Another game, another offensive onslaught for Pitt, and I have no idea what to think of this team.
Pitt had over 600 yards of total offense, played stifling defense after the first quarter, and got great performances from Tino Sunseri, Ray Graham, Devin Street, and Mike Shanahan. They scored at least 55 points for the first time in over a decade. Okay, Gardner-Webb isn't exactly Alabama. But still, this was still a dominating performance through and through.
And yet I don't get this team. Is this really the same team that came out so flat to start the season? The team that was run over by Youngstown State and Cincinnati? The team that was staring at the possibility of double-digit losses for the first time since the mid-90's? Apparently so.
Back to the game. Again, a beatdown. Pitt had 626 total yards of offense and limited Gardner-Webb to just 127. Sunseri had another solid performance, getting pulled early in the 4th quarter after going 18-24 for 344 yards and 3 touchdowns. Trey Anderson came in and had a couple nice throws, which is much better than what we saw the last time he stepped onto the field in the Homecoming debacle against Utah last season.
Yet this game was close after 15 minutes. Gardner-Webb was doing a good job limiting Pitt's offense, as Pitt had just 95 total yards after the 1st quarter with 78 of them coming on the Ray Graham touchdown. And then Pitt opened up the scoring, scoring 31 unanswered points after the Runnin' Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown off of a Graham fumble.
The defense was stout, allowing just 32 yards on the ground after Pitt was gashed in the first two games. They also dominated the Gardner-Webb offensive line for 9 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Devin Cook had another big game, recording a sack and forced a fumble, as did Shane Gordon and Jason Hendricks.
But penalties killed Pitt again. This week, the Panthers had 9 for 77 yards. There is definitely a discipline issue with this team and Paul Chryst will have to work on that over the bye week. Special teams have also been a nemesis the past two games. Kevin Harper went 2-3, missing a 43 yard try in the 2nd quarter. Pitt allowed a huge kickoff return for 63 yards after the first touchdown. These things can be corrected, but we've seen them for two straight games now. It's only 2 games, but it's a problem that will hurt Pitt down the line if they don't fix them soon.
Pitt has a bye week fortunately to work on these things before heading up to the Carrier Dome to face fellow Big East traitor Syracuse on October 5th.