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October 28, 2017

Open Thread: UVa-Pitt

Filed under: Football,Open Thread — Chas @ 8:01 am

12:30 pm

Multiple RSNs and ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN.

Stuck on the couch as my back flared up this week, and driving 4-5 hours in a day was not on the table.

Fun times to be in the football equivalent of bubble watch with bowl eligibility.

Virginia is the team poised to get it or see their opportunity narrow suddenly.

The stakes are clear for the Cavaliers (5-2, 2-1 ACC) as they visit Pittsburgh on Saturday: One more victory and they’re bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011.

And if not this weekend, then when? That’s the problem.

Games at home against Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1), at Louisville (5-3, 2-3), at Miami (6-0, 4-0) and back home against rival Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1) loom.

No pressure or anything.

While Virginia is doing everything it can to downplay the importance, Pitt is doing the same.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi also is trying to avoid bowl talk, and for a more logical reason than Virginia’s. Pitt (3-5, 1-3) has been to nine bowls in a row but must win three of its last four regular-season games to qualify this season.

“We’re just worried about winning the next one,” Narduzzi said.

Virginia at least has a chance to still make it happen if they lose today. Pitt is not mathematically, but they are realistically, eliminated from the chances of finishing at least 6-6.

So, by all means. Choose the days leading up to the game to decry the lack of leadership. Or really, make subtle, without saying it, statements in the last third of the season about the youth on the team.

Pitt (3-5, 1-3 ACC) has 14 seniors on the roster, but only eight have played important roles on the field. Two of those eight — quarterback Max Browne (shoulder) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (arm) — are injured and won’t play Saturday against Virginia. Maddox is new to the injury list, but Browne has missed the past two games and is out for the season after shoulder surgery. Both are two of the four captains.

Pitt had 17 seniors — plus James Conner — in key roles last season when it was 5-3 after eight games and finished 8-5.

“The more leaders and seniors you have running your team, it’s their football team,” Narduzzi said. “I truly believe that. The more you have, the better you are.”

Not that it is an excuse, because don’t worry. No excuses are being made. How dare you for thinking that.

Sorry.

I accept that this is a season of transition. That a step back had to be taken, even if aspects were far worse then expected. I just don’t like being told that these are not excuses for the performance, while the excuses are being stated.





There are always excuses. Todays excuse will be the weather for an ineffective offense and it may be the first valid excuse.
Will go to the game today in the rain, get the ponchos, at least for the first half. ( I must be nuts).

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.28.17 @ 8:54 am

Pitt will be lucky to even be in the Game today given that they have no Leaders.

Well, at least according to the Head Coach.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.28.17 @ 9:01 am

Great Motivation

Comment by PittofDreams 10.28.17 @ 9:02 am

Now as for the Game and the possibility of a Pitt win.

Don’t expect the breaks to go Pitt’s way this week like last. And don’t expect Hall to look like anything more than the AVERAGE Back that he is.

Narduzzi and his Staff are actually going to have to EARN this one.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.28.17 @ 9:21 am

I am going too….WTF is wrong with me???

I have a hunch that Nard-Dog is going to get outcoached by the Bronco. We may get our dicks dragged in the dirt today but I will be there cheering them on.

Comment by The Hagen 10.28.17 @ 9:32 am

They are going to win this one today

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 9:44 am

No excuses today. Bad weather for both teams and both teams need to win. How about BC? Are they great or does Jimbo stink? Very rare occasion I root for OSU and tonight is one. Go Buckeyes.
Hail to Pitt.

Comment by AnotherClancyrebound 10.28.17 @ 11:12 am

I hate the blue colors today go old school

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 11:39 am

Man, we have to teach BD to stop running out of bounds behind the LOS. Throw the ball away!

Comment by HbgFrank 10.28.17 @ 11:51 am

Tino2.0

Comment by DocJlk 10.28.17 @ 11:59 am

Weaver!

Comment by DocJlk 10.28.17 @ 12:03 pm

Defense has kept them off the board so far

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 12:04 pm

From this day forward, the Pitt cheerleaders should wear those sweaters!

Comment by HbgFrank 10.28.17 @ 12:09 pm

DiNucci looking good

Comment by DocJlk 10.28.17 @ 12:14 pm

Defense is bend, don’t break!

Comment by Savannah Panther 10.28.17 @ 12:24 pm

Still his long passes are not accurate

Comment by DocJlk 10.28.17 @ 12:26 pm

I wish I was there they kids on the sideline look like their having a blast

Comment by Steve h 10.28.17 @ 12:38 pm

Wow…what a return…shades of Revis!

Comment by HbgFrank 10.28.17 @ 12:43 pm

We have them life on that drive plus they get the ball to start the 3rd quarter

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 12:52 pm

With a good qb they wouldn’t be running into the line

Comment by DocJlk 10.28.17 @ 12:54 pm

@doc yep

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 12:56 pm

They regained momentum

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 1:27 pm

Maybe it’s better if I don’t watch the games. Out of the country, just checked the score, and can’t believe my eyes.

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 10.28.17 @ 2:23 pm

The difference today was the defense they made some plays, PItt was over scheduled on their non conference portion.

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 2:28 pm

Nice win against mediocre team. Did what they needed to do and looked decent. Critics on here will have to dig to find the usual negatives. Steady win.

Comment by AnotherClancyRebound 10.28.17 @ 2:34 pm

Narduzzi has found his LEADER.

If only he would have asked me, I could have saved him a lot of trouble.

Comment by PittofDreams 10.28.17 @ 2:38 pm

Most complete game played in a long time…great game for players and coaches…H2P!

Comment by HbgFrank 10.28.17 @ 2:40 pm

Positives:

– Defense came to play today, again
– Our O-line is smacking people
– Hall, and Ollison, are running hard
– Henderson looks like he’s getting over his injury and back to his 2016 form.

However:

Another Fool’s Gold win. UVA is okay but they played like garbage today…Benkert missed a lot of open throws a good QB would hit. Dinucci continues to throw into heavy coverage and again dodged bullets by luck and bad DB play…UVA’s DB’s played like our guys from last year, never turning their heads to make easy plays.

We should beat UNC but VTech and Miami will rip us like a can opener if our passing game doesn’t massively improve. I like the direction our D is going, and O-line, but if Dinucci can’t hit some downfield passes without the benefit of horrid DB play, we will be spanked in our last two games.

Comment by Matt N. 10.28.17 @ 2:45 pm

Maybe Matt, if they can get by UNC they might have a chance against Miami if it is cold, Miami had a very hard time today against UNC. Who knows see you Thursday the 9th when they play UNC let’s see how that goes, if they win they get a little more confidence.

Hail to Pitt

Comment by WLAT 910 radio and the big beat! 10.28.17 @ 2:51 pm

I’m more worried about UNC. I think they split Miami/VT. Just based on Pitt usually pulling out an upset. UNC seems like a trap game … as odd as that sounds.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.28.17 @ 3:26 pm

The D line really bodes well for the future as does the improved pass coverage by a lot of different guys. Both lines dominated, that won’t happen vs Miami and VATech. Need to beat UNC for any chance at a bowl.

No doubt DiNucci played better today with better protection, and a running game.

Comment by gc 10.28.17 @ 3:44 pm

Agree with Matt N, look at VA schedule. Really didn’t beat anyone.

Comment by gc 10.28.17 @ 3:47 pm

By far, best game Pitt has played.
What that means against UVA is anyone’s guess.
H2P

Comment by Gasman 10.28.17 @ 4:34 pm

Just like beating Akron
—Urban Meyer

Comment by Gasman 10.28.17 @ 6:22 pm

Gasman – if there was a “like” button …

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.28.17 @ 7:11 pm

With the way our D and O-line are picking it up, if we could develop a credible downfield passing game, we could be pretty damn good…like a 9-10 win season good — next year of course.

Dinucci played with more poise today but he still chucks it up for grabs far too often and has really dodged alot of bullets…and he doesn’t make that many plays with his feet given his mobility. He really needs to pick it up because everything I’ve seen so far screams mediocrity.

Comment by Matt N. 10.28.17 @ 7:16 pm

Matt N – Next season the pressure is on. The team has to start turning the corner and playing consistently … then peak in year 5.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.28.17 @ 7:51 pm

Tossing… are you learning anything?

Comment by PittofDreams 10.28.17 @ 9:09 pm

How many of you people were at the game? All you so call PITT fans? I was there, a little wet but there. LOL
There may be some bright light on the horizon next year. At least be competitive.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.29.17 @ 12:32 am

Dreamer – was at the game and yes, there are some bright spots.

The D held a 5-2 Power 5 team to 14 points. Encouraging.

Some Oline observations –

Good run blocking to the right side, not so good to the left.

Good pass blocking on the left side, not so good on the right.

The Oline must continue to improve for this team to finish this season well.

Finishing well = 2 more wins

Comment by Erie Express 10.29.17 @ 6:53 am

Dreamer – I was there and the announced 30,000 was a joke. Maybe 15,000 and 6 or 7k in the second half. EE and I mentioned this on the POV thread. Kids were gearing up for Halloween parties. Agree with all the positives but the play of the O and D lines is most encouraging. Team didn’t choke and the young D looked better without Hendrix and Maddox. All good to build on. Even Zeise looked like he wasn’t lost for the first time.

On the “improve” side I just don’t like Watson for the long haul and despite his TD catch, Weah still has too many drops and loses contested balls despite his physical superiority over every DB he plays. Our JUCO transfer Ra-Ra is our best receiver and is a better match for DiNucci who struggles beyond 12 yards with accuracy. I’d like to see a lot more of Ra-Ra and for Weah to work on his “want to”…

Comment by htp123 10.29.17 @ 8:07 am

Was I dreaming or was #35 in the backfield yesterday? Pitt needs Aston to play for the VT and Miami games.

Comment by grizzly1 10.29.17 @ 8:29 am

grizz – think it was a dream…..he didn’t play.

Comment by htp123 10.29.17 @ 9:10 am

I was more surprised at the paltry amount of Hoos fans at the game. They usually travel fairly well to Pittsburgh and were playing for bowl eligibility.

Comment by 2$Chuck 10.29.17 @ 11:05 am

I was there and there sure were a load of empty seats. The performance was better than average but I thought the Va QB looked really bad. He has a better day the outcome could have been different.

Comment by The Hagen 10.29.17 @ 12:41 pm

Glad to see some of you did go to the game.

Comment by Pitt Dreamer 10.29.17 @ 3:35 pm

Tossing — yes, the pressure most definitely needs to be on next year, but I think this team is really only one player away from being a serious top 20 program…unfortunately its the most important, QB.

If Nate Pete was our QB this year, I bet we’re 7-2 and maybe even 8-1 and a solid top 15 program…he was that good and the D has improved that much this year…the stats don’t look good because our O can’t score and let them rest.

Dinucci should have enough to beat UNC but unless he gets a lot better, VTech and Miami are really gonna expose his limitations…rooting for him but I just have a gut feel he ain’t the answer. If he flubs up, they really need to give Pickett a start or two and then make the QB competition WIDE open heading into the off-season…including MacVittie and anyone else worthy.

Comment by Matt N. 10.29.17 @ 4:15 pm

Hall has really impressed me the last 2-3 games with how hard he is running and his speed…if we could get some consistent downfield passing going, that kid could be one of the best RBs in the nation…and I like Ollison when he runs hard too.

Comment by Matt N. 10.29.17 @ 4:20 pm

Matt N – agreed

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.29.17 @ 7:03 pm

Wife and I were there. Got wet. Stayed for the whole game. Maybe we’re insane.

But we enjoyed the win.

Wife says Pitt fans are the worst fans ever … one dropped pass and they boo. She also doesn’t like the booing of the opponent. Neither do I.

Comment by 17YearsAtPitt 10.29.17 @ 7:07 pm

One dropped pass a game adds up. I hate the negativity too but Pitt has earned a lot of it. If you showed up you get to boo.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.29.17 @ 10:22 pm

17 years – nice job on toughing it out…you should get free chili or a frostee for that. Booing is a bummer but Weah drops a key pass every darn game, at least! They need to play FFrench and Lopes more — playmakers.

Comment by Matt N. 10.29.17 @ 10:53 pm

Tell me please, does anyone think that booing after an incomplete pass does any good for the team or anything positive for the game?

These are college players, not the Steelers after all.

Comment by 17YearsAtPitt 10.30.17 @ 1:20 pm

17Years – I’m not one to boo but it’s (drops) been a trend all season. I can understand the boos without agreeing with them. I won’t and generally try to refrain from criticizing kids by name. But it comes with the territory.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.30.17 @ 3:03 pm

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