Pitt Vs. Virginia Tech Live Stream And Preview

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Sep 19, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back Qadree Ollison (37) runs for a first down against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa beat Pittsburgh 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

What we know about the game is simple. It’s going to rain and rain a lot. When that is the case, what is typically the best option if you’re an offense? Run, keep running, and run some more.

Getting right into the key of the game, it is to have an effective ground game against a stumbling Virginia Tech front seven. But will it be that easy?


Just this evening, it was reported by the ever-trusty Chris Peak, that true freshman Darrin Hall will be sitting out this game against the Hokies with an apparent leg injury that hasn’t fully healed in the time since their last game, a loss to Iowa.

It’s a blow to the Panthers who were expecting him to be one of their workhorses, alongside fellow running backs Qadree Ollison and Chris James.

If you’re wondering where Chris James has been all season when looking at the stat sheet, the answer is injured. He finally finds himself healthy going through practices and could be a huge factor in deciding the game.

As we all know, James Conner is out with an MCL injury and recovering from surgery while the most underrated running back on the team, Rachid Ibrahim, is also out for the season, recovering from a torn Achilles. So for the depth at the position and for this game in particular, Pitt is left with Ollison and James. So far in 2015, we have seen first hand that two running backs is not enough for a single game. So what does that mean?

It is a likely event that Jameel Poteat, a running back converted to linebacker, will find himself back at the tailback position on the depth chart when the team makes way for Blacksburg. Pitt would like to escape Virginia Tech not needing to have Poteat carry the ball, but we will see if that is even an option.

Whom can we expect to get the early carries? I think Chris James finally gets the starting reps behind the freshly named starting quarterback, Nathan Peterman. James is easily the second most athletic player on the team, behind wide receiver Tyler Boyd, and could find himself as a large contributor in the Pitt passing game on quick hitting screen plays to soften the already soggy front seven for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech will be without one starter on defense for the first half, and down an All-American for the entire game, and the rest of the season. Linebacker Sean Huelskamp received a personal foul penalty last week against East Carolina for targeting, which by rule, automatically disqualifies him for the first half of the next game. Huelskamp will leave a big void in the middle level of the field for the Hokies, for the first two quarters.

As we look to the deepest level of the Hokies defense, they are without their All-American corner Kendall Fuller. Much like Conner for Pitt, Fuller is revered as one of the best players for Virginia Tech and will be left with a multi-million dollar decision to either stay in the college ranks or jump to the next level in the NFL.

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  • Both Nate Peterman and Tyler Boyd’s eyes should be lit up with excitement knowing that Fuller will be absent in the secondary. Last season, Boyd had eight receptions for 86 yards and a score while being covered by Fuller and whoever else on the VT defense felt like giving him a hand in coverage. Point is, Boyd should run roughshod on the Hokie defense and it will be up to the arm and grip that Peterman can get on the ball to make sure that Tyler can fly free all over the field.

    As I said before, to be safe in the rain you run the ball. That being said, Pitt is in a unique situation. They have a proven star at wide receiver who can feast on any defense in any conditions, they just have to get him the ball. That should be high on the priority list of Peterman, early and as often as the running game will allow.

    The plot thickens even more now for Jim Chaney and the offense. At quarterback, they finally named a starter for a game, Nathan Peterman. As that happens, Virginia Tech has been horrific on defense against teams with mobile quarterbacks. Pitt has one of those on their roster in previous starter Chad Voytik who did just that against VT last season. ESPN and college football connoisseur, David Hale, provided a telling statistic:

    It’s not going to be a matter of if Voytik sees time, rather the matter of when. Unfortunately, I have a scenario in mind that sees Voytik take advantage of his time, shreds the Tech defense and winds up the starter when the Panthers host Virginia on October 10.

    Okay, okay, so I might be getting ahead of myself, but I can’t be the only one with that thought coursing through my mind.

    I’m not so much worried about how the defense will play against a makeshift Virginia Tech offense with backup quarterback Brenden Motley running the show. If Pitt can contain Motley, who runs more than anyone on the team, and keep him in the pocket, they should be on the winning side of the scoreboard when it is all said and done.

    I like the match-up on the outside for the Panthers with Avonte Maddox covering a star receiver for the Hokies in Isaiah Ford, who is writing his name on a lot of pages in the record books in Blacksburg. Maddox is going to be out-sized by Ford by a few inches, but more than makes up for his lack of height in the physical manner in which he plays his position. I think this is the game that Maddox gets his first interception of the season.

    It was a lot to take in, most notably on the offensive side of the ball. If anything is obvious right now, it’s that even when some questions were answered personnel-wise, even more questions work themselves into the equation.

    Predictions from the City of Champions Staff:

    Myself: Pitt 34-24

    Brett Tunno: Pitt 24-17  — “Tyler Boyd will be the difference maker in a sloppy monsoon, and Nathan Peterman continues to gain experience..Pitt gets an added lift on the ground from Chris James..”

    Larry Snyder: Pitt 24-21

    Will the Pitt offense get sorted out in the midst of a hurricane? Let me know your answer in the comments section below!

    Next: Pittsburgh Fans: Which team has you the most excited?

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