16In16: #13 – “O, Canada”

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Our #13 moment of 2016 goes to Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada.  When Day 1 of the Matt Canada era began, it was safe to say many PITT fans did not know what direction the offense was going to go after Jim Chaney left after one year. And I say the Matt Canada era because I didn’t see another one and down offensive coordinator, but I will get into that later.

Coming into the 2016 season, the offense was returning their starting Quarterback and had the backup who played a fair share of snaps transferring out in Chad Voytik.  They were losing their clear #1 Wide Receiver and play-maker in Tyler Boyd and weren’t sure what they had at Running Back with James Conner coming back from a knee injury and hodgkin’s disease.

The offensive line was a plus coming into preseason practice and continued to get stronger as each practice passed. And they did had depth at the Running Back position, but just didn’t know how the carries would be split this season.

Well, Game 1 of the 2016 season came against Villanova and the offense only put up 28 points in the 28-7 victory at Heinz Field. And I say only because little did we know that would be the lowest point total the offense would score during the regular season.  The next week against Penn State, the offense put up 42 points and made the big plays when necessary to lead the team to the rivalry week victory, 42-39.

Even in losses the next two weeks against Oklahoma St. and North Carolina, the offense put up 38 and 36 points in each of those two games.  The offense returned home against Marshall and put up 43 points to get the team back into the win column and then came the next week when Matt Canada looked into his bag of tricks and pulled out the reverse field pass back to a lineman against Georgia Tech:

With that play against Georgia Tech, it was safe to say that Matt Canada was willing to call whatever play(s), no matter how bizarre, to give PITT the best chance to win.  And that is easier to do when Pat Narduzzi gives you basically free reign with play calling with the one rule of just getting the ball in the end zone.

After the Georgia Tech homecoming victory, the PITT offense put up 45 in