Rice came to town. Then they went home. What happened in between seems rather questionable in the grander scheme of things for the Pitt Panthers. What we know is Pitt defeated a far inferior Conference USA opponent. What we don’t know is whether that is any kind of indication of things to come as Pitt takes on the balance of its 2017 ACC conference schedule.
The fact is this 2017 Pitt football team is still quite an enigma. Despite beating Rice 42-10 this past Saturday at Heinz Field, question marks still loom large with the Panthers. Questions that will start to be answered in upstate Western NY this upcoming Saturday against long-time foe and ACC rival Syracuse.
For starters, can Pitt run block? Seems like there are serious doubts. Can Pitt muster any sort of pass rush? Doesn’t seem like it. Is the Pitt secondary healthy? Not sure. Is senior graduate transfer QB Max Browne for real? Who the heck knows.
Lets at least appreciate the game Browne played against Rice. It was his best performance by far since becoming a Panther earlier this year. He completed 28 passes on 32 attempts for 410 yards and 4 TDs.
What we don’t know is whether that is just a reflection of playing against a weak opponent or rather some tangible improvement in Browne’s play.
The first drive was quite efficient. Browne handed ball off to junior WR Quadree Henderson, who gained 3 yards on the first play from scrimmage. After connecting with Henderson on a screen pass for 10 yards, Browne was sacked by Rice’s LB Brian Womac for a loss of 9 yards.
Browne then completed a nice pass to redshirt senior WR Jester Weah for 14 yards before finding Pitt sophomore WR Aaron Mathews for 9 yards to the Rice 48 yard line.
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