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Final Observations on Pitt-Virginia Tech

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I touched on quite a bit from Pitt's big win over Virginia Tech immediately after the game, but wanted to offer a few more closing thoughts. There was so much to digest from the game, so here's a little bit more.

  • Chad Voytik is what he is. The good news is that he's able to help Pitt win games with his legs and generally doesn't cost the team games. That theory was tested a little on Thursday seeing he had a lost fumble, a bad interception, and another near one late in the game. But overall, he's managing games at this point and making occasional plays. Pat Bostick was on The Fan on Thursday morning and said basically what I've been trying to explain all along - that he's halfway into his first season as a starting quarterback and is still very young. If Voytik is still playing like this in the second half of next year, we can talk. But you can't expect the moon from a guy who doesn't even have a full year of playing experience.
  • James Conner looked really good last night, getting back up to over five yards per carry. He didn't have many attempts (16), which was kind of odd considering that he was effective. Ironically, the biggest beneficiary of the extra snaps wasn't Chris James or Isaac Bennett (Bennett and Rachid Ibrahim didn't didn't even get a single carry), but Voytik, who had 19 rushes - many of which were designed. I actually liked the idea of getting Voytik more involved while limiting Conner a little since it was far less predictable than giving Conner, say 25 attempts to only a handful for Voytik. I'm not saying Conner should always be limited that much, but it was a welcome change on Thursday and more than that, it worked.
  • The win not only gets Pitt turned around after the losses, but their bowl hopes are in much better chances. More on this later.
  • I already covered the defense, but man - those guys deserve some sort of an encore. So many three and outs and, one thing I didn't mention yesterday was how good they were on third down. Virginia Tech was a horrific 2-14 on 3rd downs and Pitt just got the offense back on the field quickly.
  • Pitt took another deep shot with Jester Weah. He wasn't all that open on the play they did but eventually, he and Voytik are going to hook up on a big gain.
  • I still find it hilarious that Tyler Boyd was the only receiver that caught a ball. That really underlines the passing woes right now and that area still needs a lot of work. And if you think things are bad now, just imagine them if the Panthers didn't have Boyd. Now that's scary.
  • One thing I've clamored for is the utilization of Ibrahim on screen passes. Pitt actually tried a couple of those and neither was effective. They still need to do more of that and I was glad to see them try to get him more involved.
  • Really good work by the coaches last night. I said this earlier, but just as we criticize them when they don't have a great game plan, they should get praise when they do. And on Thursday, they did.
  • And while it may still be a longshot with some weak spots on the team and the loss to Virginia, the win over Virginia Tech keeps them right in the hunt for the Coastal Division title. At least for now.
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