Pitt welcomes the Cavaliers of Virginia to town this week in hopes of ushering in homecoming weekend the right way.
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Here we are in Week 6 of the college football season, already. Pitt enters the week with a record of 3-1 and are 1-0 in the ACC after pressuring their way past Virginia Tech last week, 17-13. Their only loss came against Iowa on a last second field goal and has aided the Hawkeyes into finding their way to No. 22 in the country. For Pitt, it has turned out to be a “good loss”.
Virginia treks their way into Pittsburgh with a record of 1-3 and are playing in their first conference game of the season. The Cavaliers are a victim of their own schedule, one of the very best in the ACC, taking on three ranked opponents and losing by an average score of 41-19.
They entered their bye week coming off of a trampling by the Boise State Broncos, 56-14. It was a loss that was ugly, very ugly. The Cavaliers are battered, but should not be taken lightly by the Panthers.
Details for the game are below:
Date: October 10
Start Time: 12:30pm EST
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Heinz Field
TV Info: ACC Network On WTAE – Channel 4 in Pittsburgh
Announcers: Tim Brant and Dave Archer with Roddy Jones reporting
Radio Info: 93.7 The Fan and the Pitt IMG Sports Network
Announcers: Bill Hillgrove and Pat Bostick with Larry Richert reporting
Live Stream: WatchESPN
SiriusXM Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 145, XM Channel 193
Social Media – Twitter: @GoPittFootball
Betting Odds: Vegas Insider
Keys to Victory for the Panthers:
The keys to victory for Pitt are extremely straight forward: disrupt the pass game of Virginia and establish your own.
Virginia and their quarterback, Matt Johns, average 30 passes per game and 1.5 interceptions per game. As Pitt has been a wrecking crew on defense this season swarming the quarterback, they have amassed 17 sacks through four games and are ranked No. 4 in defense in the country entering this contest. If the pressure continues for Pitt, Johns will be in for a terrifyingly long day.
Virginia is averaging just three yards per carry this season and have gained 375 yards on their 126 carries. That’s just 93.8 yards per game. Your eyes should widen knowing that the Panthers only surrender 71.3 yards per game on the ground, which is the fourth best mark in the country. Getting constant pressure on Johns will create a spiral down effect for the Cavaliers and their offense as a whole.
With the First Pick
If there is one player to keep your eye on for the Cavaliers, it is wide receiver Canaan Severin. He is creative in space and could be the one player to wreak havoc on the Panthers defensive backs, but Pitt is a team that gives up just 172.5 yards per game through the air.
As I mentioned for the Panthers, it will be the effectiveness of the passing game that takes them to four games in the win column. Virginia ranks near the very bottom of all FBS schools in passing yards, surrendering 285.3 per game.
I am sure that Jim Chaney, Tyler Boyd, and Nathan Peterman can not wait to take the field.
This could very well serve as the game that all fans have been craving with Jim Chaney at offensive coordinator. He, if managed correctly, could have a field day against the Cavs. It’s not that they are poor at one section of their defense. They are bad all over.
My “X-Factor’s” for the offense are the tight ends, JP Holtz and Scott Orndoff. Whatever coverage can be accounted for will be focused on Boyd. And, without the arrival of a true second receiver on the roster, the athletic and sure-handed tight ends could reap the benefits. With former 5-star tight end Chris Clark, formerly of UCLA in town, it could be the opportunity for a show that the offense has been dreaming of providing, with the east coast inspired transfer target.
Stat Blast Prediction: Peterman has himself a day to remember, passing for 294 yards and five touchdowns.
Holtz and Orndoff combine for 8 receptions, 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Tyler Boyd hauls in a team-leading 9 receptions for 127 yards and two scores.
Predictions from City of Champions Staff:
Myself: Pitt, 48-20 — Call me an optimist, but I take the OVER on this one, largely.
Brett Tunno: Pitt, 31-20 — “On homecoming, the Cavaliers have trouble containing Tyler Boyd who hauls in two touchdowns and redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison racks up another 100-yard game to lessen the loss of Conner..”
Larry Snyder: The Panthers will take down the Cavaliers 31-17.
Let’s hope the paper evaluations hold true and don’t provide the students with a rough beginning to their homecoming festivities.