Know The Enemy – Penn State

Byline: Chris Logue and it is a good one…

It’s go time for another week, another opponent and worst of all, a whole new slew of athletic receivers, running backs, most of which I am sure can run the wheel-route, and a quarterback that can beat you in a myriad of ways. This could just as easily be time-stamped in 2016 heading into Death Valley and Clemson, but this year’s edition of that is in Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions.

While I would love to be the sole interpreter of Penn State this week, I also felt that it would be doing our readers an injustice. This edition of “Know Your Enemy” comes with a guest, Centre Daily Times Penn State beat writer, John McGonigal. John pulls no punches and lets it all fly which is why he fits the bill to be our guest this week.

John provided incredible feedback and you’ll notice it throughout our inside look at what our Panthers face this week in Centre County.

Last week, Penn State drubbed Akron 52-0 and did it in a multitude of ways. Whether it was breaking a long, very strong, streak of not having a return for a touchdown, intercepting Akron quarterback, Thomas Woodson or if it was quarterback Trace McSorley and his trusted back, Saquon Barkley, Penn State looked good. Very, very good at that. It’s no mystery that McSorley and Barkley will be the key drivers for PSU on offense, it goes back to the basics, deep in the trenches who kick-starts this offense.

“Outside of Barkley and McSorley, I think an underrated guy on this offense is center Connor McGovern. I could’ve gone with flashier picks like breakout wide receiver Juwan Johnson or tight end Mike Gesicki — who I think will lead the Nittany Lions in all receiving categories this year — but McGovern is a guy who guides the offense,” says McGonigal.

Like Pitt who has shifted and mixed the offensive line over the past two seasons, McGovern is amid transition himself, “The Penn State staff moved him to center in the offseason after the departure of senior Brian Gaia — the Nittany Lions’ lone loss from the o-line — and McGovern has lived up to all expectations so far, being more vocal and impressing against Akron.”

Reed and I exchanged emails and we both had the same feel that a lot of what Penn State wants to do and should succeed in doing is planting roots in the trenches and making it their own, and it seems as though McGovern is sturdy in that task where “[McGovern] had a lot to do with that, and the lineman will play a key role in the Pitt game.”

How big of a task do the Panthers have this week on the defense? Look for yourself at PSU’s last game’s offensive stats:

PSU Game 1

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POV Roundtable Call-In; PSU Game

POV Roundtable Call-In; PSU Game

Big week and a big game coming up for the Panthers in Quaalude Valley.  Lets take some time this evening and discuss it live with some other POV’ers.  As a reminder we slid the start time back to 9:00pm to accommodate those who have kids, etc…

We have a ton of things to discuss and the most notable issue is obviously the YSU (debacle) game.  Reading our previous comments on here I see a whole range of attitudes about our showing last Saturday and what we feel might happen this Saturday.  Oh, BTW, who won the closest score for YSU?

Right – me! 28-21 Pitt, although I did think it would be four TDs in regulation play.  And I’ll tell you why.  Because all those positions with “?” question marks beside them in our previous article on here pretty much turned out to be valid.  But this is what to expect with this young and/or inexperienced lineup.

Well, they are a week older and a week more experienced now aren’t they?  But will that make a difference against the more talented PSU squad?

We’ll do our formal predictions thread on Friday again so put your thinking caps on.  The Oddssharks.com site has PSU at just around a 20 point favorite, however, I just heard on the radio some other bookmakers had PSU at (-) 23.  Sorry to say that to this Pitt fan that sounds not all that far-fetched.

POV Roundtable Call-in
09:00 pm10:00 pm – Note new time
 
Meeting ID
303520973
 
Moderator Passcode
2615
 
By Phone:
408.740.7256  then 303520973#  (don’t forget the # sign)

Chris Peak of Rivals just posted up a great graphic showing a breakdown of the Pitt passing game against YSU.  Some real interesting info – and some we already knew (best info source on Pitt football).

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What Really Matters to Pitt in 2017

What Really Matters to Pitt in 2017

A voice from the past, Kevin Gorman of the Tribune Review, used to be the Pitt football beat writer and a reporter who I always made sure to read every word he put out because I thought he was that good and very detailed.

He’s back with a piece looking at our 2017 season’s ultimate goal.

In this Trib article Gorman makes a point that The POV has been singing all along since Pat Narduzzi became the head coach of Pitt, and that was the main goal of any season is to win the ACC Coastal and then the ACC Championship. That is the only way we have a chance to be in the football playoffs at the end of the season. Anything else is nice but an unfulfilled season.

I love that 2016 Penn State win I love our Clemson upset also, but the bald fact is that if we don’t get it done in the ACC matches we’re not fulfilling the mandate that Pat Narduzzi has been given as a head coach at Pitt…play championship football.

The question going into Year Three of Narduzzi’s tenure is if he can pull that off. To which I say “sure he can” – if he’s what we think he is as a head coach.

There is a big disconnect from how the Pitt fans view the football program and how the coaches, staff and players view the football program. We fans love those emotional wins, and those two great OOC wins last year were certainly emotional and  were great to watch.  But, and there is always a “but” involved when comes to Pitt football, in the long run they didn’t really advance the program as much as a championship would.  Any type of championship.

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Happy 4th of July! Hail to Pitt!

Happy 4th of July!  Hail to Pitt!

A day for celebration and remembrance of what hard work and sacrifices both our  Citizens and Citizen-Soldiers have made to make and keep the United States of America a free and vibrant democracy.  I appreciate what has taken place before us and before today and with my circle of  family, friends and acquaintances  – including each and every one of you readers – I know we’ll keep the USA on an even keel for centuries to come.

So… If we are remembering stuff,  then take a break from the scrambled eggs, grilled bratwurst and mashed potatoes I know every red-blooded American is eating for their 4th of July meal  (at least that’s what we did at our German Grandma’s house when I was a kid) and take a minute to review some of the past and glorious Big Game victories Pitt has had in the last 19 years…

Let’s time travel back to Walt Harris’s tenure at Pitt and see what he, and our following HCs, have done when faced with Big Games on a national stage.  Here are the matches as determined by me to have the label “Big Games ” which were mostly when our opponents had Top 25 rankings either on the day of the game or at the end of the season (as in lats year’s PSU win).

For a holiday treat and because you are great Pitt fans I linked a ton of info in the chart below.  The actual scores of the games are linked to the box score and the “Opponent’s Gameday Rank” column has either articles about the game or some videos I thought were fun to watch…  Grab a beer and Enjoy!!

Year Head Coach Opp. Gameday Rank Final Score Opp. Final Ranking Record vs Ranked teams
1997 Walt Harris #22 Miami 21-17 NR
WH #19   VT 30-23 NR 2-3
2001 WH #12   VT 38-7 #18 1-1
2002 WH #3     VT 28-21 #18 1-3
2003 WH #5     VT 31-28 NR 1-1
2004 WH #24 ND 41-38 #17
WH #21 WVU 16-13 NR 2-0
2007 Dave Wannstedt #23 Cincy 24-17 #17
DW #2 WVU * 13-9 #6 2-0
2008 DW #10 USF 26-21 NR 1-2
2011 Graham #16 USF 44-17 NR 1-1
2012 Paul Chryst #13 VT 35-17 NR
PC #21 RU 27-6 NR 2-2
2013 PC #24 ND 28-21 #21 1-1
2016 Pat Narduzzi NR PSU * 42-39 #7
PN #3 Clemson * 43-42 #1 1-1

I’ll pick my three favorites (highlighted in bold) and then you all can chip in with yours in the comments section. 

Continue reading “Happy 4th of July! Hail to Pitt!”