Yes, everyone involved with the PITT football program would rather be going into this game at 2-0 and coming off another big rivalry game victory. But, we all knew that 1-1 was a real good possibility heading into this season. But, unlike Penn State, PITT has another big game coming up this Saturday against Oklahoma State that they should have no problem getting up and preparing for.
First, let’s take a look back at last season’s 45-38 loss in Stillwater where it is safe to say the defense, and the secondary in particular, would like to forget rather quickly. Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington had themselves a day to remember as Rudolph threw for 540 yards and 2 Touchdowns and Washington had 296 of those yards and both touchdown receptions.
PITT’s offense was able to keep up with Oklahoma State and actually tied the game at 38 heading into the 4th Quarter and seemed to have most of the momentum for the final 15 minutes of the game. But, after a lengthy thunderstorm delay, Oklahoma State was able to score 1 more touchdown and force a last minute turnover to ice the game and give the Panthers the loss.
Moving on to this year, and paraphrasing what Head Coach Pat Narduzzi said in his weekly press conference, he talked about this game on Saturday being a redemption game for the secondary. I would go one farther and say it is a redemption game for the entire defense as the Oklahoma State running backs, specifically Rennie Childs, had themselves a good day as well.
This challenge get’s even tougher as Jordan Whitehead will be serving the 3rd game of his 3 game suspension and the leadership of the secondary is still fully on the shoulders of Avonte Maddox. I have liked the play of Dane Jackson, Damarri Mathis and Dennis Briggs over the first two weeks so far, but I’d be much more confident in the secondary if Damar Hamlin and Therran Coleman got back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Some of the pressure can be taken off of the defense this week if the offense can put some points up on the scoreboard and that all starts with Max Browne. I’m not going to put all the blame of a sputtering offense last week in State College on him because he was hurt by way too many dropped passes. PITT will need to get better play this week from Jester Weah, Rafael Araujo-Lopes and Aaron Matthews.
But, it all starts at the top with the receiving core with Quadree Henderson who...
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