First off, if any players, coaches or parents of players are reading this, I’d like to extend a thank you to the team and recognize the culture and overall positive attitude this team embodies.
I took my ten year old nephew, Dominick Monteleone, to the game. It was his first Pitt game. We were able to get down to the corner near where the Pitt players ran out onto the field, and as luck would have it, we were pretty much the only fans there. So the little kid in the Pitt hat just held out his hand to see if he could get any high-fives. He got two! When the players were bunched next to the bleachers right before they ran out onto the field pre-kickoff, Paris Ford reached his hand up and tapped him. Then Ford tapped Will Gragg on the shoulder and made him to it too. Very impressive fan-awareness and leadership by Ford here.
When the players were heading off the field at halftime we went back down to that corner again, and Dom held out his hand again. I’m like “nah he’s not going to get much love here”. Instead he got a ton of high fives.
Finally we went down at the end of the game, and I remember thinking to myself “Alright, this is the third tme. These players are going to be so sick of this kid”. I was wrong again. Not only did Dom get a lot of high-fives, but Carson Van Lynn stopped and gave him one of his lineman’s gloves (it is ENOURMOUS). Then Nick Patti stopped and gave Dom a wristband. Then one of the assistant coaches gave Dom his Pitt lanyard. And to top it all off, Jared Wayne took off his Pitt Script receiving gloves and yep, he gave them to Dom.
The ‘Duzz also slipped a high five in there (and you should have seen Dom’s Face when I told him that was the head coach). Kenny Pickett came by a minute later and high five Dom as well. The he apologized because he’d already given away his towel! To see a ten year old kid’s eyes light up from all of this brought back a lot of the magic of college football for me, and I’d like to extend a personal thank you to the team and give Pat Narduzzi, and commend the culture he’s built. They locked in a new Pitt fan at a very young age, and made one forty-one year old long-suffering Pitt fan (that’s me) a happier guy.
As such…don’t be surprised if I go a little easier on the team this week during the good, bad and ugly.
Okay now on to the words you all actually came here to read…
Pitt won on Saturday in the way that most of us expected them to win: Just good enough on offense, and outstanding on defense.
That’s what this Pitt team is folks, like it or not, and it’s been good enough to win us 67% of our games.
Now don’t get me wrong, “just good enough” on offense can be pretty ugly, especially against an over-matched team like Georgia Tech, but Saturday’s performance had it’s bright spots. For example, Pitt gained 295 yards in the first half and moved the ball up and down the field at will…when they weren’t committing turnovers. Pitt’s two touchdowns were outstanding and well-executed plays. The running game took over on the final drive and sealed the victory (It’s fair to say that Tech gave up at that point as well).
In between those bright spots Pitt’s offense was kind of tough to watch. Like I said, Pitt gained 295 int he first half. Well they gained 362 for the entire game, so that’s a shade less than 70 yards in the second half.
The offense has already been much discussed though, so on to some good, bad and ugly.
- Pitt is bowl eligible and we beat the Vegas prediction of 5.5 wins.
- Shocky Jacques Louis’ touchdown: Great thow and catch and Shocky really displayed some athleticms and strength to get the ball into the endzone. If this guy puts in the work during the offseason he is going to have a great year next season.
- Vince Davis’ touchdown: The guy has talent and the O-line is figuring out how to get to the second level. Need to see more of this in teh last three games.
- Pitt running for 158. That will make three straight games where Pitt has been at our around 150 yards. Need more of this kind of balance.
- Kylan Johnson’s strip: Sacraficed his body and changed teh game in teh process. What a tremendous football play by a tremendous football player.
- Cam Bright’s Scoop and Run: Right place, right guy, right time. My high school coach used to say “the harder you practice the luckier you get”. Well keep practicing hard Cam, we need more of that kind of luck.
- Paris Ford’s INT: We’ve seen Pitt players drop those easy balls in the past. Well done sir.
- The defense overall: Held GT to under 200 yards and just 86 yards rushing – less than half of their season average. If it wasn’t for that long pass play this game would have been really one sided.
- Bobby Dodd Stadium: Neat and compact, and nestled into the space of two city blocks. Calling Chancellor Gallagher, Heather Lyke and the Pitt Board of Trustees, and all the high net worth Pitt Alumni that care about this. PITT NEEDS A BOBBY DODD. How many more years do we have on the lease at Heinz???
- Another game, another blown call by the ACC officials. Ffrench’s knee was clearly down before the ball came out on that fumble. I was in the stands so I don’t know what the replay situation was, but hard to understand why that wasn’t overturned after I saw it on video.
- The horizontal passing game. Look I get that we need a safe second half option if they are stacking the box. But this did not work.
- Kenny’s INT’s. The first one was bad. The second one was partially the fault of Griffin-Stewart, but the ball still didn’t need to be thrown that hard or high… The good news is that we’ve got two weeks for Pickett’s shoulder to heal and for him to study some film and get back into a groove.
- We win ugly. But we still win. I’ll take 6-3 at this point.
- Fill in the blanks with yours
Hail to Pitt