Pitt’s choice to play such a bland offense turned a 21-0 game at half into a much closer affair than it should have been. Youngstown State would tie the game with 5 minutes to play and would leave the Panthers benign second half offensive and sketchy kicking situation to win the game. Kessman, the Panthers place kicker would miss his second of the half to send the game into overtime. Pitt would fQuetinally pull through in overtime after a Touchdown and an interception in the endzone to give Pitt the 28-21 win.
No question that Youngstown State is a fine football team, but Pitt turned this into a game by running an extremely vanilla style offense which allowed the Penguins to not only get back into the game but have an opportunity to win it in overtime.
During the first half, the Pitt offense was fairly balanced rushing for 143 and passing for 93. Leading 21-0 after half That blandness that I spoke of would rear its head as we watched a very Woody Hayes esque game plan with Ollison rushing up the middle time and again. Max Browne would not see pressure till midway through the second half and it was clear he was not prepared for it. In the second half, Browne never looked comfortable, at times looked frustrated because he was just handing the ball off for runs straight up the gut.
More alarming than the bland play calling was the defensive secondary play. YSU missed several opportunities in the first half because of poor throws. Hunter Wells had opportunities, but he was not able to take advantage of those during that half. In the second half, it was another story as Wells would complete 2 TD passes, including one for 42 yards as the corner fell down. The falling down and poor coverage throughout The day both in the first and second half.
Qadree Ollison ran for 207 yards two seasons ago against the Penguins in his first collegiate game. Today he would be part of 200+ yard rushing attack for Pitt, including nearly 100 for himself with 2 touchdowns. He would also catch 5 passes for 35 yards. Max Browne completed 17-24 for 140 yards, but would take 2 sacks that would both be costly.
Once Pitt had the 21-0 lead, Pitt would get an opportunity to extend that lead in the second half but would be forced to punt right after they crossed the 50. Narduzzi went for it on 4th down twice in the first half and I was surprised he did not do it on that occasion also. Watch for that as the season progresses. He would go 3-3 on 4th down today, the third being extremely important.
Final Score in Pittsburgh, Pitt 28 YSU 21 and now the Panthers get to get ready for a trip to Happy Valley to take on Penn State next week. It looked a bit like the Panthers were looking ahead.
Coach Narduzzi Quotes and Thoughts and Stats
Coach Narduzzi in the post game press conference joked a bit about he telling his players to take it easy in the second half and they took his advice and did just that. He complimented Bo Pelini several times about how good he and his team was. He called the Penguins a Really good “MAC” team. He also Talked about not making plays when they needed too both offensively and defensively.
When asked about Max Browne’s play, he talked about needing to review the tape. He said Max thinks he played pretty well, just wished he would have run for a first down on that last run in the 4th quarter.
He was not happy about the defensive Pressure, as well he shouldn’t have been. There was none for much of the game. The Panthers finished with just 1 sack for the game while giving up 3 in the second half because of a completely bland game plan.
- Ollison – 22 rushes for 92 yards, 5 receptions for 35 yards. 2 TD
- Henderson 9 rushes for 77 yards, 1 reception for 7 yards
- Darrin Hall 13 rushes for 52 yards
- Browne 17-24 for 2 Td’s and 140 yards
- Weah had 1 catch for 11 yards, 1 TD
- Ffrench with 3 catches 19 yards
- Flanagan 2 for 35 yards
- AJ Davis 4 rushed for 8 yards 1 TD
- Pitt led time of possession 34:31 to 25:49