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Notes tailing Pitt's 24-7 victory against Akron Saturday.

Notes tailing Pitt's 24-7 victory against Akron Saturday on an early sign of consistency, the imminent quarterback battle and Tyler Boyd's usage.

   -Any win is a good win. The Panthers beat Akron 24-7 Saturday. Not a great, season-defining win, but a good win nonetheless.

It's a win against a MAC team expected to finish near the top of its conference. But it's a non-Power 5 opponent the Panthers were expected to beat. What's important here isn't so much the victory itself. 

Pitt went on the road and beat a team it was supposed to beat like a normal, functional football team. 

During the 6-6 saga, that hasn't usually been the case. Puzzling losses to Youngstown State in 2012, Navy in 2013 when Pitt let a triple-option team run a game-winning 2-minute drill and this very Akron team last season jump to mind. 

Akron did lead the game in the first half, but Pitt's defense pummeled the Zips all night and limited them to 111 yards. Most encouraging was the way the Panthers finished the game, with an 11-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a touchdown and ran seven minutes off the clock to seal the win. 

At the risk of getting too far out in front, it was a good sign to see a Pitt football team go take care of business in the way it was supposed to without any nonsense involved. It could be a sign of consistency to come, but there are 10 games to go and Pitt could lose all of them. 

   -James Conner's injury brought on questions of who will carry the ball and how much in the aftermath of his season-ending injury. Now those same questions apply to Pitt's quarterbacks.

As the coaching staff did against Youngstown State, it was in the script to get Nathan Peterman a few series in Saturday's game to get Chad Voytik's "backup" experience. But after Voytik completed 6-of-8 passes for 32 yards and led mostly ineffective drives, Peterman took the Panthers down the field on his third series for a touchdown to give Pitt a 10-7 haltime lead. 

Peterman remained on the field after the half and Voytik didn't take another snap. He finished with 148 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-17 passing.

Narduzzi wouldn't offer any postgame insight into who his inclination might be toward at this time. He probably won't this upcoming week, either. All there is to do is wait and watch who is on the field at Iowa.

Of course, that might not offer any resolution either. Voytik and Peterman alternated series early before the coaches committed to Peterman for the second half. 

All it could be is that the coaches will continue to play both to begin games, find out which quarterback is hot that day, then roll with him. 

   -Whoever is at quarterback for Pitt would benefit from not staring down his intended target on each play, especially when it's Tyler Boyd. 

Boyd is obviously the Panthers' most lethal weapon on offense and Pitt needs to get him the ball as much as possible. In his season-debut against Akron, Boyd caught 11 passes for 95 yards. Pitt's quarterbacks completed 18 passes for 180 passing yards. 

What leapt out on many dropbacks was how Voytik and Peterman were locked on to their top target on most passing plays. Some of those plays had Boyd split out on his own side of the field and the quarterback never even glanced to the other side when he dropped back to pass.

Boyd still had an excellent game. The offense can get away with that against Akron, but not against the better secondaries Pitt will see as the season progresses. 

This isn't to say Pitt should target Boyd less. Rather, that just a look to the other side of the field to give the hint that Voytik or Peterman might throw to someone else is valuable on its own.


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