Pitt Knocks Off Georgia Tech To Improve To 5-1, 3-0 ACC


Pitt has had trouble stopping the Georgia Tech triple option offense since the Panthers joined the ACC three years ago. Last season, the game was essentially over within the first five minutes, as Pitt fumbled the ball away six times.

In the first half, it appeared that even Pat Narduzzi and the new Pitt coaching staff couldn’t solve the triple option puzzle from the defending ACC Coastal and Orange Bowl champs.

With a 21-21 shootout at halftime, Narduzzi was asked about any possible changes going into the second half.  Narduzzi said that Pitt made some adjustments in the locker room and we’ll see what happens.

The adjustments clearly made a difference, as Pitt controlled the ball, pressured Georgia Tech multiple times, and set themselves up for a game-winning field goal with a little over a minute remaining.

And it was the longest field goal in Pitt football history.

Junior kicker Chris Blewitt buried a 56-yarder to give Pitt a 31-28 advantage, and eventually the win.

The defense stood tall on the Yellow Jackets last possession and shut them down with an interception by Avonte Maddox, improving Pitt to 5-1 and 3-0 in ACC play.  Georgia Tech was predicted by many to win the ACC Coastal, but they have now lost five games in a row to fall to 2-5, 0-4 in the ACC.  The Yellow Jackets have lost to No. 14 Notre Dame, UNC, No. 25 Duke, No. 5 Clemson, and now Pitt.

Since going with junior transfer Nathan Peterman as quarterback, the passing game has begun to look more promising.  Peterman finished 14 of 21 for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns.  More importantly, he is not turning the ball over and is looking at other receivers not named Tyler Boyd.

By passing to the tight ends and other wideouts, this is allowing Boyd to thrive and not be double or triple-teamed.  Boyd, who many consider the top WR in college football, finished with 8 catches for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Boyd recorded his 203rd reception of his career, passing Devin Street as the all-time receptions leader in Pitt history.

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Pitt also did not shy away from the ground game.  Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison had 83 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while sophomore Chris James had 22 yards and true freshman Darrin Hall had 38 yards on the ground.

In the first half, Pitt went on a nearly 8-minute opening drive, capped by a 6-yard touchdown to Boyd.  Georgia Tech immediately responded on a 58-yard Marcus Marshall TD run.

A Justin Thomas 29-yard TD pass to 6-foot-3 Ricky Jeune made it 14-7 Yellow Jackets early in the second quarter, and Pitt’s Ollison responded with a 1-yard score to tie it.

Patrick Skov gave Georgia Tech the lead with a 1-yard run, but Boyd hauled in a 17-yard touchdown to tie it at 21.   I think a key play in this game was the defensive stand by Pitt late in the second half, leading to a blocked field goal to keep it tied.

Senior tight end J.P. Holtz hauled in a touchdown to give Pitt a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter, as the Pitt defense began to pressure Justin Thomas and force Georgia Tech into punts.

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With the First Pick

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  • The Panthers defense had 7 tackles for loss, whereas the Yellow Jackets had none.  To put the Pitt defense in perspective, the Panthers only had 54 tackles for loss and 19 sacks in 13 games last year.  Through 6 games, Pitt has 47 tackles for loss and 22 sacks already.

    The new defensive system is very crucial to Pitt’s 5-1 record, and Pitt is certainly in position to win the ACC Coastal.

    When asked about the 376 rushing yards by Georgia Tech, Narduzzi said, “All those stats are for losers.  All that matters is the W.”

    He is correct.

    If I had to choose the key to this game, I would say special teams.  The 56-yarder by Chris Blewitt was a beautiful capper on a 7-minute drive, and junior punter Ryan Winslow pinned Georgia Tech at the 8, 8, 14, and 9-yard line.

    This was another win by Pitt, in which most fans probably thought the Panthers would find a way to lose.  It appears that Pitt is back!  Turn on the victory lights and Hail to Pitt!


    In case you were wondering, No. 17 Iowa went on the road to No. 20 Northwestern and won 40-10 to improve to 7-0.  That loss isn’t looking so bad now.

    Pitt will travel to Syracuse next week.

    Next: Paris Ford Commits To Pitt, Will More Follow?

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