Freshmen for the Future

PIttsburgh defeats New Mexico 49-27. The Panthers freshmen gave Pitt fans a taste of what the future could look like with scoring 35 of the total points.

Pitt vs. New Mexico Game Notes:

Pitt 49 New Mexico 27

Kick off starts on time with perfect football weather. New Mexico gets the ball first, but goes four-and-out. New Mexico's star running back redshirt senior Kasey Carrier didn't get to the touch the ball once in the first series. In fact, Pitt put a stop to Carrier throughout the entire game, Carrier only got 7 carries for 25-yards.

Savage steers Pitt into first win

Unlike last week, quarterback Tom Savage does not open up with a great first series and instead throws an interception. Savage redeems himself in the following series with a 51-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Tyler Boyd. New Mexico is called for pass interference, but the penalty is declined, and Pitt advances to a first-and-ten on the 8-yard line. Savage's next pass is complete to freshman tight end Scott Orndoff. The four-yard pass is good for a Panthers first touchdown. Orndoff records his first career touchdown. The kick is good by freshman kicker Chris Blewitt. The scoring drive for Pitt is seven plays for 71-yards in 3:17. Panthers are up 7-0 early in the first with 10:00 left on the clock in the first quarter.

The freshmen stood out big in the first series. Freshman right tackle Dorian Johnson lined up at tight end and was used as an extra blocker. Not because the Panthers were hurting at tight end but because of Johnson's sheer talent. The only non-freshman contributing on the scoring drive other than Savage was junior running back Isaac Bennett.

New Mexico was forced to a field goal early after Carlos Wiggins made a 74-yard return. After hitting the left post, the 24-yard kick is good. Pitt lead 7-3 over the Lobos. New Mexico's scoring drive completed in four plays for 7-yards in 2:22. 7-3 was about the closest New Mexico would get to Pitt.

Freshmen fun-for-all

Freshmen Quick Stats BOYD CONNER ORNDOFF
RUSHING 39 yards 119 yards 0 yards
RECEIVING 134 yards 0 yards 4 yards

Boyd breaks out

Freshman Boyd was just warming up earlier in the quarter, and his next big play would a 51-yard pass from Savage. Boyd then makes a 33-yard run and scored a Panthers touchdown. In six plays for 75-yards in 2:38, Pitt stays on top with 5 minutes left in the first at 14-3. Blewitt goes 2-for-2 on the extra points.

Boyd tallies another touchdown in the first half after catching a 34-yard pass from Savage in double-coverage. Instead of a third interception for Savage, Boyd's catch is good for the TD. Pitt's scoring drive is the shortest of the game in 2 plays for 56-yards in 23 seconds.

Conner catches on

Freshman running back James Conner on the next Pitt series picks up 20-yards on a run setting Pitt up for a first and goal. Conner runs in for the touchdown. Blewitt comes out again and he's 3-for-3 on the day for extra points. Pitt's scoring drive made in four plays for 60-yards in 1:27. Pitt is up 21-3 before even wrapping up the first quarter.

Conner then scores a second touchdown after making a 32-yard run. Blewitt's extra point is good and in four plays for 76-yards in 1:54, Pitt is up 28-6 in the second quarter.

Highs and lows

In the beginning of the third quarter, New Mexico fumbled on the run and true freshman DB Terrish Webb comes away with it marking Pitt's first turnover forced on the day.

Conner, however, makes his first mistake on the day with a fumble in the third quarter with 3:34 left. Pitt commits their third turnover against New Mexico, which totals to five in two games and four of those are Savage interceptions. The Conner fumble results in a Lobos touchdown in the following series.

Bennett makes his first touchdown of the game with an 8-yard run. He records yet another touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard run. While most of the focus has been on the freshman this game, Bennett sets a new career-high with 101 rushing yards.

Conner finished with 119 yards and Bennett with a 101. The last time two running backs had 100-yard rushing games - LeSean McCoy and LaRod Stephens-Howling - on October 20, 2007 vs. Cincinnati.

Sloppy on special teams

Pitt special teams is not having a great season so far especially after getting two big penalties in the first quarter against New Mexico, one for roughing the snapper and then a second penalty for a delay of game on the kickoff. Not to mention a 62-yard punt by Pitt was returned with the 74-yard return by Wiggins. After many missed opportunities, redshirt sophomore Nicholas Grigsby luckily tackled Wiggins before making it to the endzone.

Quarterback Switch

Savage racks up another 2 interceptions against New Mexico. Savage has a total of 4 interceptions this season. In the first half, Savage goes 13-12 with the only 2 incomplete passes as interceptions. Out of Pitt's 8 possessions, 6 had been turned into scoring drives while the lonely two possessions were interceptions. Savage finishes the day 13-17 for 236-yards and 2 touchdowns plus those 2 interceptions. Overall, a pretty good day for the quarterbacks second game back.

Redshirt freshman Chad Voytik makes his Pitt debut in the fourth quarter with the Panthers leading 49-20. Voytik's turn was short lived as the clock winded down to zero. His final stats were 1-1 for 8 yards.

Extra points on the Panthers

Redshirt senior wide receiver Devin Street's four catches in the game puts him at 161-yards, tying him with Larry Fitzgerald for third place in Pitt's all time receiving yards.

The last time Pitt scored 20 first quarter points was against Buffalo on September 12, 2009. Pitt tops that by scoring 21-points with ease in the first quarter.

Senior Aaron Donald makes his first sack of the season…a majority of the points on the board were made by true freshmen. Touchdowns made by Boyd (2), Conner (2) and Orndoff (1) while Blewitt goes 7-for-7 on extra points this game…Pitt's first punt of the day came at the end of the third by redshirt senior punter Matt Yoklic.

Solid showing from OL Adam Bisnowaty, WR Tyler Boyd, RB James Conner, DL Aaron Donald, TE Manasseh Garner, TE J.P. Holtz, DB Titus Howard, TE Scott Orndoff, DB Lafayette Pitts and LB Todd Thomas who are all Western Pa. guys.

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