Pitt Loses a Close One to Syracuse

Posted on Oct 12 2017 - 9:43am by Jordan Kiebler
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I didn’t get a chance to watch the Pitt game live, but just like any other Pitt fan, I taped it.

I was getting live updates during the game, and reading tweets, and by the looks of it, it seemed like Pitt was playing awful. Shawn Watson was doing a terrible job and there was no structure to our offense.

After watching this game, it dawned on me. This was by far the best Pitt has looked all year.

What was I missing?

Besides the fact that Pitt couldn’t get a first down (all with quarterback Max Browne at the helm) they had some nice plays and looked solid on defense.

What did they do wrong?

Win. They didn’t win.

And if you don’t win in Pittsburgh, you are automatically terrible.

Yes, I have fallen into this category at times.

Some of my notes

Can Pitt fans take a minute and realize how much James Conner meant to this team last year? Can you take a minute to think how this team would be different if they had a proven leader?

They don’t.

I do not see one leader on this team. Someone has to emerge, soon.

Alex Kessman, have yourself a day. Who would have ever thought Pitt fans would miss a guy named Blewitt? Having Alex Kessman converting on 50+ yards makes it easier.

You can’t take for granted a solid kicker in college football.

Avonte Maddox was dealing with a much bigger wide receiver all day. And Syracuse challenged him. For the most part, Maddox stuck with Steve Ishmael.

Did Ishmael make plays? Of course. He is a top receiver in the ACC.

I was proud of Maddox on Saturday. He’s taken some heat during his time in the blue and gold. At the end of the day, a bigger, better receiver is going to make plays against a shorter cornerback. That’s what happened Saturday.

The defensive line was getting pressure all day. They were getting to the quarterback and making him move out of the pocket. Best game of the year so far for the defensive line.

I love watching Jordan Whitehead play. Is it safe to say that he’s the best play-maker we have since LeSean McCoy?

Maybe that’s a stretch.

Idon’t want to compare him to Darrelle Revis, because Revis was a much better defensive player. I know Whitehead has the talent to be in that conversation though.

Watching him hit those holes when he gets the ball on offense is a thing of beauty. You can almost feel a big play about to happen when he touches the ball.

Whitehead made a terrific play late in the second quarter in the end zone to prevent a touchdown. That’s what he can do when he’s in pass-defense. That might be the first time I legitimately saw him defending a pass before the ball was to the receiver. Just goes to show you why he’s so versatile.

I still love Dane Jackson. He’s going to be so good for Pitt in the coming years.

Why? He turns and looks for the ball.

No one ever did that before. He wants to make a play. If he gets a little better on the tackling aspect and learns the defense a little more, he is going to fit in just fine in the secondary. The sky is the limit for Jackson.

What’s the story with the linebackers?

On the blitz I like their pressure, but what about the pass defense? If the running back are running wheel routes, that leaves the middle of the defense wide open.

I wasn’t at the game, but just from watching it on TV, I could tell that seven yards past the line is just completely wide open. Little dump passes and delayed routes from the running back are almost “gimmies.”

I’m having a tough time trying to figure out what their role is on the field. If it’s to get pressure, they are doing well. But there’s more than that aspect to the game.

The roughing the passer call midway through the third quarter looked like that was the turning point in the game. The panthers had a solid defensive series going with pressure on the quarterback and a sack by Elias Reynolds.

Then a stupid personal foul call to just absolutely kill the momentum. Take away that play and Pitt wins the game.

Syracuse’s touchdown pass to Steve Ishmael, with a backup cornerback in, was poor coaching in my eyes. Avonte Maddox was out for an injury at the time, so Phillipie Motely had to come in.

What did Eric Dungey do?

Went right after him, as he should.

So my question is, why isn’t that play double teamed? Unless it was, and he he was too late coming over. But, come on Pat. You’re better than that.

Pitt’s defensive players get to the ball. They are putting their bodies on the ball carriers. But they can’t convert on the tackles. It seems like 75 percent of the plays, Pitt will meet a guy for a short gain and then they get an extra 4-5 yards after contact. It’s been the story all year. If you make those tackles, you will win games.

Wrap up and drive your man to the ground!

Okay here we go again

Max Browne played pretty well Saturday. That was the best I’ve seen so far out of him, which isn’t much.

He made some really, really good throws. But he also misses a wide open Quadree Henderson. Is that on Quadree for a poor route? It very well could be.

But the ball coming out of Browne’s hands looked terrible. If he makes that throw does Pitt win? You can’t play that game.

Browne also missed Matt Flannagan towards the sidelines on a throw. So, I keep hearing that Browne has this great accuracy and that’s why he’s starting. Is his accuracy better than DiNucci’s legs? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Max Browne converted on zero first downs during his time on Saturday.

Zero. Keep that in mind.

Qadree Ollison needs to move down the depth chart. He looks slow, almost a step behind. I absolutely despise when running backs start running in place before the ball is snapped.

I hate that. Why?

It just messes up your timing. You can very easily start right off the wrong foot. If you are in place you know what foot you are going to start with. Running in place throws that out the window.

Darrin Hall runs hard. He looks like the starter. He runs with a purpose and just looks faster than Ollison. And now with Chawntez Moss suspended, Hall has to be the guy.

Don’t get me started on AJ Davis. He should have been red-shirted a long with Todd Sibley.

If Sibley starts to see time, I’m going to have a hard time putting faith in Coach Narduzzi. He isn’t hesitating with Paris Ford. So why is Davis getting two snaps a game.

Ben DiNucci did some good things Saturday. Still love how he scrambles and avoids sacks and he made a couple throws that stuck out to me. One being the ball he threw to Aaron Mathews that was absolutely perfect but he ended up getting hit really hard to force an incomplete pass.

Absolutely beautiful throw.

I am more confident in Pitt against N.C. State than I am with Browne. Simple as that.

Watching a pocket passer is like watching a 40-year-old man play. It reminds me of watching Brett Favre or Eli Manning. It’s boring.

Unless you are Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, it’s simply boring.

Especially in college football. You need that extra dynamic if you are struggling offensively. That’s what DiNucci brings.

Kenny Pickett’s red shirt was burned Saturday. Which is great. Fantastic. Another year wasted.

Why wouldn’t you bring in MacVittie who apparently will never see the field as a quarterback? I don’t care if his helmet wasn’t near him, make that a point to tell him if something happens you are going in.

I’m not wasting a red-shirt, because Ben DiNucci doesn’t know how to strap on a helmet. Pickett has real talent. It’s like Pitt is saying, “Well now we might as well use him.”

He came to Oakland in January. Give the kid some time to get his feet wet. If he sees time during the end of the year and doesn’t do well, it’s going to kill his confidence.

Okay, I actually am a little excited for Saturday’s game. Ranked opponent coming into Heinz Field with Ben DiNucci starting under center. Could it be an upset in Pittsburgh?

Hail to Pitt.