The Turning Point: Vad Lee's late throw downs Pitt

Vad Lee pulled of a big third down conversion to help GT down PItt - Kevin C. Cox

Pitt was trying for a comeback and Georgia Tech pulled off the unusual: a big completion

Georgia Tech is not a passing team. I think that has been established. They came into last night's game ranked near the bottom in the NCAA in passing. That stat is a little misleading, as the Yellow Jackets simply do not put the ball in the air a lot. The offense stays in the triple option and lives by it and sometimes dies by it.

Pitt's defense tightened up after a dismal first quarter and pulled the score to 14-10 in the second half. There were a good amount of twists and turns after it became a four-point game, but quarterback Vad Lee saved the biggest play for a third down with about three minutes left in the game.

GT had driven down the field to the Panthers' 47-yard line. The triple option was working until that point and then Aaron Donald and the defense stepped up to drop the Jackets for two straight losses to bring up a third and 17 from their own 46-yard line. Pitt seemed poised to bring up fourth down, until Lee dropped back and launched a dangerous pass in the direction of double coverage. Receiver DeAndre Smelter came up big and took advantage of a poorly timed jump by safety Ray Vinopal and fought off tight coverage by Lafayette Pitts to come down with a 42-yard catch and give Tech the ball at the Pitt 12-yard line to seal the game a few plays later.

This loss hurts a lot. Not only does it drop Pitt to a .500 record for the year now, but it was simply a game that the Panthers could have won. They had several chances and looked like a much better team in the second half. They needed to step up a few more times last night, but seemed to miss on every opportunity.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author @BrunoPittsburgh

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