Jeremy Brevard

Pitt-UNC: Five takeaways

Pitt, again, got torched in the fourth quarter of a game, bowing to the North Carolina Tar Heels 37-36 Saturday afternoon at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, Nc. gives you five takeaways from the showing.

  1. Pitt used 10 different ball carriers to rush for 281 yards. It was the most the Panthers had used all season. Freshman Maurice Ffrench played his first and second downs as a Panther Saturday, taking two carries for nine yards. Freshman Chawntez Moss took seven carries for 47 yards. Moss was Pitt's starting tailback in the second half. In that drive, he rushed three times for 25 yards and a touchdown.
  2. North Carolina did not lead Pitt in the entire game. That is, until Mitch Trubisky connected with Bug Howard for the winning touchdown with two seconds remaining.
  3. In Pitt’s last three games against Penn State, Oklahoma State and North Carolina, the Panthers' offense has averaged just 3.3 points per fourth quarter. Pitt ran just 12 plays in the fourth quarter Saturday at North Carolina. Its offense has run just 48 fourth-quarter plays in the last three games.
  4. Pitt’s defense stood on the field for 17 plays in North Carolina’s final drive, which began at 3:35. Three of those 17 plays were converted on fourth down.
  5. Last season, Pitt simply got outdueled by North Carolina. Pitt was outmatched in a 26-19 game that was never in reach. A glass-half-full approach to Saturday’s outcome for Pitt fans could be that there has been marginal improvement between this year’s team and last. North Carolina is equal to, if not better than, the team it was last season. Trubisky and running back Elijah Hood lead a Tar Heels team whose sole loss was to no. 18 Georgia at a neutral venue. The Heels led heading into the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs but folded. Despite the fan criticism directed at Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi and offensive coordinator Matt Canada for late-game play-calling and at Pitt’s defensive backs for yielding 991 passing yards on the season, the program is in a better position to win games than it was at this time last season. Narduzzi continuously says that he wants his team to get two percent better each day, and, based off the fact that Pitt maintained neck-and-neck (if not neck-and-waist-turned-neck-and-neck) showings against Penn State, Oklahoma State and North Carolina, it is safe to say that the Panthers have been a team that demands the respect of opponents. UNC coach Larry Fedora said this past week that Pitt was the best team his team would play to date (meaning he feared Pitt more than he did Georgia). Pitt has improved significantly and would be taken seriously by any team in the country.


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