MMQB – Pitt Win Over WMU

Well, 2-1, with a 34-13 win over Western Michigan University, isn’t a bad start to the season, is it? Most probably it will be 3-1 after this Saturday’s game against Rhode Island (RI) and that game is the start of a three home field run that we have ahead of us. BTW – I’ll be up for the RI game so that will be fun.

As I stated on the last comment thread I watched the first half, with some trepidation because our offense pretty much sucked for those two quarters, then I fell asleep for the entire second half. That is what happens when you are relegated to the bedroom to for game viewing because the rest of the family is watching movies.

I said trepidation above because when our opening drive took 11 plays with, two penalties awarded, only to go 48 yards and settle for a FG… that was worrisome. The fact that our PK Sauls hit the 48 yarder was nice though and as he ended up 2/3 it looks like he might be getting back on track.

But as far as offense went the fact was that WMU had two FGs and we had two FGs after 30 minutes of play and that was a problem at the time. Rectified in the second half but that Pick 6 by DB Marquis Williams was needed more than we thought – again, in the first half of play.

I watched the second half this morning…or should say I quickly clipped through the plays on YouTube so I do have a sense of how well we played to win the game. Obviously our defense rose to the occasion, especially with DB Eric Hallett’s two interceptions, to keep the Broncos from getting a tied or a lead during the game.

Although the trickeration on a double pass by WMU that resulted in seven points was fun to watch even though it did tighten up the score a bit. Here are the highlights of the game – the trick pass is at the 2:25 mark.

Third string QB Nate Yarnell had a decent first FBS game ever. I got the sense that he settled in and while his numbers weren’t real big because our OC Frank Cignetti, Jr didn’t want him to pass much, fear of INTs maybe, his yards per attempt was just fine at 14.4 (with a 19.8 yards per completion rate that is exceptional.)

I think a lot had to do with the fact that when he did drop back the WMU defense wasn’t really expecting it. Yarnell threw only six passes in the second half, to go with the six in the first half and that bolsters my point above. The stats show that out of 64 offensive plays we threw on 12 of them which was a 81% to 19% ratio.

But he was accurate and handle the leadership job well.

I know Pitt fans will point to this game and think he’s ready to start against ACC opponents if needed but I do wonder about that. WMU gave up some big passing numbers in their first two games, 524 yards and six TDs, so I’m tempering my hopes that he could get the job done against much stronger competition we’ll face in the ACC.

That may well be a moot point as Slovis looked like he will be ready for RI this weekend.

It was a good win, especially given the loss to the same team at Heinz Field last season and we’ll be 3-1 after Saturday. Now, does that mean we’ll be 6-1 after the next four games are played, as was the case last season, I don’t know. But so far I feel like this team isn’t as good as 2021’s but then again I didn’t watch any of the Pitt games last season until this August.

Good win, good bounce back from a close loss, and good way to get ready to go into the meat of ACC schedule. Our next three ACC opponents after the RI game are: Georgia Tech, 1-2 and outscored 100-45 so far, Virginia Tech, 2-1 with a win over Boston College and Louisville 1-2 after opening with three FBS teams in a row.

Which in Louisville’s case bolsters the argument that playing FBS opponents in the first few games is foolishness that so many Pitt fans believe. Not me though – I’m old school and feel that the quality of your wins mean as much as the number of them.

Back in the stone age when we won our last National Championship we played a tough schedule start to finish:

But what do I know? Right?