Kancey ACC Defender of the Year

November 30, 2022​

Pitt’s Calijah Kancey Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year

PITTSBURGH—A highly decorated week for Pitt’s Calijah Kancey continued today with the announcement that the junior defensive tackle has been named the 2022 ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Kancey is the second Pitt player to win the ACC’s top defensive honor. Tackle Aaron Donald was the Panthers’ initial honoree in 2013.

Six total Panthers have won an ACC Player or Rookie of the Year award during Pitt’s 10 seasons in the conference. Last season, Pitt boasted the ACC’s overall and offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Kenny Pickett, now of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This is the latest recognition for Kancey, who earlier this week was named first team All-ACC for the second consecutive year. He additionally was selected a finalist for the prestigious Outland Trophy, presented to the nation’s best interior lineman.

Kancey is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top defensive player. Pro Football Focus named him a first team All-American.

The 6-foot, 280-pound Kancey (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern) has been one of college football’s most dominant players regardless of position this season. He compiled 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in 11 games played.

Kancey spearheads a Pitt defense that leads the country in sacks (3.75 avg.), ranks seventh nationally against the run (95.5 avg.) and ranks 19th in fewest total yards allowed (319.7 avg.).

Kancey is the first tackle to win ACC Defensive Player of the Year since Donald in 2013 and only the third all-time since the inaugural year of the award in 1993.

“I am extremely thankful and humbled to receive this incredible honor from the ACC,” Kancey said. “I share this award with all of my teammates and coaches. They make me better every day, on and off the field. I’m so proud to wear the Blue and Gold with them.”

“Calijah has been absolutely outstanding all season long and is highly deserving of this honor,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “As both a run stopper and rushing the passer, he has been tremendous. On behalf of our entire program, I want to congratulate Calijah on receiving this award. He has absolutely earned it.”  


ACC Player of the Year

2014, James Conner, RB

2021, Kenny Pickett, QB

ACC Offensive Player of the Year

2014, James Conner, RB

2021, Kenny Pickett, QB

ACC Defensive Player of the Year

2013, Aaron Donald, DT

2022, Calijah Kancey, DT

ACC Rookie of the Year

2015, Jordan Whitehead, S; Qadree Ollison, RB (co-winners)

ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year

2015, Qadree Ollison, RB

ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year

2015, Jordan Whitehead, S

ACC Brian Piccolo Award (Most Courageous Player)

2016, James Conner, RB

Pitt’s Women Volleyball; 2022 NCAA Playoffs

Here is another very in-depth article by John Demko (John in South Carolina) about our Women’s Volleyball Team who are heading into the post-season NCAA tournament as the 6th seed!!

Pitt’s ACC co-champion women’s volleyball team continue their season this weekend as they play in their seventh consecutive NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.  They were named the 2nd seed in the Wisconsin led bracket.  Overall, they were the 6th highest seeded team in the tournament.

This is Pitt’s highest seeding in the NCAA tournament.  It is their 18th overall trip to the tournament.  Under Coach Fisher Pitt has won eleven NCAA tournament matches.  Prior to “Fish” Pitt had a total of two wins.  Last year Pitt made it to the Final Four for the first time.  In 2020 Pitt made it to their first Elite Eight.

Pitt will host the first and second rounds of the tournament.  Pitt’s first match will be against the Colgate Raiders on Friday, December 2nd, at 7 PM in the Petersen Events Center.  The winner of this match will face the winner of the preceding match between #7 seed BYU and James Madison.  The second-round match will start at 7 PM on Saturday, December 3rd, in the Petersen Events Center.

The ACC placed five teams in the tournament.  Louisville, Pitt’s ACC co-champion, is one of the #1 seeds.  Georgia Tech is a #5 seed.  Florida State and Miami are #7 seeds.

Pitt’s first opponent in the tournament, Colgate, is the champion of the Patriot League which includes Army and Navy.  Pitt and Coach Fisher are 1-0 versus the Raiders with a sweep on 9/5/2015.  Colgate and Pitt have played one common opponent, NC State.  Colgate got swept by NC State at NC State.  Pitt defeated NC State at the Fitz in four sets.  Colgate other losses were to Villanova, Southern Cal, Navy, and Army.

Colgate is surprisingly tall for a lower conference champion.  They play a 6-2 offense like Pitt’s offensive scheme.  Another similarity is that one of their setters is a six-rotation player and is an important part of Colgate’s front-line offense.

In a comparison of team offensive statistics Colgate hits at 0.260 versus their opponents 0.188.  Pitt’s numbers are 0.268 versus 0.151.  Colgate does not have a good service ace to error ratio with 153 aces versus 242 errors.  Pitt’s numbers are 152 aces versus 158 errors.  Pitt has an advantage in all offensive categories.

In team defense Colgate has 14.28 digs/set along with 1.98 blocks/set.  Pitt has 13.1 digs/set to go with 2.6 blocks/set.  Colgate has more digs per set than Pitt, but Pitt is the better blocking team.  Pitt had more sweeps than Colgate with more lopsided scores.  This could easily account for the difference in digs per set.

Continue reading “Pitt’s Women Volleyball; 2022 NCAA Playoffs”

MMQB: Miami Win

What a final third to a college football season! After two losses against Louisville and then #21 North Carolina by a combined score of 62-34 not too many Pitt fans thought we’d go on a tear and sweep the last four games. That ending put us at a firm 8-4 (again) and sets us up with a better bowl and opponent in the post-season hopefully. That happened with a 42-16 win over Miami.

22 Sked

Those four wins were done, mostly, on the strength of our defense who really tightened their belts. Then in this last game QB Kedon Slovis broke out of a season-long slump to throw for 256 yards and 3 TDs with 1 INT for a high QB rating of 169.3

Isn’t it interesting that his first game against WVU in the opener and his last game against Miami he had great QB ratings (188.2 & 169.3 respectively) but was pretty horrid in-between. Honestly, I’m not sold on him for next season but that’s pretty far away.

I wrote in the predictions thread that this game was going to be all about turnovers and whomever had the most would win. We went out and did that – converting a first Miami drive INT into seven points. Had another INT on the second UM drive but that didn’t pan out as points for us.

Those types of failed opening drives tend to wear away a team’s confidence and I think that happened Saturday as UM couldn’t really do much of anything after that. They were pretty beaten down as at one point we held a 35-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

You can tell a lot about how a team’s offense did by looking at what their drive-extending 3rd down conversation rate was. In Miami’s case it stunk at 3 for 12 (25%). If a team doesn’t get that rate up to 50% or above they most probably won’t be scoring many points.

Our RB, Israel Abanikanda was spot-on again rushing for 111 yards and two TDs for a 7.4 ypc average. Pretty much in line with his sterling season’s totals of 1431 yards with 20 TDs and a 6.0 ypc average. That friends is a damn solid season of play. Anytime a RB can average 6.0 ypc on a starting back’s number of carries he’s done a fine job.

Here is how he stacks up with our other very good Panther RBs:

Since Abanikanda is but a Junior this season we might see him in a Pitt uniform again next season…but let’s be honest here in that great Pitt RBs in this ‘modern’ age tend to leave Pitt as quickly as they can (save Conner with extenuating circumstances). So a fourth season from him might not happen.

Here are the final ACC standings and below that is a prediction of where Pitt will play in our bowl game:

At this time some pundits have us playing Cincinnati in the Military Bowl down here in Annapolis, MD. I say Hell Yes!! as the stadium is perfect, the city is perfect and the bars are perfect. What more could you want? Interesting that Wisconsin just named Luke Fickell, Cincy’s current HC, to take the place of Paul Chryst who was just canned by the Badgers. Maybe he sticks around Cincy for that last match but I doubt it – he’ll probably be gone thus raising the opportunity for Pat Narduzzi to better his current 1-4 record in post-season games by playing an interim HC.

I do hope this happens as some of the POVers who were in Annapolis for the 2015 bowl game can tell you it is a great experience especially if you can get some free time to tour The Naval Academy (please do- it is America at its finest) and only a four hour drive from Pittsburgh!! 

Screenshot 2022-11-28 095121

I mean the overall experience was great. What wasn’t so good was the 417 yards Navy gained rushing to beat our asses 44-28. That was not all that lovely to watch but still – that whole experience was fun all around.