Well it turns out that a bad Florida State team was just the tonic Pitt needed to snap its four game losing streak. But before we get carried away with all this “Pitt is back” stuff, lets just take a look at the facts.
QB – None of Florida State’s QB’s had much success throwing the ball coming into the game. Jordan Travis had completed only 50% of his throws and had a 4/4 TD to INT ratio coming into the game. This is exactly the kind of QB that plays into Pat Narduzzi’s scheme. Three interceptions were thrown.
OL – Florida State ranked 85th in sack rate going into the game, and then lost their starting OT in-game. Again, a match made in heaven for Pitt’s DL and Narduzzi’s scheme. And wouldn’t you know it, Pitt sacked Florida State Quarterbacks seven times.
RB – Pitt’s run defense has been one of the only consistent bright spots this season, but interestingly Pit gave an average of 4.5 YPC to FSU’s backs. They combined for 13 carriers and 51 yards, and had Florida State not abandoned the running game they might have worn down our defense (and limited those aforementioned INT’s)
WR – Tough to say because they were limited by QB play and I had to listen to (most of) the game while driving the family home from a petting zoo, but the stats show that Pitt for the most part shut down FSU’s wide receivers.
TE – As usual Pitt struggled to contain a talented tight end. FSU’s Camren McDonald tallied 7 receptions for 61 yards. Chase Pine has limitations reading defenses, but what about putting him 1 on 1 with the TE on every single play? (I know it’s not this simple…)
QB – Kenny Pickett is a difference maker in this offense, and even at less than 100% he elevates a terrible unit to “something around average”. I’m not saying that in a tongue-in-cheek way. Pitt would score about 10 points per game without him (in fact that’s about what they actually scored without him…) Pickett is the offensive MVP so far, even after missing two games.
Nick Patti emerged as a surprising weapon at the goal line, and Kudos to Whipple for “squeezing” as much as he could out of his red zone offense by inserting the mobile backup. (Although he did it one too many times and it likely cost Pitt a touchdown.)
OL – I was able to watch the highlights and (at least on the highlight runs) Pitt appeared to be run blocking a little better. Buuut against FSU that should have been the expectation. From the Tallahassee Democrat (newspaper) game preview:
Not only has FSU lost the battle at the line of scrimmage, but its rushing defense is among the worst in the nation. Through six games, FSU’s defense is giving up an average of 208.6 rushing yards per game. That ranks 83rd out of 104 teams in the FBS.
RB: See above
WR: Jordan Addison is having a Freshman All-American type season. (and Thank God he is). Rumors of Jared Wayne’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Would like to see him get more targets. I sure which Shocky Jacques Louis could run crisper routes, bc then he might get more targets. Still, FSU doesn’t exactly have an elite secondary and Pitt was playing against an injury-riddled unit. From Tomahawk Nation’s postgame report:
Secondary: Can a depleted secondary take away the explosive plays? It’s a mixed bag of results. Brownlee played well in the first half. Pickett is a good quarterback and didn’t make a lot of mistakes. With the lack of pass rush Pickett is just choosing his spots. Pitt really attacking one-on-ones and outside the numbers. Overall it was a short-handed unit against a good quarterback who had the benefit of multiple short fields. A recipe for disaster against a bad defense.
TE: Daniel Moraga, 1 rec, 5 yds
Overall – This offense isn’t as good as the 40+ points they scored.
Special Teams / Coaching
I tuned in early enough to hear Kessman miss a field goal (shocker), and DJ Turner make some decent returns. From what I hear the Aussie had a good day.
Can’t speak to the coaching since I didn’t observe the whole game, but maybe you guys can?
On to Georgia Tech… Hail to Pitt.