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Pitt defense folds against Georgia Tech's option

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt's defense came into the game against Georgia Tech as not only one of the best units statistically, but one of the best against the run, ranking in the top 20 in that category.

Those rankings, though, are going to change in a big way after Saturday's loss to the Yellow Jackets.

Coming into the game, Pitt was allowing a stingy 112.1 yards per game. While we figured that a run-heavy Georgia Tech team would pick up significantly more yardage, the Yellow Jackets ran all over the Panthers to the tune of 465 yards. That's a whopping 159 more than the team averages.

Five Georgia Tech players had at least 50 yards rushing, and Synjyn Days, Broderick Snoddy, and quarterback Justin Thomas led the way with 284 yards. The big thing here is that the Yellow Jackets just picked up huge chunks of yards. Several big plays on the day gave them a gaudy 7.3 yards per attempt.

While the option is difficult to defend, some of Pitt's problems were simply poor tackling. Several defenders had troubles wrapping up ball carriers and the defense as a whole had a pretty bad day. They also forced only one turnover and given that the Pitt offense had six themselves, that wasn't nearly enough.

During my Q&A with SB Nation's Georgia Tech blog, From the Rumble Seat, I said that the high rankings were partially due to the somewhat light schedule Pitt had faced to this point. That certainly proved to be true on Saturday as they were dismantled by a strong running game.

That doesn't mean the defense has been terrible this season. But they likely aren't the Top 20 unit that they were statistically.

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