Week One: Final Thoughts

It may have been an FCS opponent, but there is a lot to be excited about, or at least encouraged, after Pitt starting off 1-0.

Well, it's not an ACC win, and it doesn't guarantee much other than a 1-0 record. However, Pittsburgh's 62-0 win over Delaware on Saturday is the best possible right foot this program could have asked to move forward with.

THREE STARS
3. Chad Voytik. Voytik is still the key to this season, and while his numbers didn't single-handedly win the game for Pitt (nor did he need to), he didn't look like a guy who was starting for the first time. 10-13 completions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. More impressively, when Tyler Boyd left the game, it didn't look like there was a lot of panic. Granted, the game was already well in hand by that point, Voytik was comfortable getting the ball to Ronald Jones, and later a touchdown pass to J.P. Holtz.

Sure, there will be tougher competition as the season wares on. But there's no other player on this roster that had more pressure on him than Voytik. He didn't look like a guy buckling under any kind of pressure. Sure, the running game was the main attraction, but the we've seen instances of Pitt having a running back presence before, and a quarterback presence not being there. With his first start out of the way, the experience factor becomes less of one for Pitt.

2. Defense. It would be hard to single out one player on the defense, but I think one giant question was a answered. No, we will not see an Aaron Donald type performance from anyone. Yes, this unit already looks more together than last year's group. That's what they did today. It started with David Durham's sack in the first quarter, and was followed by interceptions from Terrish Webb, Todd Thomas and Matt Galambos, with another sack from Reggie Mitchell.

In addition to that, Pitt held Delaware to 62 yards, the lowest total for an opponent in 17 years. Again, say what you want about the level of competition, we've seen other FCS opponents come in here, over the years, and we've seen some of them give Pitt a game. For a defense that is still going to have the Aaron Donald question following them for a couple more weeks, they answered the call in Week One, with a shutout.

1. The Run Game. Make no mistake about it, James Conner set the tone with his 153 yards and four touchdowns. I know a lot of it was in relief, but Rachid Ibrahim and Chris James also carried the ball 14 times each, and Isaac Bennett six times. That will be hard to replicate in other games, but it was clear from the start of the game, Pitt wanted to establish the run. I don't see a reason for them to do otherwise. The offensive line opened the holes, and the running backs found their way.

Not sure if it will be this much of a collaborative effort--using four running backs, giving equal carries to three of them. The emphasis is clear--Chryst wants to run the football.

HUH?
* Even in a 62-0 win, there has to be something to be questioned, right?

On Pitt's fourth series of the game, and the offense taking over at its own one yard-line. Trey Anderson comes in at quarterback.

Pitt responds with an eight-play drive, all runs, another James Conner touchdown, more importantly, a 28-0 lead.

So why the switch in the middle of the second quarter? Already early enough to rest Voytik, and save him for Boston College? Was Voytik doing something he shouldn't have after throwing his first touchdown pass of the season? In this a special package just for Trey Anderson? A number of scenarios it could be.

"I wanted to get Trey Anderson in the football game," head coach Paul Chryst said. "He had a good game, and did some good things. That's why I wanted to I've him some snaps."

For a split second, I really did think he was giving Voytik the rest of the day off, looking ahead to Boston College, not giving the Boston College coaching staff any more game film of Voytik in his first game. But then I thought, why wouldn't Conner come out? Regardless, it's not so much of a head scratcher , as much as it is a matter of Chryst just wanting to give Anderson snaps because of what he's done. Anderson has been well-liked since he got here, so let him have his snaps. It's not a very experienced quarterback group as a whole. Today was a big step for that position in terms of getting them reps.

* Unsportsmanlike penalty on David Durham in the first half. Whatever he said to the Delaware offensive lineman I equate to the usual trash talk that goes on between the offensive and defensive lines. It wasn't in the act of making the sack. If he was taunting Trent Hurley after the sack, I'd say okay with the penalty. I'm all for the rules, but I think they got that one wrong. If they're going to call it that way, or call it in that instance, call it in the trenches.

OTHER NOTES
* In addition to the switch of quarterbacks in the first quarter, how about the switch on the offensive line with Jaryd Jones-Smith at left tackle, Adam Bisnowaty to left guard, substituting for Dorian Johnson? It wasn't for injury, and it wasn't because Johnson wasn't doing something right. This is something we saw in camp, and something Chryst said after the game--similar to the Anderson situation--he felt Jones-Smith was good enough to deserve a shot at the field.

* A number of guys saw their first action in a Pitt uniform. Some redshirt freshmen, some true freshmen, or some who waited a year to play after transferring, like Reggie Mitchell. Among those guys seeing the field for the first time. Luke Maclean finished with four tackles in his first game, Avonte Maddox with two, Patrick Amara with two, Justin Moody and Rori Blair each with one. Zach Poker also got in his first game. True freshman linebacker Quintin Wirginis also got in s first game.

Offensively, you saw James with his two touchdown runs, and Jaryd Jones-Smith getting some time on he he offensive line. Ryan Winslow got in his first game--33-yard average on two punts. Devon Edwards, Tony Harper and Jester Weah also all played in their first game.

* Probably the thing I look forward to the least this week, is hearing the question about whether or not Tyler Boyd will play this week. I expect him to play, knowing his competitive tens, but despite everything the running game did this week, and the defense, the big question will be whether or not Tyler Boyd will play.

* I'm forgetting the offensive line. They allowed 0.0 sacks today. Far below their 3.3 sacks allowed per game last year. A good start, but still 11, hopefully 12 to play.

* For those of you who keep track of stars. Rushel Shell, a five-star recruit in the 2012 class, with his performance against Alabama on Saturday, now has 679 yards and four touchdowns, in 13 collegiate games. James Conner, a two-star recruit, and No. 130 DE in the 2013 class, has 952 yards and 12 touchdowns, also in 13 collegiate games.

* Lastly, Delaware may have been overmatched, but we've seen Pitt squabble leads to FCS teams in years past. By the same token, Iowa State lost to FCS opponent North Dakota State (albeit a pretty good one). North Carolina trailed its game with Liberty today, N.C. State had to rally to hold on over Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech had its struggles with Wofford. A win is a win, but of all ACC teams, you can make a case Pitt was most dominant from start to finish--a good way to start the season.


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