Games like Navy are head scratchers. Games like Florida State are just flat out ugly. But games like the 21-10 loss against Georgia Tech are just really tough to take.
In a nutshell, Pitt had their chances to win the game, but they just fell short. There was, of course, the fake punt which took all momentum away in the first half where Tech went on to score a touchdown. But Pitt's lack of preparation for that play was nothing like the long pass play late in the fourth quarter with the Panthers needing a crucial stop.
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee threw up a bad ball into double coverage on 3rd and 17. A taller receiver combined with the shorter Lafayette Pitts and Ray Vinopal ended up in disaster as the ball was caught for a 42-yard gain. A touchdown followed as well as an insurmountable 21-10 lead.
Instead of getting a stop there and getting the ball back down only 14-10, Pitt fell behind by 11. Talk about momentum shifts.
The frustrating thing was that the Yellow Jackets didn't appear to want this game. Their defense was, predictably, very good. But the game was there for the taking and a few times, Pitt's momentum was cut short by their own doing. I mean, you don't want to blame Pitts and Vinopal for being short, but man, someone's got to make a play there. 3rd and 17 from a team that doesn't even pass the ball? Come on.
Georgia Tech's defense certainly played well, so don't take this as a complete shot at them. But a few flukey plays and a horrendous offensive line with injuries to two starters really kept the Panthers from giving Pitt a good chance at winning this one, too. It's easy to see how teams with a serviceable line could give them trouble because when Savage had time to throw, the offense made plays. The two teams are closer than the final 11-point margin would make it appear, in my opinion.
Other than Pitt being Pitt on a few plays, the glaring problem was the offensive line. Again. Part of the problem was that starting guard Cory King and Adam Bisnowaty were injured, forcing true freshman Dorian Johnson and Ryan Schlieper into the starting lineup and the former simply wasn't ready. Lined up against star Jeremiah Attaochu, DJ had no shot and really proved how raw he is. He was beaten early and often and Savage had trouble getting too comfortable back there.
The running game, as you would expect, also suffered as a result. James Conner and Isaac Bennett both had very bad games and had only 19 combined rushing yards.
Tyler Boyd (11 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown) and Aaron Donald, who was literally all over the field, did what they could to keep Pitt around, but the Yellow Jackets just made a few more plays on offense.
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