After a disappointing loss on Saturday, Pitt gets back on the horse this weekend with a home game against Old Dominion. For only the second time this season, Pitt gets a night game.
ODU, an FBS Independent making the transition to the FBS, comes into Heinz Field on a bit of a roll, having won four straight games. Those were all against FCS teams, but the Monarchs showed they can do one thing - put points on the board. They put up 76 against Howard in a 76-19 beatdown. The following week, they won a 59-58 shootout against The Citadel. They roughed up Albany 66-10. Last week, they were brought down to earth a bit, but still got the W over Liberty, 21-17.
The bottom line is that Old Dominion can put up points in a hurry.
One tandem that should be getting quite a bit of attention from Pitt is the duo of quarterback Taylor Heinicke and wide receiver Larry Pinkard. Heinicke has 2,088 passing yards and 14 TDs already through only six games and can scramble as well - he's the team's second-leading rusher with 235 yards on the ground. Pinkard is on pace for more than 1,000 yards with 523 on the season along with four touchdowns. The wide receiver also had one of his better games of the year against Maryland with a season-high seven catches to go along with 96 yards.
The Monarchs also have some history against FBS teams this season. They were blown out by Maryland, 47-10 on the road, but had a more respectable outing against a good East Carolina team, losing 52-38. Despite losing both games, it's hard to believe they're going to come into Pittsburgh all that intimidated - particularly after watching fellow FCS team Youngstown State leave with a victory last season.
All of that said, it's still hard to not like the Panthers here. Pitt has more talent on both sides of the ball and with some games against Florida State and Virginia Tech, is battle tested. ODU has played some FBS teams - Pitt has played some of the top FBS teams.
Old Dominion has also given up a ton of points, averaging about 50 per game in losses in their first two games against FBS teams. Pitt's offense has been bad against good defenses, but unbelievable against ones that aren't so good. Hard to imagine the Monarchs containing Tom Savage, Tyler Boyd, Devin Street, and company.
In addition, Pitt gets the game at home and that's always an advantage. Lastly, coming off of a loss, I expect the Panthers to be hungry knowing they need to win this game.
At first glance, Old Dominion could put up some points against Pitt, but it's a game the Panthers should win.