(Here is a great photo of the POVers at the POV tailgate. Thanks for the food, drink and great conversations everyone – I’m the tall guy in the back and only one not looking directly at the camera!)
Saturday’s game was a hard fought win for us with a 19-9 victory and a completely defensive game really. Neither team shone offensively at all and it showed on the scoreboard and in the respective team stats. Any time a college FBS Power Five team holds another team of the same level to only three field goals for 60 minutes is something to acknowledge and be proud of. Do we have the ability to do that with future opponents with their regular QBs under center? I do wonder.
From now on whenever I predict anything on the POV please pay no attention – I am not very good at it. Of course when I missed the fact that an opponent’s QB was not being able to play helped screw up my 27-10 Syracuse (SYR) win prediction. That the very good Syracuse starting QB Garrett Schrader had to sit out the game really twisted things over to Pitt’s favor. Although, our line play on both sides of the ball was pretty damn good so we certainly may have pulled out a win even had Schrader played. But going from a QB (21st ranked nationally) who rated out at 157.6 over the first eight games to a kid, FR Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, who never started a college game before was a tough thing for SYR to overcome.
Our own QB, Kedon Slovis, had another uneventful game of course. His 16 completions of 23 passes for 176 yards and no TDs but one INT was not surprising to anyone not in the ‘Slovis was great at USC’ camp.
This is becoming par for the course as he can’t seem to be able to generate consistent movement of the ball downfield and points scored in an recurring basis. This game he was just as he has been for the last three games where he hasn’t had a TD thrown but completed four INTs to the opposition. Get that Slovis apologists – not one TD pass in four games including Saturday. Which accounts for him being ranked 96th out of the top 116 FBS QBs.
On the ground we did OK as the OL was at its most consistent all year. We had 161 yards rushing which looks great until you see that we ran the ball 48(!) times for a measly 3.8 yards per carry effort. My thoughts are that SYR had, and still has, a pretty poor defense and the fact that we scored only 17 offense points against them is not a happy-making thing.
At some point one has to look at how many games are played when we look at statistics and think “Hmmm, Slovis’ play doesn’t bode well for our future games.” At this point in the season with nine games under our belt we already know that our offense is stumbling against decent teams.
In the last five FBS games we have played we have averaged only 23.8 ppg so it isn’t surprising that we are 2-3 in that stretch. Even worse is that we scored only 18.3 ppg in those three losses.
Whether our better half defense can overcome that and bring us more wins is the real question. The three remaining ACC opponents, Virginia, Duke and Miami are not real strong teams, well, perhaps Duke is doing pretty decently, and maybe that means we could sweep the remainder of the season.
I very much doubt it though even though none of their defenses are as good as what SYR had going in to this last game. Virginia and Miami are ranked 37th and 39th respectively in overall defense. As to Points Allowed Virginia holds opponents to 22.6 ppg; Duke 23.1; Miami 25.0 and Pitt 25.8. Which means little when a TD is a six point play.
Again, it pretty much boils down to whether our offense can produce points in the numbers that are more that the guys across the field. With Slovis and OC Cignetti that is not a sure bet.
Next up is a Pitt-Virginia game down in Charlottesville, VA which is one of the nicest towns in the east. That will be a fun game to watch I hope. This last one was pretty boring actually so maybe Slovis breaks out of his Who Me? mode of play and makes some points show up on the scoreboard. Because of his mediocre at best play (and it was yet again Pitt fans) I’ll not turn the previous photo right side up until he drags his season QB rating up to at least a still crappy 130. As it is now he stands at a paltry 124.4 which truly sucks and to put that into a Pitt perspective he sits right above Larry Wanke’s 122.8.