A gigantic day for Pitt, another reality check for where Penn State’s program is headed

 

Pitt made a point all week to embrace the renewal of a rivalry with Penn State. The Nittany Lions on the other hand tried to downplay the first meeting with Pitt in 16 years as just another game. It was clear in the first half which team had the adrenaline rush going of a rivalry game. Pitt stormed out to a 28-7 lead, while a Penn State rally in the second half fell short in a Pitt 42-39 win. For Pitt, they gashed Penn State on the ground as James Conner recorded 117 of Pittsburgh’s 341 rushing yards. In front of 69,000+, Pat Narduzzi got the most significant win of his tenure as Pitt coach and the program’s most prominent win in many years. Almost every Pitt season there is talk locally of whether Pitt can evolve into an elite football problem. Unless Urban Meyer is coming through the door,Read More »

Benz: Pitt Football Program gets a Reality Check

 

PITT FOOTBALL PROGRAM GETS A REALITY CHECK The coach lost his cool. The players lost the football game. And the program lost its momentum. That’s what happened to Pitt on Thursday night. Although I guess it’s hard to say “momentum” with a straight face after that many Pitt fans successfully pulled off Halloween costumes as empty seats at Heinz Field Thursday night. But let’s not get bogged down on the Panther attendance debate at Heinz Field. Let’s focus instead on whether or not this year’s Pitt team really is all that different from the 14 years of its predecessors at Heinz Field instead. One thing I learned watching Pitt’s 26-19 air-brake type of loss to North Carolina is this: There’s a difference between “different” and “good.” Yeah, this Pitt team is different. It didn’t lose its season opening game at home against Youngstown St under a new coach. That wasRead More »

Narduzzi embracing a QB Controversy

 

TAKEAWAY’S FROM PITT’S 24-7 WIN Chad Voytik making his 15th consecutive start for the Panthers didn’t get to finish the game as the Panthers starter. With the Panthers trailing 7-3, head coach Pat Narduzzi turned to Nate Peterman with 2:35 left in the second quarter and Peterman ran with the opportunity from there. Peterman led the Panthers on an 8 play, 73 yard scoring drive, connecting with J.P. Holtz for an 18 yard touchdown pass as the Panthers went into the half leading 10-7. In the second half Qadree Ollison would add a touchdown run and Darrin Hall scored from five yards out late in the fourth quarter as the Panthers scored the final 21 points in the game. The big story was Peterman who jump started the Pitt offense with the late score in the second quarter. Running the two-minute offense, Peterman completed passes of 14, 11, 9 yards,Read More »

Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison has monster day

 

PITT – YOUNGSTOWN STATE ANALYSIS PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh might have won the battle against Youngstown State, barely, 45-37 Saturday at Heinz Field, but it lost the war when star running back James Conner injured his right knee late in the first half. Conner tallied 77 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns with a long run for 40 yards, but he didn’t play a down in the second half for precautionary reasons. “James is fine,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. “We were just being cautious. I think we have a strong stable of backup backs. You can look at Qadree Ollison and the way he came in. Chris James was banged up a little bit. So, it’s good that we have a strong stable of backs.” The game was close at that point, but an 89-yard kickoff return by sophomore Avonte Maddox and 71-yard scoring runRead More »

Pitt Talk: Conner to be more involved in passing game, Pitt players’ feel they are playing for each other on defense

 

PITTSBURGH — After four straight 6-6 regular seasons and just a 1-3 bowl mark during that stretch, the University of Pittsburgh football program needed a serious change. Enter former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. He makes his Panthers debut against Youngstown State Saturday at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field, and the pressure got to him earlier in the week. “Had to go out and see Rob (Blanc, Pitt’s athletic trainer) yesterday to get some Tums,” Narduzzi said. “That’s normal game week for a football coach, get Tums to make yourself feel good.” There’s a lot for Narduzzi to feel good about this year, especially on offense, with second-year starting quarterback Chad Voytik, wideout Tyler Boyd and running back James Conner leading a possibly explosive offense. However, Tyler Boyd was suspended for the YSU game due to an offseason DUI arrest, so other wideouts such as Dontez Ford, Zach Challingsworth,Read More »

Pitt’s rough week continues, Adams heading to the NBA

 

Just a day after Rushel Shell filed his transfer papers and is leaving the Pitt football program, the basketball program is seeing a prominent player leave. 7-footer Steven Adams has informed Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon that he is turning pro entering the NBA draft and will be hiring an agent. Adams told reporters last week that he planned to return to school. Most draft insiders regard Adams as a mid to late first round pick.

After being one and done in the NCAA Tournament, Jamie Dixon signs 10 year contract extension

 

On the heels of being one and done in the NCAA tournament, Pitt basketball head coach Jamie Dixon has signed a 10 year contract extension that runs through the 2022-2023 season. Here’s what Athletic director Steve Pederson said of Dixon’s extension: “Very few programs can match the sustained success that Pitt basketball has achieved during the past decade under Jamie Dixon,” Pederson said. “As we move forward as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, our future has never been brighter or provided more opportunity. In order to maintain and build upon our past success, it was important to our university and athletic department that we make a strong long-term commitment to Jamie. He has been far more than a basketball coach at Pitt and we are fortunate to have such a high-caliber person representing our university. I look forward to continuing to work with Jamie as he leads ourRead More »

Pitt ousted from NCAA Tournament with 73-55 loss to Wichita State

 

WICHITA STATE 73 – PITTSBURGH 55 The Pitt Panthers are one and done in the NCAA Tournament and this one wasn’t even close. Pitt shot 35% from the field and 5.9% (1-17) from three point range, losing to Wichita State, 73-55 on Thursday afternoon at the EnergySolutions Arena. The NCAA Tournament is all about guard play and Pitt’s guard play was atrocious. Senior Tray Woodall was 1 of 12 from the field with 2 points and 5 turnovers in the loss. While Pitt got nothing from Woodall and others, Shockers guard Malcolm Armstead had a game high 22 points and dished out 5 assists, leading Wichita State to the round of 32. The lone bright spot for the Panthers was big man Steven Adams who led the Panthers with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but a lot Adams points came in mop up time. Few Panthers came to play andRead More »

Pitt’s poor non-conference schedule earns them a No. 8 seed in West Region

 

PITT NO. 8 SEED IN WEST REGION Pitt’s poor non-conference schedule has backfired on them as the Panthers are the No. 8 seed in the West Region. Pitt will have to travel to Salt Lake City and face Wichita State the 9 seed on Thursday. If Pitt beats Wichita State, the Panthers will play the winner of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 16 Southern. Wichita State went 26-8 this season, finishing second in the Missouri State Conference. Notable teams in the West Region include No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 New Mexico, No. 4 Kansas State, No. 5 Wisconsin, NO. 6 Arizona and No. 7 Notre Dame.