Whether you are basking in it, or fuming over it, it’s been a full two days since Pitt’s win over Syracuse. Lets get the goods, bads and uglies out of our system before turning our attention to the hated ‘Canes.
Kenny Pickett: His stat line wasn’t great, but he took a lot of hits and hung in there. He also threw a picture-perfect back shoulder dart to Maurice Ffrench for a touchdown. Pickett’s best play may have been at halftime when he saw “too many smiles” in the locker room and told the team they need to learn how to win by putting people away and finishing the right way. While the team may or may not have taken it to heart this time around, Kenny’s speech is the kind of leadership Pitt needs if they want to have a shot a making this a special season. Well done sir, and keep it up.
Aaron Matthews: Had a bad drop early, but rebounded and caught his first career touchdown on a trick play. Matthews brings his lunchpail to work every day, does what the coaches ask of him, and he does it well. Lets hope they ask him to catch more passes in the back half of the season, because I think he’s a talent waiting to emerge.
AJ Davis: 16 for 103, 6.4 YPC, long of 19, 1 TD. Ran harder and lower than I’ve seen him run all year. Channeled his inner James Connor and threw a nice stiffarm. Iced the game with a bruising three yard run in the fourth quarter. My only complaint is that they gave him only 16 touches.
Maurice Ffrench (the Receiver): 6 for 92 and 1 TD, 15.3 average. They Orange chose to double-cover Taysir Mack and Ffrench made them pay. That ladies and gentlemen is how it’s supposed to work.
Safety Play: Damar Hamlin had his best game of the season. Jazzee Stocker stepped up and filled in for Paris Ford nicely in the first half.
For the fun of it, which stat line belongs to Ford and which belongs to Stocker?
- 6 tackles, 4 solo. 0 Sack. 0 TFL. 1 PD.
- 6 tackles, 3 solo. 1 Sack. 1 TFL. 0 PD.
(hint: Ford didn’t sack the quarterback)
9 Sacks: Pitt has more sacks through seven games than any team in the last 14 years. That’s any team in the country. To put it another way, 130 (the number of teams in FBS) x 14 = 1820. So yes, Pitt team has more sacks than the 1820 teams that came before it, and that’s all without their top two defensive linemen. So much for Narduzzi not being able to find or develop talent.
Here is the national “Sack Rate” ranking for the teams that remain on Pitt’s schedule:
- Miami – 127th
- Georgia Tech – 121st
- North Carolina – 108th
- Virginia Tech – 89th
- Boston College – 1st
Maurice Ffrench (the Punt Returner): Muff #3 on the season. Fortunately the defense bowed up and only gave up three points. Still, you’d like to see Ffrenchy reel those in with more consistency. Turnovers will cost Pitt another game this season, mark my words.
Pass Blocking: To be fair, Syracuse had some good players on that defense, especially at End. But Kenny was on his back too much, and he was forced out of the pocket too often. Pitt’s OL “sack rate: (same stat as above) is 31st on paper, but in reality, the line is not pass blocking consistently. Pitt had better find some answers next week before Miami, because the ‘Canes are as talented a line as we will face all season.
Tight Ends: Two catches, 19 yards. Can’t remember if it was on four targets or five. Griffin-Stewart dropped one in the second half that hit him in the hands and would have kept a drive going. Fellas, it’s called a JUGS machine, and I’m sure there are a few of them on the Southside.
The Second Half: Pitt seemed to sleepwalk through most of the second half again. Yes Syracuse changed some things up and yes they played hard, but if you watched the game, you saw a hack of a lot of mistakes from the guys in Blue and Yellow. This will come back to bite them if they don’t correct it soon.
This (ugly in a good way):