Pitt Coverage and Podcast Brought to you by Arsenal Cider and Wine Cellar, Finleyville PA.
I have seen score predictions for this weekends games from 28-21 to 63-17 all in favor of Penn State. I do not think we will see any EPIC Ohio State beat downs from years ago but this could be a game that can get away from the Panthers if they are not playing at their sharpest. I have been on the record as to saying they will cover. I believe this is a game that could be close, depending on certain variables. And as you follow along below, there will be a trend with these variables.
Variable 1: If Qadree Ollison is healthy and the offensive line plays as well as they can, Pitt should be able to run. That is not saying that PSU’s defensive line is bad, that is more a testament of the Offensive line of Pitt. Plus Alex Bookser is back which is important.
Variable 2: Max Browne! I am fairly certain Max wanted to pull his hair out last week with what he was being asked to run. As a whole, he was largely unimpressive and that is only because he was not asked to do much. The coaching staff had a very vanilla playbook for last week, coupled with the fact that was Max’s first game in about a year, I think we can only can ask so much in that situation. I expect him to play well this week, because he has played against big, fast teams before. I do not think the moment will get to him.
Variable 3: Quadree Henderson! He ran for 70+ yards last week, and caught 1 pass for 15. He will be a much bigger part of this game this week and because he will be a big part, that opens things up for Jester Weah on the outside.
Variable 4: Tight End play. The Panthers need their Tight ends to get open on occasion. That is a given but even more than that, they need to be able to protect the quarterback when asked too.
Final Variable: Special Teams. If Henderson can make an impact and flip field position once or twice, that can go a long way in keeping Pitt in the game. The Place kicker has to make every attempt he is asked to make. There can be no misses on Saturday.
Notice I did not mention the defense. I am thoroughly convinced they will stop Penn State….Maybe once or twice tops. This will be a tough game for this defense. Penn State running back Barkley is special. McSorley has the ability to throw interceptions, but the secondary has a chance to get beat early and often. I am anxious to see if Coach Narduzzi has anything interesting planned for the game defensively.
I believe the crowd will be an issue early, and if it is close late, they will be just as big of a factor. Pitt is a 21 point underdog and I think they will cover. I honestly think the Panthers, if healthy will be a very good team by the end of the season. But because of their youth, lack of certain starters to start the season, and a new quarterback, the start of the season will be difficult.
As for a prediction…. You’ll have to listen to the podcast tomorrow night when we broadcast live from the Arsenal Cider House in Finleyville Pennsylvania. Myself and Zack Kaminski will be there live from 6-7 to talk Pitt Penn State, and of course… test the Cider. You’ll find us on DYSTNow.com, Spreaker.com, and from time to time tomorrow night, Facebook live.