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September 25, 2012

Final Gardner-Webb Thoughts

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 11:48 am

Been trying to come up with thoughts that strike the right balance in Pitt’s blowout of Gardner-Webb. All the good in the game has to be tempered by the opponent. At the same time, it seems negative to denigrate the performance too much merely because the opponent was so bad.

Let me get the one negative out of the way. With the exception of that huge hole they opened up for Ray Graham on his 78 yard TD run, the O-line was a big disappointment in run-blocking. The pass protection was solid, but the run-blocking looked more like it did against Youngstown State and Cinci. For most of the game, there was no place for the running backs to go in-between the tackles.

Yes, the running game piled up 229 yards, but take out the 78 yard run and the two “carries” for -4 yards by Sunseri and Pitt had 155 yards on 34 carries. That’s a respectable 4.7 yards per carry. Yet, looking closer shows that Pitt collected 73 yards (on 12 carries) in the 4th quarter with Isaac Bennett and Malcolm Crockett running to run out the clock. Did not having Fullback Mark Giubilato available for this game make that kind of difference?

When Graham and Rushel Shell were the primary ball carriers for the first 3 quarters, there was not a lot of yardage gained on the ground. The two had 135 yards on 21 carries, but 91 yards came on just two runs. Shell did not look as strong in the game. He wasn’t hitting the line with the same force he showed last Saturday.


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