Paul Chryst and the Pitt Panthers football team will look to get back on track Saturday night when they welcome the Old Dominion Monarchs to Heinz Field.
On paper, this should be a cupcake game for the Panthers, but after what happened last season to Youngstown State, you can’t take anything for granted if you are a Pitt fan.
Old Dominion should present a challenge for the Pitt defense as they are a high-powered offense that can score points in bunches.
As for the Panthers, they are just looking to get back on track after last week’s loss to Virginia Tech.
With that being said, here’s a look at everything you need to know about this non-conference matchup.
When: Saturday, October 19
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Watch: ESPN3, Root Sports
Series History: First Meeting between the schools
Keys for Pitt:
1. Protect Tom Savage: Judging by the effort of the offensive line against Virginia Tech, the Panthers offensive line rivals that of the Pittsburgh Steelers for the honor of worst O-Line in the city. They simply can’t allow Savage to take a beating like he did against the Hokies.
When he has had time, Savage has proven to be a playmaker. He has one of the best arms in the ACC and two of the best playmakers in the conference in Devin Street and Tyler Boyd. All of that is meaningless though if the guys up front can’t give him time to throw the football.
2. Put it all together: One bothersome thing about this season so far is that it is something different every week. One week it’s the defense. The next week it’s the offense. Then it’s the offensive line. Against a team the Panthers should beat on paper, it’s a great opportunity to finally turn in a complete performance.
3. Get the run game going: Pitt’s inability to run the football consistently (sound familiar?) has put even more pressure on Savage to make plays. That’s not a good recipe for winning. Freshman James Connor injured his shoulder against the Hokies and the combination of Isaac Bennett and Rachid Ibrahim combined to gain only 48 yards on 12 carries.
Unlike the Steelers, the Panthers have shown the ability to run the ball at times, but running consistently has been an issue. Connor will likely sit this one out, so it would be nice for the offense to get a big night from Bennett.