Pitt beat Virginia on Saturday, 31-14. It was a big win for the Panthers as they head into a bye week and then face two of the best teams in the ACC.
The linebackers showed up this week. They were completely nonexistent the entire season. I don’t know if that was the coaching or just being in the wrong positions, but this week they figured it out.
Elijah Zeise had a terrific game. He had eight tackles and he was getting to the quarterback and the ball carrier. Saleem Brightwell showed fans that he still has the talent to do well in the ACC.
Saleem had a good year last year and is well known for picking off Deshaun Watson on the goal line last year and almost taking it to the house. In reality, Brightwell could not have a tackle for the rest of his career and I’m still going to love him after that play.
He had 10 tackles and an interception, and was making his presence felt on the line of scrimmage.
Rashad Weaver had a fourth down tackle in the first half that was worth noting. He showed great penetration and got to the ball carrier. He and Shane Roy also had back to back sacks later in the game that made fans smile. Two claps for the defensive line, great game.
The Panthers came up with a huge goal line stand at the towards the end of the game. Chase Pine got in the backfield for a big third down stop. A drop in the end zone helped Pitt, but you’ll take things like that.
Damarri Mathis had a nice pass break up in the end zone as well. In my opinion, it should have been offensive pass interference. Looked like the receiver hooked his arm which prevented an interception.
Dane Jackson continues to impress. I’m going to say it again, he is going to be a stud. I’ve never been more excited for a Pitt cornerback since, K’Waun Williams? Wasn’t that big on him but he made it to the league. I’m legitimately excited to see what Jackson does in the future.
Here’s something fun. Quadree Henderson. What a return. Didn’t that remind you of Darrelle Revis’ punt return against WVU when he got a ginormous block from Derek Kinder? I mean it wasn’t nearly as good as Revis’ but it reminded me of it. Revis’ return will be the best I will probably ever see in my life.
Henderson just lights a huge spark for the team when he gets into space. I know it is cliché to say, but it’s true. Did you see the sideline when they knew he was taking it the whole way? They were pumped! You didn’t see that in the beginning of the year.
Darrin Hall had 111 yards on 25 carries. Back to back games of over 100 yards. How good is he? Very good. You can tell his confidence is rising and he’s just beginning to show what he is capable of. I really thought Moss was going to be the guy this year, but Hall is proving he is by far the most talented running back they have. Great game for him and the offensive line. Big holes again this week.
Ben DiNucci looked patient this week. He was letting things unfold in the pocket and didn’t panic. He throws a good ball. A slightly odd release, but he can get the ball to where it needs to be. He took an absolute shot to the head that almost resulted in an ejection. He saw the hit coming and stayed right in the throw to make a pass to Jester Weah, who should have caught it.
DiNucci on that play alone proved he wants to be #1. That’s a play that also ignites the team and makes you say, “alright, if he’s going to take that hit, I’m going to make a play for my quarterback.”
Ben did make a mistake throwing that interception. You cannot float that ball like he did. He threw it in an absolute perfect position, just had too much air under it. If you are going to attempt that pass, you need to put a little more steam on the ball.
He’ll learn from that.
DiNucci also made better throws off of those bootlegs and when he was being flushed from the pocket. I thought he looked 10x better than last week.
Pitt is now 2-0 when playing one quarterback. Why fix something when it isn’t broke?
This bye week is much needed. Pitt will need to be firing on all cylinders to take down VT and Miami. Even North Carolina. They lost about everyone but gave Miami a run for their money last week.
News from around College Football:
Penn State loses. What. A. Game. Wow. PSU lost at the wrong time. If they lost to Iowa and beat Ohio State, I guarantee they are in the playoff talk again. I know they still are, but I could see them being #4 if that scenario played out. I still think they are a top 4 team and deserve to be in the playoff.
Did you see the tweet from Nard Dog after their loss? He said “Hail to Pitt” literally right when they lost. Coincidence? No. Not from him.
Hail to Pitt