by the defense when needed most by the defense, late in the fourth quarter. The O-line was pretty sound all day. Mathews and Tipton’s downfield blocks. A come from behind win, most rare for Pitt.

    The Bad: The defense was Swiss Cheese until the very end. Poor tackling led to a lot of big plays. Poor coverage led to many more. Kenny’s missed passes and a couple of drops, made the brilliant final drive necessary.

    The Ugly: Hatred for a people that have done so much to make America and Pitt Great. My life has been made so much better by my Jewish friends and associates. Can’t begin to imagine what they have gone and are going through.


  7. Good:
    Finally some long throws
    Carter (why is he just playing now?)
    Ollison running so physical. It was not his style the previous years.

    Agree-Pickett holds the ball too long, even on throws to the flat. Pull the trigger!
    More run-pass options for Pickett, let the dude run. This is college football.

    Defensive scheme sucked along with the tackling.
    Briggs and Zeise are too slow.

    I think this team has enough talent to win, the coaching holds them back.

    Side note. Didn’t some on here say that James Conner wouldn’t be a good pro back? Dude is tearing it up.


        1. Ha! I wasn’t referring to you Upitt, there were so many people calling for that change I couldn’t remember who, but it seemed some just wouldn’t let it go. I was just having some fun.


  8. Great summary above by Reed.

    The Good:
    * The running game, OLine and backs, 2nd most yards rushing in school history (and this is a prestigous history!).
    * Watson play calling, maybe it wasn’t great, but it was good, and this is a first in my opinion.
    * Pickett’s long throws.
    * V. Carter, quite a story, he deserves his own bullet point.
    * Attitude, despite giving up td after td and having to come from behind, this Offense showed some fortitude.
    * The officiating, they didn’t call a perfect game by any stretch, but at least it seemed to be called fairly even, nothing that looked crooked this time around.

    The Bad:
    * Defense, in particular the poor tackling and lack of a pass rush
    * The defensive scheme. It didn’t work, enough said here.
    * The inability of the offense to generate a mid range or even short range passing threat once again; what happened to the over the middle slants, as just one example?

    The Ugly:
    * Duke averaged 19/game in the ACC, 29/game for the year, and scored 45 versus us, this in Naruzzi’s 4th year. Our front 7 is not ‘nasty’, it’s just underwhelming, with the exception of the ND game.


  9. When you win an important game the next game becomes even more important so VA is BIG. It is a scary Friday night game on national TV.

    HCPN learns that playing true freshmen even if they are not learned in college football is the way to go. Especially if they are talented with speed.

    Should we use vintage uniforms Friday?


    1. Although our “new retros” aren’t ideal (I’d keep our bright blue and make the yellow more mustardish), they are way better than our current unis (especially the gayish light yellow pants) and are well liked, so we should go to our new retros every game from here on out regardless of politics. It has been said that this will finally happen next year, so I don’t comment much about it, but this is the kind of thing actually matters to recruits, at least some of them.

      Certain skills positions have always been easier for a true freshman to play if he has the talent. It’s typically the lineman positions that benefit from redshirting (building strength, learning), and to some extent linebackers. I just hope Watson/Narduzzi has a wrinkle for V next game, like catching short passes, etc., and hope they don’t think they’re just going to be able to continue to run those sweeps every time he comes in, that would be ignorant. Heck, I’d try to get Ford in on the offense too, unless they’re still able to redshirt him. They moved him out of position and wasted his freshman year, when we actually have a clear need at safety.


  10. Good: I know a few people mentioned this, but I gotta say it myself, Kevin Sherman might have a future as an O-line coach, because his unit of wide receivers are some of best blockers I’ve seen. I don’t know if you could see their work all that well on TV, but watching them in person on Saturday, that unit’s performance was amazing. The blocking of Aaron Mathews in particular was exemplary. I know he’ll never win a Biletnikoff Award without the catches and receiving yards and other gaudy stats, but that kid is a flat-up football player. It helped that Carter saw the field well and did a good job both setting up his downfield blockers and reading them.

    More Good: I think I’ve said this or at least alluded to it, but Watson has been calling better and better games as the season goes on. Yeah, he might not be the best, but after going through 4 offensive coordinators in 4 years from 2014 to 2017, we need to have at least a little continuity with our O coordinator and allow someone to get his full system in and try to build from its concepts. It’s not like the next Chip Kelly is beating down the door to get hired by Pitt to lead the offense, so I feel like we got to keep Watson around for at least another year or two.

    Ugly: Even good coaches do stupid things sometimes … I think nearly all agree here that Cutcliffe is a good coach. But those three timeouts at the end of the game were so dumb. The only explanation is that he must really like the song Mr. Brightside by the Killers because he made sure the entire song was played.


    1. Good thoughts nwebk1, you made me adjust my thinking somewhat. By the way, Borbely has apparently done a nice job, especially considering what he had to work with. I wonder if anybody has thought the same?


  11. Yep, 3 timeouts with 5 seconds on the clock by Duke. Even Narduzzi and Bates and our special teams coach could come up with an effective defense to eat 5 seconds off the clock. Perhaps Cutliff was just delaying his post game press conference as long as he could.


  12. How about a nomination for the dumbest question after the game. Asking if Carter might be line for a position switch after his performance against Duke gets my vote.

    Liked by 1 person


    The resiliency of this PITT football team. I admit to being pretty frustrated with them throughout that football game but every-time when I was getting ready to give up on them, they fought back. Almost as if they didn’t want me to get up and walk away. They made me proud to be a Panther fan Saturday despite all their warts. I guess I’ll throw in the running game here as it was the second most rushing yards every gained by a PITT offense… and oh btw, Fran’s tailgate. For those of you who go to games, you really should try to shuffle on over to Red 5-A parking and share a few moments with the guys and gals. It’s pretty special.


    The win obviously.
    The offensive run blocking, heck even the pass protection wasn’t as bad as usual.
    Finding Carter and using him. No doubt in this mind that Narduzzi is breaking has own mold while doing and changing up on more things than he has become known for.
    The stepping up in play of the defense and KP late in the game.
    Watson. Gaining over 600 yards while not be able to pass the ball takes some ingenuity. Credit where it is due.

    THE BAD:

    The darn tackling. << or missed tackles, simply atrocious. I re-watched the game and man oh man if PITT makes some tackles they could have made that game a lot easier on themselves. They were in position many times and missed resulting in very long gains and even TD’s. Simply terrible.
    The defense in general. Anyone think PITT might be missing QW? He was only the leader of around 5 or 6 defensive categories.
    The passing game is still in the juvenile state.
    I’ll throw in Narduzzi and Bates right here. PITT has to do better than that. Embarrassing!


    The crowd or lack of anything close to resembling a crowd.
    The weather, I think the Albany game was the only good weather game so far this year. Here’s hoping the VT game can break that jinx.

    and lastly, the hate shown by an individual early Saturday morning in Squirrel Hill. It boggles one’s mind to think a person could do something like that. Bigotry and racism have no place in Pittsburgh Pa. The good news in that Pittsburgh is one town that will not let something like this break them. Thoughts and prayers to you all.. . . .ike


  14. The Good
    Our running attack and our blocking. As was mentioned by many above, the blocking of the wide receivers especially Matthews was exceptional.

    The Bad
    The defense, especially our inability to tackle in space. If an opposing running back gets one on one with a Pitt player, most of the time we whiff the tackle. At least wrap your arms around the player and ride him to the ground!!!

    The Ugly
    The tragedy in Squirrel Hill.


  15. GOOD: The offense in general.
    K.Pickett’s new slimmed down knee brace.
    Pitt is still in the running for the Coastal championship.

    BAD: Tackling (already mentioned)

    K.Camp out for the season due to injury.

    UGLY: The tragic shootings that took place Saturday morning in Squirrel Hill.


  16. please don’t load up the comments sections with tons of tweets. You can put one up and then link to it or something like that but this is kind of ridiculous thank you


  17. Camp is out for the year. Will Twyman get most of his snaps or do we think it will be more of Watts? Not sure how much more we see of Wheeler – still a year away.


  18. I’m betting we see the freshman Danielson at DT this week to take up some of the slack. An Aaron Donald clone might have the same effect for our defense that Carter had for our offense. I’m not sure we could expect that from Danielson at this point.


    1. You really can’t expect an Aaron Donald clone from anyone. The guy is probably the best defensive football player in the world right now and received heisman votes when he was at Pitt.


  19. I didn’t say we had a “Aaron Donald Clone” on the shelf. But viewing our defensive performance against Duke one could conclude that an Aaron Donald clone might be the only answer right now for this D going forward.


  20. If Danielson was that good he would be playing right away because a player like that won’t stay 5 years anyways.


  21. Ike – Donald didn’t start as a true freshman but he was flashing very early on his true freshman year with sacks and TFL in his limited time and got more playing time as the season wore on.


  22. Lots of great posts above, so not going to add repeated points.

    Just want to throw out one thought on KP. To me he sure looked more mobile with that smaller and I assume lighter brace. Watching him at the game and then rewatching replay, KP really seems to have excellent speed which looks to me at his top end to be as fast as anyone on the field. Point being that either consciously or subconsciously he trusts his feet more than his passing and along with other factors has led to his lack of pocket presence and mechanics that contribute to his inconsistent accuracy.

    That said, whether actual stats bear it out or not, I see him changing and progressing in the last 3 games. Several here had called for his replacement even if for just a series or two. I could have gone along with that but now don’t see that as needed or even remotely likely unless he is injured.

    Carry on with the great posts.



  23. Thanks PI, I did think he may have played a little as a true freshman so he played more than I remembered. I followed AD from the time I watched Penn Hills play CC when he was a junior. Most eyes were on Dan Mason but AD popped out to me.

    My buddy Tvax, I really don’t remember people calling for KP to be replaced as much as wanting to see Jr in action and letting KP see the field from the sidelines a couple of series….. and right you are, KP and the coaching staff needs to let his legs be a bigger part of his repertoire as a QB. I think the week off helped him immensely. ike

    Liked by 1 person

  24. —So now we are missing two starters from a defense that has been struggling big-time. Needless to say — not good.

    —I suspect that Jeff George getting up to speed allowed Coach Watson to open up the offense, like with KP carrying the ball.

    —Still a ways to go on the passing game, but signs of life. Remember KP is still a rookie and will get better.

    —I was very impressed with Duke’s offense. On one 3rd and 7, I watched their TE, who went 8 yards down the field and turned out. A second after he looks back the ball was there – impressive, and tough to defend.

    —Found it interesting that Duke QB Jones completed some terrific throws to tight windows, like the 3rd down slant for the TD and the pass to the back corner of the end zone. But he also had some head-scratching poor passes.

    —KP also threw some head-scratchers, where we had guys open. I hope he did settle the issue of whether he has enough arm. The 50 yard TD pass was one Marino would have been proud of. And the pass that Mack dropped really had some mustard on it.

    —Matchups on defense continue to be a problem. You cannot expect guys like Zeise, or even Idowo to cover guys like Duke’s No. 3. We need to get more speed on the field (there’s a revelation).

    —To get more speed on the field, I’m going to make a wild guess that we see some of True Freshman Williams on the field this week. He’s quick. He played some in the opener. He’s also a corner, so let’s play him a nickel or shuffle the corner starters around…

    Enough for now.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Well, with 4 games remaining any freshmen who haven’t played and have any talent at all should get a look. May as well use em, as long as they can play, nothing ventured……


  26. Great points M&M. We just might see some more newbies come these last four weeks.

    Daniel Jones is good and tough to defend.

    KP has to use all his weapons here on out. << meaning his arm, legs and TE’s.


  27. I don’t believe any of the other QB’s on our roster have KP’s running ability. In the ND game KP was able to hit Matthews very nicely on a couple of slant plays. In the Duke game his accuracy on the underneath crossing plays was to be kind less than good. He did have a couple of receivers drop a few good passes Mack and Ollision to name two. But IMO nobody is going to replace him at QB going forward absent injury.


  28. Now I’m not one that would ever go nosing around another teams message board but I’ve have been thinking about what in the heck they must be talking about on the Duke message board sites? Something like….. How in the blue devils could our team let PITT run for 470 yards when they can’t pass the ball forward? PITT is not exclusive of having disgruntled fans.

    Actually the more I think about that accomplishment I wonder how in the heck did PITT do that? As much heat as Watson and Borbely have taken I have to tip my hat to those two guys along with Powell. Great job guys.


  29. So Northwestern is in 1st place for the B1G Joke western conference after beating Wisconsin. Northwestern lost to Duke.

    Think about that…

    Liked by 1 person

  30. The GREAT… Well, of course the WIN!

    The VERY Good… Some 18 Year Old wearing No. 19 with a French-sounding Name… some SENIOR wearing No. 30 who has CARRIED this Team on his Back more than People realize… and some Kicker who did his best to make people TOTALLY forget about some place called South Bend!!

    The GOOD… Pickett finally looking like a Quarterback and once again showing his willingness to COMPETE. Don’t think for a second that having to listen all week long to the talk surrounding the FUTURE NFL Quarterback on the other Team didn’t play a role.

    The BAD… The failure of the Defense to slow down let alone stop a pretty POTENT Duke Offense… partly to blame a certain Safety to remain NAMELESS who somehow FAILED to even live up to my LOW expectations.

    UGLY… No ugly! Uniforms minus the “mustard” looked pretty GOOD!!!


  31. Couple more thoughts:

    —Was hoping that our passing game would make a Great Leap Forward as we get into playing teams more even, talent-wise, with us. Teams that don’t necessarily have nasty outside pass rushers. Fingers crossed, but we did hit some exceeding important passes against Duke…

    —ike, we just don’t seem to have any quickness among the TEs. Maybe Gragg, but he and KP don’t seem to have any “connection”… True frosh Kaymar Mimes looks the part at 6-5 and 235, but can he run and can he catch, not to mention can he block????

    —Tough to pick a Pitt MVP from the Duke game. Could make cases for Kenny Pickett, V. Carter, Frenchy and Ollie. As well as Kessman… A nice problem to ponder…

    —Wonder if there’s any chance we see Sibley with Ollie lookin’ injured?

    —Which reminds me, Ollison made some really impressive runs against Duke. Couple times when we were set back and getting a 1st down looked problematic, here comes Ollie ripping off tough runs. Congrats to Ollie.

    —Finally, congrats to our much maligned Oline (and there ridiculed Coach) for all the under appreciated and little applauded work that they do…

    Go Pitt.


  32. One more thing…

    Yes, we have a mediocre team, but these Panthers sure play some exciting games!

    And if you look at what’s going on, wins against GT, Syracuse, and Duke is not to shabby for our mediocre team and our mediocre coaching staff…

    Fans of those three teams have to be shaking their heads about losing to the Panthers…

    Go Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I listened to the post-game interviews on the radio, and when they interviewed L. Carter he told them his first love was playing DB. Said in high school he occasionally ran pass routes when they needed him to do it. Said he was a little nervous getting into the game, but figured he needed to just do what needed to be done. Sounded like such a nice kid- of course said he’ll do whatever they need him to do. I like him.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. M&M, a tight end doesn’t have to be Gronk like, it’s the play calling that can help get a TE open through deception play calling. I don’t think they are much of an option right now and think they should be. Especially seeing how Pickett is struggling to get the ball down field. Another thought is to spread out the running backs. QO and Hall (or Davis/Sibley) in the backfield at the same time and then spread them out or Matthews, Carter, Mack, Lopes and a back. Quick strikes… ike


  35. I am going to continue throughout the season to repost my original prognostication from last winter. 2 reasons.

    1) To see how closely this season plays out to my original prediction. I want to get excited about these wins, like everyone else but if I documented a 5-7 record and originally identified said game was a “W” in my original prognostication…not too much to get excited about IMO.

    2) To own up to something if I am right or wrong. I do not have a problem with being wrong (heck my wife will tell you I pretty controlling ownership in Always Wrong Inc. 🙂 ). But I will own it. And God I hope I actually can say I am wrong at the end of the year and that perhaps Narddog and company grew this unit into something more than it started out.

    with all that said here it is…

    Reposting from earlier thread (as well as late fall last year) 5-7….at one point when I posted this in the predicted when thread, I said I started having doubts at 5. I think 5 is doable now and so far I have been spot on

    Sat, Sept 1 vs Albany W
    Sat, Sept 8 vs PSU L
    Sat, Sept 15 vs Georgia Tech W
    Sat, Sept 22 @ North Carolina L
    Sat, Sept 29 @ UCF L
    Sat, Oct 6 vs Syracuse W
    Sat, Oct 13 @ Notre Dame L
    Sat, Oct 27 vs Duke W
    Fri, Nov 2 @ Virginia L
    Sat, Nov 10 vs Virginia Tech L
    Sat, Nov 17 @ Wake Forest W
    Sat, Nov 24 @ Miami L

    I need to do a bit of research here…I am looking specifically at rush yds allowed because I do not think we have the ability to pass to a win. Duke for example gives up 188.1 per game (I am sure that the Pitt # blew it up somewhat. (Pitt rushes 228 yds per game)

    Virginia 113 yds per game
    V- Tech 172 yds per game
    Miami 121 yds per game

    side note Wake Forest in which I predict a “W” gives up 216 yds per game (so I think this is still a “W” likely)

    So if I were going to point out where I think I will be wrong and they get to 6-6, I would think it would be our home game against Virginia Tech.

    Here’s hoping that we win our final home game for the Seniors against V-Tech.




  36. DD.

    Your comments to continue to be an island of logic and clarity in a sea of…

    Well, let me just say I appreciate them. Please keep posting.

    Major Majors.

    Either you’re particularly fired up after this win or this was an unusually slow Monday for you. Add all of your posts up and you could’ve written one heck of an article!


    1. Jay91 — A little of both. 😊

      Pretty cool when one fully expects their team to lose — right into the final minute of the game — and they pull it out in spectacular fashion…

      Go Pitt!


    2. Jay,

      I was in town for the game, and I watched it with MajorMajors, whom I’ve been watching games with since Foge Fazio prowled our sidelines. I bring a lot of energy when I come to the games at Heinz Field, feeding off random encounters with players’ parents, guys who played for Pitt in the Dave Hart days, and even weird types who frolicked behind the Pitt bench at the end while wearing dinosaur costumes. After an intense-but-electrifying experience like that, I’m not surprised that the ideas have flowed from MajorMajors’ cyber pen.

      As for me, I’ll look forward to driving the (relatively brief) 110 miles from my home in the DC area to Charlottesville on Friday to see what further magic is in store for the men in blue and gold.


      Liked by 3 people

  37. The Good : > Another Conference Win and against the Dookies !

    The emergence of V’Lique
    It took a while but the Ffffrench Connection is here
    The Mad Bomber of Oakland 2.0
    Q ran wild (again)
    Der Kessel & Ketchup Bottle
    Mad Bomber with flaps down, going 35 yds untouched

    The Bad : > Defense was so so bad until the game was on the line

    Defense was so so bad, but did hold them to a FG on next to last possession

    The Ugly : > Some of Mad Bomber’s misfires ( i think original Mad Bomber also had this problem
    on occasion since he had like a 50% completion percentage)

    4th quarter of a great game and Ketchup Bottle had less than 10k there
    Might have to rename it the Mustard Jar….for obvious reasons

    And the Beautiful : Mad Bomber’s 50 yard TD Toss to Fffrenchy


  38. Pitt avg’d an utterly ridiculous 9.3 yards per rushing attempt.

    Don’t remember such gaudy stats like that since watching Oklahoma’s wishbone of Gregg Pruitt, Billy Sims, Elvis Peacock, etc. run roughshod over Big 8 teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I honestly believe that the ACC and Big 12 teams have a lot in common: lousy defenses or defenses that cannot defend against the prevailing hurry-up spread offenses. Basketball-type final scores are not all that unusual in both conferences. The best defense seems to be the best offense.

    In the ACC Georgia Tech and perhaps Pitt, with their run-oriented offenses, keep the other team’s offense off the field. GT’s quick strike runs do contrast with Pitt’s more modest runs, but Pitt’s offense is consistent in that it uses up more time to score and keeps the opponent’s score within reach. Minus penalties and turnovers, of course.

    If Pitt can keep improving in its passing attack, that is to the good, but running the ball well is the key to keeping the score close. We can’t count too much on the Pitt defense to hold teams down. Also, running the ball throughout the game wears the other team’s defenses down into the 4th quarter. Witness Syracuse and Duke. Ollison and Hall really pound the ball at the defenses. Hopefully, they can keep it up. I don’t know if # 19 Carter and or Ffrench can keep surprising teams in the future with jet sweeps, but it’s worth a try. Just my take.

    Plus, the kids must be given credit for not giving up after the beatings and disappointments they have suffered. Pitt kids are tough. I wish they could tackle better in space, but they sure as heck run like heck on offense, don’t they?


  40. Great post Justin, good job..

    Not really wanting to move on so quickly but the next PITT game is on Friday. Here we go again with the next big game in Narduzzi’s head coaching career. Virginia is a very good team but beatable but on the road, ouch. I’m not giving PN a pass on the last game either as the defense looked pathetic to say the least but he gets this PITT football team to play hard for 4 quarters.

    Another chance to put up and show what kind of coach he is. This game wouldn’t be the ruination of the season but darn near it. A win could change the complexion of the perception of many PITT football fans. Let’s hope that the colors change like the leaves down in Virginie.


  41. The Good: 2nd best rushing game IN PITT HISTORY !!!
    Slow emergence of a passing game, with biggest passes/catches in clutch situations.
    Pitt still very much alive in the Coastal division.
    Pitt having Duke’s/Cutclliff’s number
    The Bad: Pitt/Narduzzi’s continued inability to play defense against a Spread offense.
    The Ugly: See The Bad above.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting watching the replay of the game, announcers mentioned Cutcliff’s connection to Johnny Majors. Quoted as saying Majors was the best strategic coach he ever coached under.

      Johnny M, still paying dividends for Pitt !

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It is weird how we seem to have Duke’s number. The refs don’t seem to ever be an issue when we play Duke, and even though Cutcliffe always seem to have a decent to good QB, we normally find a way to win. On the flip side, the ACC school just a couple miles away, UNC, is our kryptonite.


  42. Good: Pitt won, quit complaining
    Bad: The Cold
    Ugly: The Rain
    In my section (539) I estimate about 200 seats of which 5 were occupied. Not sure if some of the people went upstairs to get under the overhang but it was really strange. When Pitt scored the last TD the stadium got loud (somewhat). I said to my son in law wouldn’t it be great to score a TD like that to win the game with 50,000+ people in the seats. Hey I can dream cant I ??
    Side note: When I checked my rain jacket I found a ticket from the Old Dominion game which would have been the last time I wore this jacket. And no I didn’t go to the PSU game. Anybody remember when that game with ODU was??

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Pitt ran the ball with ‘other than’…..Q & Catch 22…….a season high 21 times. 7 each for Mad Bomber, and likewise for 2 parts of the Ffffrench Connection.

    I believe they had a few times, V & Fffrenchy on opposite sides of the field. When you can show speed to the Outside coming from both directions on misdirection and counter-plays, this opens up the middle for our
    dynamic duo of Q & Catch 22.

    Teams can not come close to loading the box, with both V & Ffffrenchy in the game. And then you had Mad Bomber, pulling the ball and taking off himself as well.

    Excellent game plan by Doc Watson and great execution by our Panthers !

    Liked by 1 person

  44. What was particularly ingenious on Watson’s part. Knowing that the passing game itself or the threat of it, can’t stop teams from ‘loading the box’, he puts in 2 Speed WR’s, and then uses them(jet sweeps, misdirections & counter plays)… Spread the Defense.

    Don’t believe we even used the ‘Wildcat’ once. But still teams have to practice, against it.

    It will be very interesting, to see what Watson comes up with, for the Cavaliers.


  45. Voytik avg’d 12 yards per passing attempt and 12 yards per rushing attempt in the Pizza Bowl.

    With a 156.4 QB rating for the game.


  46. In line with that, V’Lique Carter wearing #21 in warmup. Then switches to his normal #19 for the Game.

    Makes me wonder if the Player actually assigned #21 A.J. Davis is still on the Team?

    Did I miss something?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can have a 21 on offense and a 21 on defense. They can’t be on the field at same time, as in Special teams. So if Nard had him wearing 21, Duke would assume he wouldn’t play on offense, since Davis is No. 21.


  47. My son said that he heard Narduzzi may have another surprise player to unveil this week.Anyone else hearing this?


    1. This week and for the rest of the season, we can play freshmen that we haven’t seen all year and they can keep their redshirt. However, you still only can have a limited number of players on a travel squad to take to away games, so it will be interesting to see how much the roster really changes this week.

      Does anyone know the answer to this question … if a player plays in 4 regular season games, and then plays in the bowl game, can they still redshirt?


  48. The Good:
    Pittsburgh Strong
    Offensive scheme and effort by entire unit
    Run blocking
    Effort and enthusiasm
    Defensive stops in 4th Q when it counted
    An unexpected WIN!

    The Bad:
    Tight Ends
    Defensive Secondary Scheme – 10 yards off the slot receiver on every play??? No adjustment? Sheesh

    The Ugly:
    3/4 of the small crowd who left early. How can we expect top flight recruits to take Pitt seriously if the fans don’t?

    Giving up 45 points.
    Kickoff coverage

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Re:CV …Once Chryst adjusted the O to suit Chad’s strengths I thought he and the team played better ball…I am with Emel on Chad-“Roll the CV highlight film Emel.”


  50. Danielson practicing with the first team DL today. Certainly looks like he be be another freshman making his debut for Pitt this week. Bill Cherpak his head coach at TJ “said last year that he might be the best lineman he has coached.” Two other he coached Luis Nix(Pitt) and Tyler Reed(PSU) both played in the NFL. Danielson started at TJ as a freshman. Here’s hoping he has the same impact on our D that Carter had on our O last week.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. PSN practice notes for Oct 30th mentioned him practicing with the DL starters today. My guess is he will be one of the six(?) D lineman Pitt will utilize come this Friday. The quote from his HS coach came from a Post Gazette article from last year when he committed to Pitt.


  52. PSN’s film study by Alan Saunders is another must read today. It’s a great analysis on how badly we defensed Duke on Saturday. Also his analysis of some of Carter’s run plays also suggests he will not be a one hit wonder IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The film study is great. Duke did a great job of setting up mis-matches. Can’t expect anyone but an elite LB to have any luck covering a WR or even an athletic TE… And we obviously don’t have any elite LBs…

      I’ve been wondering about Idowo this season – doesn’t seem to have the burst he had last season…

      Go Pitt.


  53. My last post for the day I promise: Pitt OL coach Boberly said today that L’Vique Carter made his first great run on the last pre season scrimmage day. So folks the Pitt coaching staff of how good this kid was running the ball well before he ever appeared in the Duke game. Mark it down as another dumb move by the Narduzzi and Watson for not getting him some game time well before the Duke game. By the way it has also been reported that Narduzzi told the TV broadcasting crew to keep an eye out for number 19 the Friday before the Duke game.


  54. Just listened to OLine Coach Borbely’s interview. Holy crap. The way some on here have referred to him, I was expecting either a total dolt or some kind of monster.

    But he sounded pretty astute. Found it very interesting that he said the Pitt Oline had only one mental error during the Duke game. Millin was off on some alignment.

    Then just as I’m wondering how many errors are normal, Coach Borbely says we must have had 15 errors in the PSU game… So sounds like the cobbled together Oline has come a long way.

    Go Pitt.


  55. Majors – I agree the Oline is coming together. What is worrisome is we have to play this whole Oline issue again next year when we lose 4 out of 5 starters.


  56. I don’t know if any of you have looked over the remaining games on the first four teams schedule in the coastal but the finish is shaping up to be blockbuster one. Look at this:


    vs PITT
    vs Liberty
    at Georgia Tech
    at Virginia Tech

    Virginia Tech:

    vs Boston College
    at PITT
    vs Miami
    vs Virginia


    vs Duke
    at Georgia Tech
    at Virginia Tech
    vs PITT

    U of PITT: << Sorry steve

    at Virginia
    vs Virginia Tech
    at Wake Forest
    at Miami

    The way I’m looking at those schedules is that another loss may not kill PITT’s chances if other games fall their way. Although I would say the Virginia game is shaping up as a must win. There are a lot of games where the top four teams meet these next four weekends. A win in Charlottesville Friday night could really set the stage for a great finish for PITT.


  57. VA is a must win because at best I think VA might only have one loss on their remaining schedule. Thus I think they win the Coastal if they beat Pitt. They may even win it if they lose to Pitt.


  58. and a big ole BTW, here are those 3 other teams OOC schedule


    Liberty ………WHAT?


    Bill and Mary Lou (william and mary)
    E Carolina
    Old Dominion which was a loss no less
    Notre Dame


    Savanna State
    Holy Toledo

    and some don’t want to see the impact of a winnable schedule? Fix the schedule, then win games, then go to bowl games, then schedule accordingly ever after….

    Just look at Virginia’s OOC schedule. With that schedule PITT could easily be at 7-1. Yeah I know Reed.


    1. Miami is struggling with their 4 & 5* recruits and their OOC schedule has one tough P5 team – ONE.

      VTech should be ashamed of that OOC – didn’t they get schooled by ND and beat by ODU?

      Virginny is beatable – VERY beatable. The best rushing team they have faced is miami, ranked at 60 – Pitt is #23. Their Dline is slow – V’lique and Maurice Ffrench should dart to the edge and…

      Run Forest Run! Elementary Watson, elementary…


    2. Liberty U is not bad and their in FBS now, as an Independent like we were for ..well always ….till the BigEast. They crushed Old Dominion 52-10 and beat a pretty good Troy team. They don’t get much ink and most don’t even know they are FBS now. Go figure.


  59. A Bookser quote from PSN today: “This year’s scout team is the best scout team group since I’ve been here.” Maybe just maybe the Narduzzi and staff recruits aren’t are bad as many here have eluded to. Let’s hope so.


  60. I’ll drop my uva prediction here as I’ll be on the road to Charlottesville this morning for the game –

    Pitt wins a nail biter 28-27 on national TV to take over sole possession of 1st place of the ACC Coastal.

    The D holds the cavs to one score per qtr and trueFR Devin Danielson blocks an extra point (ala AD at GT) to be the difference maker Pitt needs to get the W.



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