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Special teams a disaster for Pitt against Duke

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Streeter Lecka

Let's face it - we all know the defense was a disaster in Pitt's win over Duke on Saturday. I'm going to try to set some time up to do a more in-depth look there, but that's not an article that can easily be thrown together.

That said, I didn't want to focus only on the Panthers' offense against Duke, which was obviously the key. The defense shouldn't get all of the blame for a the closer-than-expected game - the special teams was almost equally as bad.

Things started off badly and didn't get much better from there. First, Chris Blewitt officially got the Blewitt jokes rolling with a shanked extra point after Pitt's first touchdown. Then, after a Jason Hendricks interception, Blewitt had a 24-yard field goal that was blocked.

Pitt's kicking game was hardly the only issue, though.

In the second quarter with Duke rallying, Jamison Crowder returned a Matt Yoklic punt for an 82-yard touchdown. In the third quarter with a chance to pin Duke back deep inside of their own territory, Yoklic had a short 34-yard kick that gave Duke the ball on their own 21 and the Blue Devils promptly marched down the field for a touchdown. Lastly, in the fourth quarter, Pitt couldn't get a punt off and was tackled, giving Duke the ball deep Pitt territory. Duke quickly scored a touchdown and cut the lead to three.

Fortunately, Pitt recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran the clock out. The team had their fair share of gaffes on special teams, though. In addition to the aforementioned issues, the Panthers also gave up a few big runs that were called back due to holding calls. The unit really couldn't have played much worse as a whole.

My guess is that Chryst will be making the preparation for that area a priority this week.