MMQB: The Big Win Over WVU

Well, time to get back into the swing of things with writing for the POVers. Here goes…

I watched the whole, much too long, game on Thursday night and came away with two feelings. First a win is always good, but a win over the old time rival Mountaineers is great. The second isn’t so strong a feeling – I’m just not sure what sort of Pitt football team we saw out there.

When I review a played game I look at a few things first but go directly to how many yards did our offense gain and how many did we give up. Pitt’s offense did well if you look at just the stats themselves but when you factor in that two WVU turnovers had so much of an impact on the final score, especially DB Devonshire’s highlight reel Pick 6 with 2:58 left in the game that sealed, almost, the win you realize those stats were a bit misleading.

Our defense wasn’t all that majorly impressive overall either. I looked at what WVU did in the first 45:08 minutes and really felt like our giving up that much yardage, both on the ground and in the air, for 31 WVU points didn’t bode well for the future. Let’s be honest here folks – WVU is not a powerhouse offensive team, at least I believe that will show as true over their season, but they pretty much had their way with our defense.

In the end we gave up 404 total yards, and 22 first downs mostly based on the ‘Eers pushing out almost 200 yards! (190 @ 5.6 ypc) on the ground. They pretty much owned our vaunted D line doing that. It was the most rushing yardage Pitt has allowed in years and is something to fix and fix quickly before the Tennessee game. TENN had 218 yards rushing and 351 yards passing in their opener. Granted that was Ball State…

Offensively our stats look pretty good with 378 yards overall. We looked determined to run first, pass second in this game but when the dust settled we had a poor 2.0 ypc overall and 3.5 yards per carry (YPC) by our RBs.

Rodney Hammond averaged 4.6 yards with two TD runs of 11 ands 2 yards and he looked steady but the others; Abanikanda and Carter were unimpressive to say the least. Their 11 carries for 22 yards does not look great and especially nervous making if Hammond gets injured down the way. I also don’t think that WVU’s defense had all that much to do in shutting down the run – more like our OL just isn’t what the hype has been saying they are and 76 yards rushing pretty much backs that up. I say again – 36 rush attempts for a final 76 yards is crappy.

I think anyone who watched the game would agree that up until the end of the 3rd quarter our passing game was not hitting on all cylinders either. Slovis’ 66.7% completion rate for 308 yards and 1 TD looks OK especially if you see his 188.2 QB rating for the game. But aside from that very nice seam pass to WR Jared Wayne for 64 yards Slovis looked not only like was it his first game in Blue & Gold but his first game for a long time.

He’ll be OK as our QB but for the fans thinking he’s another Kenny Pickett it’s more like he’s the second coming of Chad Voytik without the legs to help him avoid sacks and get yardage on the ground…which we will miss in our future games because we had Pickett scooting all over the field getting first downs and TDs.

Slovis ain’t all that great at avoiding those dreaded sacks either. Yes it was his first start with a new team, new system and new expectations but he projected a deer in the headlights on many of his drop backs. Yes, the OL was porous in their protection of Slovis but he had a real hard time being able to go through progressions to his 2nd and 3rd receivers due to the defensive pressure on him. Three of those five sacks allowed led directly to Pitt having to punt on the next play. Three drives killed with one at a score of 10-10 and one at score 17-10 WVU.

Cignetti obviously wants the rushing game to carry the team this season and I wonder about that approach. I wasn’t overly impressed with either QB Slovis or the pass protection by our O line (5 sacks for (-) 39 yards ) and that is something that might just put too much stress on a run game over 12 matches.

We will miss the latest iteration of Kenny Pickett in a Pitt uniform and I just don’t think Slovis will be able to carry the team the way KP did and maybe not even close. It would be nice if we fans could point directly to the running game and think ‘Well, Slovis doesn’t have to really produce because we are a good run first team.’ Well, maybe we need to think again about that.

As you all know I try (note the “try“) to take an balanced look at what goes on with Pitt football. Yes, our D produced two turnovers that lead directly to 14 points and that is reminiscence of what we saw them do last year – that was happy making. Had the D kept the WVU offense tamped down the rest of the game I’d feel more generous in praise. They didn’t do that though.

The fact is that WVU held a lead for the majority of the game; the whole first half until our FG right at the halftime buzzer and approximately 40 of the 60 game minutes, which wasn’t what I believe Pitt fans expected in this opener.

POV’s game MVP Devonshire dramatically changed all that with three minutes left in the game and it still came down to that last 4th down WVU pass, that was almost caught at the goal line which created a turnover on downs with 22 seconds left in the game, before we watchers could let our breath out.

We won the Backyard Brawl and that really is great. It was a nice thing to look at the final score of 38-31 and feel like we did what we hoped we would. However, if we don’t raise our playing level up, both on O and on D, we may be in for some trouble down the road. We’ll see how things shake out this Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers, who won their opener against Ball State 55-10 (I’ll be at the game BTW). I really hope that at the end of that game we 1) have a 2-0 record and 2) feel much better about the remaining games on our schedule.


112 thoughts on “MMQB: The Big Win Over WVU

  1. A lot of teams struggled a bit with consistency this weekend. With no preseason I suppose they’re still working out some kinks. Much better doing so after winning though.

    I’ll be looking for a marked improvement from the offense. More crispness and tempo.

    The defense (linebackers) need to improve the containment along the edges.



  2. IF we are 2-0 after next Saturday, NO MATTER HOW it happens, I think we have a legit shot of winning out up to the Miami game

    I think there’s too much to fix in a week to have that happen

    imo, the punter should be better, the d-line might be better, the LB’s will not(who thinks B George is enough to change that?), the RB’s will not if RH isn’t available, the QB will not(because I think he was good to very already), the WR’s will not, the DB’s will not(unless the d-line IS), and the o-line gives me nothing to believe at all

    and the 12th man will help but can’t imagine any better there either as they appeared to be the best I’ve ever seen

    I won’t attend so as to avoid the jinx I started by ONLY attending last year’s WMU and Miami game L’s 😦 , but that probably won’t be enough 😦 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nobody is mentioning much the first play of the 2nd half – huge pass drop, or am I misremembering that as I did not DVR to rewatch it

      a couple times during the game I thought Cig needed to call a screen

      or maybe a draw play


  3. I think WV was much better than you credit them for. Last year they had no QB, this year they have a very good one. They also have a stellar freshman running back. Their lines are very good. Their O-line protected well and opened holes.

    I do think Pitt shot themselves in the foot too often which kept WV drives alive.

    Slovis did look hesitant and didn’t want to make mistakes. Overall he did enough to win and should get more confidence over time. Our new receivers look very good and if Means doesn’t fumble who knows.

    No doubt stopping the run is the biggest concern. Tennessee will be a tough task with SEC lines and an excellent QB who can hurt you with his arms and legs.

    No doubt Pitt needs to play better than they did to beat Tennessee, but it is way to early to predict the trajectory of this team.


    1. Agree with GC- I too think WVU has a solid team… their OL returned intact and seemed more athletic and adept to run blocking… they handled PITT’s vaunted interior DL. I have concerns with our OL, namely, # 60.. hopefully, they will grow into the OL that were of average talent when Ollison/Hall each got 1000. Running game sucked with the exception of Hammond( somebody on here needs to give him a Nick- name before Izzy to the hizzy becomes Izzy to the bench!

      Slovis’s has a nice arm, slow and looks fragile not agile but he took a few hits and managed to dust himself off without losing accuracy…..

      Blue Mountain Bart… what the hell happened Cig??? that’s on you .. don’t let it happen again!!!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Great analysis Reed! I too was not impressed with our veteran offensive line that has received so much good press before the season. The fact they have been a unit for so long does not somehow magically make them good.

    With regard to the defense, I imagine Narduzzi and Bates can turn that around, especially when it comes to our defensive line. I expect to see some changes at linebacker for the Tennessee game.

    One thing to keep in mind as well, WVU scored one touchdown due to a boneheaded play by Pitt’s rookie punter deciding to go for a short stroll before attempting to punt. In addition to giving WVU a gift, it also was a major shift of momentum in the game at the time.

    With all that said, I believe Pitt is not going to have a pleasant day on Saturday. Tennessee will score quickly and often on us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good analysis, Reed, thank you!

    If sacks are recorded as rushing plays, then Coach Cig called 29 pass plays and 29 running plays, an exact 50/50 balance. I know a few folks wanted to see an even heavier emphasis on running the ball than that. For comparison, Alabama ran 55% pass and Georgia 60% pass. And both of those games were blowouts where you might presume that they kept the ball on the ground a lot more in the second half. And I have a hard time visualizing Georgia as an aerial attack team, but I’m probably living in the past. My point, success in college football seems to have clearly swung to a pass-first game plan.

    Maybe last season Coach Whipple concluded that if your offensive line is not as stout as you would like (I’m being kind here), a passing game is easier to achieve success than a running game. A porous pass blocking team can use quick tosses to a back or a tight end slant to beat the rush. Even a shovel pass to Daniel Carter might counteract the rush. But run blockers who cannot even open a crease make even good running backs ineffective.

    I don’t know if my assumptions are correct. Or if Coach Cig even has a pass-first gene in his body. But if we do have an accurate passer and some skilled receivers, seems to me we should be able to scheme an effective passing game that masks some of our offensive weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reed, many of your points are on target, however, I think you underestimate the EER’s. This year’s WVU team is improved from the mediocrity of recent seasons.

    Daniels is an above-average QB and is capable of carrying the team to many wins. Wide receiver Ford-Wheaton is a stud and could well end up on the Big 12 All-Star Team. WVU line play is difficult to judge because our lines played so poorly that it is impossible to determine if the Hoopies are good or if we are really as weak as we appeared to be (??).

    Pitt was given a gift by WVU Coach passing on going for 1 yard on a 4th down when his team had excellent momentum>>>game changer when he punted.

    Narduzzi has become a master of coachspeak and repeatedly indicated that he has to “fix” the problems…well, he will need a master plumber, electrician, and a few strong bulls to carry all the tools needed for the repair job. Is he going to repair our linebackers, running game without Hammond, and our inept OLine in 1 week? Please don’t get me wrong because this was only our 1st game and the Backyard Brawl pressure of an amazing fully packed stadium under the lights on national TV is quite a bit to handle for 19 and 20-year-old kids.

    Last but not least I am very concerned about our Kangaroo punter kicking left/right footed.
    Kicking is crucial in tight game situations///CRUCIAL.

    I truly believe that we are better in some ways than we displayed on Thursday night and I have not lost hope that we can win against the Vols. I really would like to see a crowd approaching 60,000 at the game providing a 12th man atmosphere.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Devonshire had the play of the game but Capt Morgan was the MVP. Run defense will get fixed. That’s been a staple for Duzz. First game with a new OC, QB and several WR’s. Chemistry theoretically should develop. Cignetti still has to get a feel for Slovis and what will work and won’t work. Can it develop in time for TN? That’s a taller task but at least it’s at home. Winning on the road is difficult in college regardless of talent level. Carter is a fullback and ran in short yardage situations. I wouldn’t worry about his yards per carry. In fact, he shouldn’t even be included. Izzy struggled mightily. Take away the drops and Slovis is 78% completion percentage. He was 7/8 between 10-20 yards and 1-4 (should have been 2-4) on over 20 yards. 67% overall. If you’re going to discredit Pitt’s offense for a TD on the one turnover you have to discredit WVU’s on the blocked punt. Pitt’s defense only gives up 24 points in that scenario. I get the the unbiased eye but you have to also apply the same context on the opponent. Big runs and 3rd downs killed the defense. Two things that have never been historically a problem. Two new OLB’s seem to be the issue with the run game.

    I saw a stat that Slovis held onto the ball for 3.5 secs … way too long. have to get it out in under 3 sec average. This may be harder to fix as it’s been one criticism that goes back to USC. Having said that, 3 sacks were on him but he only took 4 sacks once at USC. This was the most. Could be just the offense not being comfortable yet. Who knows but there was more good than bad with Slovis. 70+ QBR. 188 rating. Played very well when we needed him too. Some hiccups but overall a good start.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. A pretty fair game assessment, Reed. I believe all of us were a bit disappointed despite winning the game. But then, that may be the issue

    I wrote on the POV back on gameday that I didn’t know who was more overconfident… the team or the POV. And I would like to believe that may have been a factor. The Eers seemed to be more aggressive and focused through much of the game.

    Tennessee is the favorite this week. Don’t know if Pitt will win, but I expect an improved effort all around

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. The key to Pitt scoring with the high octane TN offense will be if Cig let’s Slovis take over the game.

      I pulled this from the “Saturday down south” article –

      Southern Cal transfer Kedon Slovis looked pretty good in his Pitt debut, throwing for 308 yards and 1 score. The much-maligned Tennessee secondary will be tested.

      Note to Cig: smoke them cause you’ve got the weapons – Blue Mtn Bart, Mumpfield, Wayne, Izzy, Carter, Means, Bradley, Barden and Johnson.


  9. WVU and Pitt traded big mistakes. Pitt’s freshman punter took two too many steps on a punt deep in our own territory giving WVU the block and the ball inside our 10 yard line. WVU’s stud WR tipped a well thrown ball into the hands of Devonshire leading to a TD.

    Our offense outscored their offense.

    Neither team tackled particularly well.

    I loved our RB pass plays. More of that please.

    Our LBs need to fill gaps a little better. If they don’t it will be a long day against TN. TN’s game plan will include a heavy dose of the run game given then WVU film.

    JT Daniels can scramble and make plays. I feel like he dangerously threw the ball up for grabs a couple of times. That will bite him at some point.

    I hope that Nard doesn’t give up on Bud Means just yet. No doubt that he will be in Nard’s doghouse for the drop and the fumble. The kids has talent. Nard is stubborn.

    TN will have better athletes than WVU overall.

    I expect a mental letdown this week. A lot of emotion in a close rival game…

    Hail to Pitt!


    1. I don’t think they’ll go away from Means. They went right back to him after the fumble and he had a key reception later in the game, after the drop.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. As to how good the OL was last year I beg to differ. On the season we rushed for 4.0 ypc (1 yard under standard for good running game) and only 149.2 ypg. They also gave up 34 sacks for 207 yards with a 5th year mobile QB. Emphasis on 5th year.

    Just because all are returning doesn’t mean they were all that great last year. It just means we are familiar with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pitt was not a run team last year. They ran to keep defenses honest against the pass. That’s a stat that has lost relevance over the years. Just like ToP. Just like baseball average means nothing anymore. NextGen stats are what you have to look at. Explosive plays. Points per drive. Pace. Etc. These historical stats have lost relevance.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. big reason for a sub par running game was the great passing game

      similarly but not entirely the # of sacks relates to the number of pass plays

      btw, on a bad snap>>fumble, is the stat recorded as both a fumble for KP and a sack? some here might love that


      1. I believe it goes into the records as a “TEAM” stat. If fumble recovered, it is a team rush loss. If you actually count the rush attempts that ESPN uses, sometimes they don’t add to the total shown. You have to dig deeper into the NCAA stats to find a “Team” stat line. Done it many a time.

        If the bad snap is recovered by the opponent I’m not as certain how it is recorded. Haven’t ran into that problem.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Agree on the offensive line. They did not get better simply because they all are coming back as a unit. If they were bad last year with run blocking, what makes anyone think they have improved with age. They are not like a fine wine!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I watched every Tennessee game last year. I expect Pitt to control both lines of scrimmage and run the ball at will vs the Vols. I believe their offense will not see the field much. Take the points.

    Pitt 45 -17

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tennessee is going to be tough. No doubt about it. But per Tex’s link, it’s hard to compare the opening games. Ball State with an experienced team vs. a historical rival that they haven’t played in a decade with a new offensive system and QB. Lots to clean up. But nothing that seemed like a glaring problem outside the run game … but even that seemed okay with Hammond. WR’s running wrong routes. Slovis’s lack of pocket awareness at times. It all seemed like growing pains to me but who knows. They beat a P5 rival and were clutch when they had to be. You always hear about OC”s saying getting the ball to their playmakers in space but rarely do you see it … Well, we saw it on Thursday. Just look at they YAC. That’s getting the ball to your playmakers in space. 7/8 between 10-20 yards is a huge stat, too. That’s chunk yardage. 4 drives over 60 yards for TD’s. There was definitely some good with the bad.

    As I mentioned in another post, the points per drive were not far off of last season. 2.8 with picket compared to 2.5 with Slovis. Difference was just under 3 points for the entire game. 33.8 vs. 31. About a FG off of last season’s pace and that was just the first game against a P5 opponent.

    Look at the good with the bad for a balanced approach. They average each other out. Definitely some concerns. Are they fixable? Most appear so. We may see some changes on the OL. Backups were in on that final drive. This is still a team figuring out its identity. They’ll find it. Not sure it will be this weekend. Tough opponent to clean stuff up against. Fast paced and a QB that has given us problems in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lots to complain about. I don’t think anyone thinks Pitt played great but I also don’t think it was an oh boy we’re in trouble game either. They played hard. Won a game they outplayed WVU in but also made enough mistakes to lose. It’s going to take a few weeks like you suggest. No preseason in college (they play that in the post season in college). When was the last time Duzz complained about a win? Tells you that he thinks the team was better than that. I didn’t pick up any this is going to be a long season vibes.


  13. Symbolism or is Hammond ready to go this weekend?


  14. Off topic but interesting… Rutgers had a first and goal but ended up having to punt. (OPI, false starts, sack)

    They ended up beating BC at the end by driving the length of the field with ALL runs

    They still

    Sent from my iPhone



  15. Great game last night seeing FSU beat LSU. Good win for the ACC after a poor showing by the Carolina teams. Hope we don’t drop the ball next Saturday…


  16. Great comments all around. I do think you are underselling Kedon Slovis Reed by equating him with Chad Voytek. I know he was slow, but with his passing accuracy I expect he will compare more with Max Browne (not a dig for me as I thought Browne was trending upward before he got hurt) and Tom Savage, who played well enough to hang around the NFL for a while.


  17. Regarding the Punter, I saw some other kickers running around before kicking the ball and heard an explanation where the extra steps create “artificial hang time” giving the coverage team more time to to get down field to prevent a return. It sounds like a new fad that will be abandoned quickly due to a higher percentage of punts blocked. Let’s hope so anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought he was doing “rugby” style punting. Used to be popular. I watched another game with a new (like ours) Aussie punter.


  18. I have a real concern that Pitt will be unable to stop Hooker when he decides to run with the ball. Tennessee will use a carbon copy of the running plays that WVU utilized last week. But in many cases Hooker will hold onto the ball and follow his RB thru the hole. He is a big guy and tough to bring down. I just can’t see much improvement from our outside LB’s this week in attempting to stop the run. QB Hooker with rush for well over 100 yards running this week. Give the points and take Tennessee I’m sorry to have to say.


    1. One of our LB’s not named SirVocea needs to be assigned the role of spying on Hooker and hitting him whenever legally possible.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Just imagine if John Congemi connected on a lot of passes at Pitt from 1983-85. Foge wins more, never gets fired, Major Harris is then under center @ Pitt from 1987-90, the administration probably doesn’t kill football, Foge might be the head coach through the 90s. History looks different and better.

      But Congemi did misconnect, just like Hooker did. That’s football.


    2. You’re thinking of the QB transfer from Michigan that Hooker replaced. Hooker came in and almost brought them back. That other QB was know for inaccuracy so I’m sure Pitt was banking on missed throws. You can take more risk if you don’t think he’ll make a play.


  19. If you watched all the games, opening game jitters hurt a lot of teams. See LSU who beat FSU all over the field but lost on numerous mistakes! Strange crap happens.

    I’ll never forget my HS opener junior year with maybe the best team Baldwin ever had. Cheerleaders had created a paper covered hoop for the team to run thru. Our center, first one thru, tripped on it and broke his ankle out for the year. I barely made it through.

    Pitt will be more than fine this week. Have some faith!!


  20. Great to see you writing again Reed!

    I generally agree that It’s tough not to be disappointed in the line play on both sides of the ball. To get run all over like that was kind of shocking. The offensive line, while all back, was never great at run blocking or pass blocking (for that matter) to begin with. KP hid a lot of their blemishes with his mobility. I am not sure how to make these guys better at this point than to their scheme to strength….

    Slovis looked rusty but he has a big time arm. He did hold the ball too long though. I compare him favorably to Tom Savage. Hopefully Cignetti can play more to his strengths and when Slovis has time, the receivers catch the ball. I think they may have to pass to set up the run in this next game. More quick passes to the backs and tight ends I think would help this week.

    I believe that the game really turned on that blocked punt. The blocked punt cannot be overstated in the context of the game. The game is tied coming out of half time and that block punt happens. That play is a KILLER. Pitt teams folded like a cheap suit after plays like that in the past. That really showed me something that they did not give up and were able to come back.

    One more thing, this Tennessee game is where schedule making is critical. I think Lyke did this team no favors with this kind of scheduling. Pitt should be playing Rhode Island this week. NOT TENNESSEE.

    A let down against Rhode Island, you can overcome and still win by double digits. A let down against Tennessee and you get boat raced.

    If they somehow win this next game against Tennessee, that will really be a statement. I wish I was as optimistic as Dan.


  21. BigB, I sorta likes Hotrod Hammond. (As long as it doesn’t imply a fondness for a “high octane” offense😱)


  22. Was it just me not noticing or did our TE not throw a whole lot of blocks downfield for the RBs. Had he taken a LB out on some of those carries we may have had more ypc.


  23. Chad Voytik never could’ve made those throws late and driven the team down for the tie. Slovis is so much better and he is shaking off some rust. He needs his line to play better and also feel the pressure a lot better than he did on Thursday.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Pitt Women’s Volleyball team trades places with BYU in the latest poll released today. Pitt jumps to #7 and BYU falls to #10. From the ACC Louisville drops to #4, Georgia Tech is #5, and Miami is just outside the top 25 with receiving votes at “26”. San Diego, the team that defeated Pitt in their first match of the season continues to move up the poll and now sits at #12.


  25. The 2-deep for the TN games was revealed this past hour:

    As reported on “The staff didn’t make any changes to the defensive two-deep, despite some inconsistencies that showed up with what actually happened on the field.

    Brandon George, for instance, was listed as the backup middle linebacker last week but did not suit up after being limited in the latter weeks of training camp due to injury. George’s status for this week’s game is unknown, but he continues to be listed as the No. 2 middle linebacker.

    At the outside linebacker positions, Solomon DeShields is listed as the backup Star behind Bangally Kamara and Tylar Wiltz is listed behind Shayne Simon at Money. But in Thursday’s game, DeShields replaced Simon for a snap and Wiltz subbed in for Kamara for his two plays on defense.

    The coaches also kept A.J. Woods listed as a starting cornerback, despite Woods not appearing in the Backyard Brawl after the first two drives of the second quarter.”

    Comment: the LB play was so bad, yet the starters basically played the whole game. The back-ups played a total of 3 snaps – DeShields with 1 snap and Wiltz with 2.

    Folks, this LB situation is far worse than we could have ever thought.


  26. I think we are really missing the LB who left for Washington….can’t remember his name right now. He was really good last year and was poised for a great season this year.


  27. EE, speaking of depth charts, the newly released Steeler depth chart has Trubisky as 1 and Rudolph as 2.

    Also, the reporters were grilling Texas HC Sarkesian about his 2-deep, and he responded to the effect that ‘you guys are putting too much into it. And don’t be surprised if you don’t see any more depth charts this year’

    Lastly, unless he has changed his ways the last year or so, Jim Harbaugh has never submitted a depth chart since he has been at Michigan

    Sent from my iPhone



  28. And of course as soon as I wrote the above, I just read a story on WolverineWire dated 8/27, that goes. “In a shocking turn of events, Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has just revealed his entire depth chart while speaking with Jon Jansen on Saturday”

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  29. Great to have you back at the keyboard, Reed. 👍👍

    I think the WVU coaches did a great job, especially with their defense. I’ve been skeptical of Pitt’s Oline for a long time. While I didn’t expect them to get way better, I also didn’t expect them to get way worse.

    They were a complete mess in this game – starting with the false start on the very first play from scrimmage. I’m assuming WVU used some things Pitt hadn’t prepared for – which can happen in an opener. I say this because our blockers were consistently out numbered. If your blocking is poor to mediocre and you are out numbered – you have no chance in the running game.

    WVU’s DLine made our guys look slow. I do think they will play with more urgency this week – and hopefully the play calls take advantage of some mis-direction to keep us from being so out numbered…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. To echo MajorMajors … I tend to disagree with you but glad (and appreciative) to have you writing again, Reed.


  31. Heupel seems like a pretty legit coach. That was good preview discussion by him. No blackboard material. No chest puffing or complaining about previous seasons.


  32. Great to see you writing again Reed!

    I generally agree that It’s tough not to be disappointed in the line play on both sides of the ball. To get run all over like that was kind of shocking. The offensive line, while all back, was never great at run blocking or pass blocking (for that matter) to begin with. KP hid a lot of their blemishes with his mobility.

    Slovis looked rusty but he has a big time arm. He did hold the ball too long though. I compare him favorably to Tom Savage. Hopefully Cignetti can play more to his strengths and when Slovis has time, the receivers catch the ball. I think they may have to pass to set up the run in this next game

    I believe that the game was only close because of stupid penalties and that blocked punt. The blocked punt cannot be overstated in the context of the game. The game is tied coming out of half time and that block punt happens. That play is a KILLER. Pitt teams folded like a cheap suit after plays like that in the past. That really showed me something.

    One more thing, this upcoming game is a clear example of the critical importance of schedule making. Programs with a history of success have it down. I think Lyke did this team no favors with this kind of scheduling. Pitt should be playing Rhode Island this week. NOT TENNESSEE.

    A let down against Rhode Island, you can overcome and still win by double digits. A let down against Tennessee and you get boat raced.

    If they somehow win this next game against Tennessee, that will really be a statement. I wish I was as optimistic as Dan.


  33. A positive among some of the gloom on here – our DBs showed nice speed against the Eers. Couple times they had a guy break through into open field, but our DBs quickly ran them down. (The Eers DBs, on the other hand, may be a problem in that league. )

    Also, while we didn’t rack up the sacks, we did pressure the Eer’s QB. We may not have wanted to blitz the outside LBs very much yet – which I expect to pick up as the season moves on.

    Go Pitt.


  34. Good: we won. We won against the gates hoopies.

    Bad: punting. WR play in general including route running. EXCEPT for Jared Wayne and Mumfield. Both lines, especially the O line. Slovis. Yes he had a a great QB rating but he took sacks when he could have thrown it away, over threw some routes, etc. yes, he settled down in the 4th…No TE play. One throw to Bart? Come on. I window if we will see more this Saturday.
    Ugly: WV fans with the low class reactions and foul mouthed yelling. The Eat S@$t Pitt is beyond old and pathetic really.

    Beyond the brawl, will be interesting to see how we play UT.


    1. Hey, Quirk, I thought the Hoople behavior was better than expected. But the bar is set pretty low.

      Nobody spit on me. Nothing was thrown on the field. Those are major improvements over the last time the couchburners came to Heinz.


  35. Pitt brought around 12-15k fans to Knoxville. I expect the Vols to do better. And they will be loud like we were. Pitt fans are in for a treat with Rocky Top. It won’t leave your head for weeks, maybe months or years even.


  36. I feel that we had an average (at best) O-Line last year. The upperclassmen who came back are basically are who they are at this point of their careers. Even if they all improve a little, that gives us a slightly better than average O-Line this year.
    Duzz said today that WVU stacking the box was part of the problem with the poor results running the ball. Many of our runs came with either an extra OL or FB in the game, sometimes both, which allowed WVU to play that way. I hope we see more open formations going forward that will give the RB’s more room to run.


  37. I had an erilly similar experience to this Vols alum. I left Pitt and shuffled off to buffalo. When I came back, the name had changed, the colors had changed and the penn state chant was gone. We also moved off campus and began playing at a ketchup bottle. Talk about an episode from the twilight zone.


  38. Watching Clemson GT game, Tech is stronger than I expected but their coach is still a dope.

    They weren’t going to beat Clemson tonight anyway, but their coach will lose games for them this year.


  39. I just rewatched the game (my original view was from my seat on the 50 yard line). My top 10 observations/impressions:

    Slovis throws more accurately than Kenny. Obviously not as athletic and mobile. He held the ball too long at times, but according to his head coach, some of that was due to receivers not being where they were supposed to be.
    John Morgan was a BEAST.
    Bangally Kamara made some costly mistakes. But he also made a lot of tackles and is very quick and athletic. He will get better as he gains experience.
    The offensive line was terrible in pass blocking, but their run blocking was pretty solid.
    Despite not getting as many sacks as we would like, the defensive line was putting pressure on Daniels all night.
    We have receivers who can make plays. Bub Means included, despite his mistakes.
    Rodney Hammond runs HARD. We need him back asap.
    We need to use the tight ends more. Hopefully if Karter is healthy this week, we’ll see a few throws to he and Bart.
    Look around and see how rusty some teams looked in the first half of their first game against decent opposition (Ohio State, Clemson, NC State, and LSU come to mind). We played a good game with some first game jitters and mistakes. Against a good QB with a solid line, receivers and runners. We will be fine and will get better.
    The defensive line and linebackers were not good against the run. This needs to get fixed quickly. I expect that it will be.

    Bring on the Vols. H2P!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. You made so many observations here that it almost (but doesn’t) sadden me that I cannot disagree with ANY of them. Great analysis, IMO.


  40. I prefer the Ric Flair wooo!
    It has an extra o to boot…
    Lone Star, you coming to this game?
    Can’t recall which game you are attending.


  41. My Labor Day resolution (Like New Years but with ribs and beer) is to limit my knee-jerk reactions to Pitt football. And it’s much harder than , oh, let’s say trying to go to the gym daily and lose weight. I believe:
    1) There was nothing I saw to change my mind on Cignetti. I’m just not sure he knows how to adjust or bring a exciting, dynamic offense to the table.
    2) I think the Hoopies played one heck of a game. Are they good, or did they do what underdogs do in a big rivalry game? To be determined. Not willing to go either way yet.
    3) We have met the enemy and they are us. Yup, amazing they have any toes left from shooting them selves in the foot so many times.
    4) As far as the offensive line, well, my golf game returns every year, doesn’t mean it’s any good. Without changes or adjustments I’ll have the same results, which isn’t good.
    5) The Hillbilly 3 word chant, Rocky Top, who cares. My ears are still ringing from the PA system.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. GaTech played well and at the very least competitively last night against Clemson

    Point is Clemson looked physically superior all over the field and especially on the O and D line but Tech fought and gave themselves chances, and even though the game didn’t end up close a couple of breaks for Tech could’ve made it very possibly

    Tennessee might be better than WVU and probably in many player positions, but not sure by much

    The Duzz needs to fix the D line v the run and somebody needs to get more out of the O line and the rest of the Pitt playmakers will have their opportunities to win the game

    Hooker will be the key for them and if he can’t be disrupted enough or just has an amazing game, it will be a tough day

    I’m counting on Narduzzi having them ready to win another exciting one at home and would take the points

    Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow 😦 🙂 😦 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Sorry, this is repost that I think got lost:
    Oh, I almost forgot, let’s see what our huge win over a bitter rival in a big game that should be played every year from here to eternity will do for us in the polls. You know, public perception and all. We should get credit for playing and winning this type of game and move up over all those teams that played cupcakes, right?
    I will post again after polls come out.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Still concerned about Cignetti. Even Josh Heupel said Cignetti doesn’t spread the offense out like Whipple did. Which means teams can pack the box to stuff the run as WVU did. Even the NFL plays four wide outs often.
    I said Pitt would need 35 to win last week. The D got them past that mark. They will need over 35 this week. Open it up Frank!

    Liked by 2 people

  45. notrocketscience … True but just look at all the YAC that those guys racked up. That’s not spreading the offense out but it is getting your playmakers the ball in space.

    Funny tweet … but, TN is bring 20K fans …


    1. I’m not saying the offense was bad. It did create some big plays. My comment was biased, I love passing offenses. I had hoped Pitt would have hired Robert Anae from Virginia.
      By the way, I just remembered one of Hammonds scores was a third and goal from the four yard line. I was thinking at the time, please don’t run the ball, LOL. Luckily it worked or everyone would be blasting the call.


      1. I’m biased too. I was not or am a real big fan of Cignetti but he did do a good job of getting guys the ball with the ability to make plays afterwards. Whipple was chunk yardage or a big play but you didn’t see a lot of balls where the playmakers could actually make plays.

        I’m probably overcompensating a bit. There were definitely struggles with the offense. But, it wasn’t a bad game. Fewer possessions because of the ball control aspect to the offense but the points per drive were pretty similar to last year.

        And, Slovis quietly put up some big stats. His QBR was only 70 … which is good not great … and that factors in sacks. His QB rating was 188 which does not factor in sacks so it’s probably a bit inflated.

        Liked by 1 person

  46. Tossing – you said this in an earlier comment about stats:

    “That’s a stat that has lost relevance over the years. Just like ToP. Just like baseball average means nothing anymore. NextGen stats are what you have to look at. Explosive plays. Points per drive. Pace. Etc. These historical stats have lost relevance.”

    Since us older fans still look at the basic stats why don’t you write an article for us explaining what NextGen stats are and which and why they are important in assessing a team’s quality of play?

    Just draft something up and send it to me at: and I’ll proof & post it.

    Seriously – it would be a great subject to discuss and learn from…


    Liked by 1 person

  47. Foe what its worth I think Pitt will need 50 plus points to win this week. I’d be very surprised if our run defense is much better than what they showed last week against WVU.


  48. I did notice most WVU fans were in the upper deck with the sun in their faces, LOL. Well played Pitt.


  49. Tennessee fans aren’t buying tickets through Pitt. Just like I would never use that poor service Pitt office and didn’t when I got my tickets for the Vols last season.

    You’ll be surprised by the amount of orange come Saturday. Very drivable distance from Knoxville and many of their fans live in the east and Midwest. There are more people within a ten mile square radius of me than all of eastern Tennessee. Knoxville was charming but felt like a bigger IUP.

    Pitt will still outnumber them 2-1 though. But you’ll be impressed with how nice those fans are. Treat them well and return the hospitality they showed us.


  50. In the old days had we been playing in State College or Morgantown, this would have been a catch for a touchdown.


  51. Watched the replay in full and have a few thoughts.

    OL play was as bad the second time as what I saw at the game.
    Hammond has tremendous balance to allow him to keep his feet churning after the 1st hit.
    Slovis has some athleticism just not as much as KP8, but arm strength and accuracy equal
    Pitt DL needs to step up, turn the QB hurries into sacks. Morgan set the example
    I’m so frustrated with Pitt’s DBs refusing to look for the ball, is it how they’re coached
    Kamara looked lost on many plays, but hit with authority when he was in position
    Simon is much better in pass defense than against the run
    Thank goodness N Brown made the bad decision on 4th and 1
    MJ may be the speediest DB in Pitt history, with the TD pick 6
    Pitt WRs made great and awful plays, on 1 route they ran into each other
    JWayne may be one of the best possesion WRs in the country, Mumpfield=great add
    If Cig doesn’t figure out how to get Bart into the passing game he should be fired

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Duzz addressed Bart and it was workload because of injury on the depth chart. One thing to keep in mind Bart didn’t really run routes last year … almost all his plays were that H-Back type screens. I read his average route was 2-3 yards. We don’t know how good of a route runner he is.


  52. Saying Slovis is like Chad Voytik without the legs is one of the worst of many QB pronouncements Reed has made.


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