Pitt Faces Pivotal Game Against Syracuse

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It goes without saying that this season hasn’t gotten off to the best start for Pitt football. Through the first 5 games of the season they sit at 2-3. This record, while disappointing, was not completely unforeseen. With tough games against Penn State and Central Florida on the schedule, only the most optimistic predictions would’ve had Pitt with a significantly better record than what they have currently. Despite this, the method by which Pitt has arrived at their current record is extremely disappointing. While the losses to Penn State and Central Florida were not unexpected, neither game was competitive with Pitt being blown out in both. Their loss to North Carolina however may be worse than either of those. Despite looking awful in every other game they’ve played this season, against Pitt the Tar Heels had a prolific offensive attack that the Panther defense could not stop. The result was a 38-35 loss to what is likely the worst team in the ACC. Even Pitt’s lone win against an FBS opponent comes with an asterisk, as it came against Georgia Tech’s flexbone option attack that presents little to no threat through the air.

Even with this record, things could be considered in a more positive light if their losses to Penn State and Central Florida were by a narrower margin and if the third loss came against Georgia Tech, instead of North Carolina. However, Pitt’s performance in all aspects of the game has been unsatisfactory. On offense, Pitt has been averaging 5.5 yards per play (88th in FBS), 343.2 yards per game (113th in FBS), and 22.4 points per game (106th in FBS). On defense they are giving up 6.3 yards per play (108th in FBS), 430.6 yards per game (102nd in FBS), and 32.0 points per game (98th in FBS). Even on Special Teams things are very disappointing, with new punter Kirk Christodoulou is only averaging 38.2 yards per punt (110th in FBS) and the debacles from this unit as a whole against Penn State are well-known. Quite frankly, these numbers are horrendous and not acceptable for a team that aspires to compete for ACC titles.

Despite the rough start Pitt still has a chance to turn things around, but if they have any hope of making something of this season, it has to start this weekend against Syracuse. Though theoretically they still have a chance at winning the Coastal and making good on Pat Narduzzi’s preseason boast, it’s not realistic