In the South there is a term used to describe Georgia Tech graduates. That term is “nugget”, and it loosly translates to “egghead” or “nerd”. Given that the Tech fanbase (and boosters) are comprised largely of these “nuggets”, you’d think that they’d have a propensity for numbers and logic-based decision making. Unfortunately for them, they don’t. The “oh so smart” Tech Nuggets ran Paul Johnson and his eight-wins-per-season triple-option offense out of town in 2018, and demanded an “upgrade” to Geoff Collins’ more modern approach. The net result: three wins per season for the last three years. It doesn’t take an egghead to figure out that was a mistake.
Collins was let go on Monday, and he left nothing less than a dumpster fire.
First the transfer portal: Per Richard Hefner’s 2021 Production Loss article, Tech lost 16 players last year, including all-ACC running back Jahmyr Gibbs, quarterback-of-the-future Jordan Yates, and two starting edge rushers: Jared Ivey and Jordan Domineck. (Domineck led the Jackets in sacks in 2021 … with 3.5).
Second, Tech’s on-field performance: Tech is 1-3 this season, with a 35 – 17 win over FCS Western Carolina. It should be noted that WCU outgained the Yellow Jackets 390 – 343 (and probably only lost because they turned the ball over four times). Against FBS competition, Tech has yet to put up more than ten points this year. Oh and the litany goes on: Tech has been outscored 183 to 10 in their last five FBS games. Tech hasn’t beaten an FBS opponent in their last 10 tries. Tech hasn’t beaten a MAC school since Paul Johson boat-raced Bowling Green in 2018. Shall I continue?
This might be delayed a bit but here goes. As I stated in a comment on another thread I’m still not sure what to think about the talent and depth (and coaching) on this 2022 squad.
I like the 3-1 record and what RB Israel (Izzy) Abanikanda has been able to do running the football. You just cannot argue against a 5.8 yards per carry average on the season. Is that the OL playing better? I think that is part of it. The quality of competition might have a bit to do with it also. But the bottom line is that he’s a solid and productive performer who will contribute a lot to our chances of winning games.
As to the game many POVers are saying the same thing – that we beat the Rams with our second and third string kids in the second have of play. Did we? I keep looking back at that play that ended at 4:22 in the late 3rd quarter when we got stuffed at the RI four yard line to turn the ball over on downs. We had Slovis and other first string guys with some second stringers also – Daniel Carter, the Pitt FB who carried on that last play, is a first starting FB…
Look, we out played them as it should be and won the game as it should be. We looked better against the RI Rams than we have against our other ’22 opponents. But what we’ll see in ACC play are not teams that have to leave their first string guys in for the whole game, no matter how beat up and tired they may be.
We’ll see talented two-deeps who can substitute and still compete. Pitt also has a talented two-deep and we’ll compete in every game, I’m sure of that. My worry is that the talent we have seem so far might not get us through the ACC schedule as we won game after game last season (almost).
I like QB Kedon Slovis, but I don’t think he’s the type of QB who is going to take over an offense and bend defenses to his will as we saw in Pickett. I know – who is right? But I just do not like an offense where we have to rely on a run game that is as basic as Cignetti wants it to be.
Which raises the question of if by chance we can’t sustain a run game to get what we need to win can we turn to the passing game to make up for that? Not if he keeps throwing only two TDs in what? – 10 quarters of play? We can say it isn’t needed if we are scoring on the ground. Let’s hope that is the case.
We beat RI and got our third win and a single loss. 3-1 going into the meat of the season aint bad and gives us a pretty firm footing going forward. The questions i raise above will be answered as games are played and things unfold. I’m hoping the answer to those question will fall on the positive side of the equation.
Here are the team’s national rankings as of the close of the four ‘opening’ games. Decent ranks but I can’t help but think that after playing WMU and RI we’d be better than 97th in Red Zone offense. However, what is worse is our Red Zone defense coming in at 113th. These are critical areas of play and where the OL really has to assert dominance and get the RBs space through the line. We are not doing that in the Red Zone and our 44% conversion rate on 3rd downs shows that as a problem also.
Our defense has done well also – not perfect but it might be the key aspect of our rest of season. Don’t like giving up 223 passing yards per game but I think we’ll win close games on big defense sacking the opponent QBs and pulling down more INTs.
With today’s 45-24 win over Rhode Island, Pitt is now 20-1 all-time against FCS opponents, including 15-0 against members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). This was the first meeting between Pitt and Rhode Island.
Pat Narduzzi is now 56-38 in his Pitt head coaching career. His 56 victories are tied for third all-time with John Michelosen (56-49-7), who coached the Panthers from 1955-65. Narduzzi only trails Jock Sutherland (111-20-12 from 1924-38) and Pop Warner (60-12-4 from 1915-23) in Pitt annals.
Israel Abanikanda rushed for a career-high 177 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries (9.3 avg.). It marked Abanikanda’s third consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
The last Pitt player to record three consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts was Darrin Hall in 2017.
Abanikanda scored a career-high four rushing touchdowns. He is the first Pitt player to rush for four TDs since Darrin Hall (four vs. North Carolina, Nov. 9, 2017).
Pitt compiled a season-high 271 rushing yards (on 41 carries; 6.6 avg.) as a team. The Panthers are now 25-6 under Pat Narduzzi when they rush for more than 200 yards, including 2-0 this year (Rhode Island and Western Michigan).
Kedon Slovis returned as the Panthers’ starting quarterback, his first appearance since the first half of the Tennessee game (Sept. 10). Slovis completed 20-of-27 passes for 189 yards.
The Panthers limited Rhode Island to 63 yards rushing on 22 carries (2.9 avg.).
It is the third consecutive game Pitt held its opponent to under 100 yards rushing (Tennessee, Western Michigan).
Pitt is 30-9 under Pat Narduzzi when it holds an opponent under 100 yards rushing.
The Panthers compiled four sacks, led by tackle Calijah Kancey’s 1.5.
Freshman tackle Sean FitzSimmons made his collegiate debut and finished with two tackles and a nine-yard sack.
Defensive end Bam Brima made his first career start.
M.J. Devonshire opened the scoring with an 82-yard punt return touchdown. It was Pitt’s first punt return TD (non-block) since Rafael Araujo-Lopes’ 86-yarder at UCF on Sept. 29, 2018.
Devonshire now has two return touchdowns this season (56-yard INT return vs. West Virginia). He is the first Pitt player to score TDs via both a punt and INT return in the same season since Darrelle Revis in 2006. Revis had two interception return touchdowns (Virginia and Cincinnati) and one punt return TD (West Virginia) in 2006.
Pitt Head Coach Pat Narduzzi Transcript Rhode Island Postgame September 24, 2022
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, good outing by our guys. Again, I say “good.” I don’t think it was great. I didn’t think we had the emotion I think you need to come with every Saturday afternoon for whatever reason. I thought the offense ran the ball really well and were efficient.
Defense, wasn’t happy. Gave up a big run. Never like to do that. Gave up some RPOs out of some different formations and stuff.