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Final Observations from Pitt - Delaware

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I don't yet know that I'll do this every week or not, but in addition to the wrap-up after the game, I wanted to take one final look at Pitt's contest against Delaware and offer some final observations.

Some of these may have already been mentioned, but here goes:

Tyler Boyd injury - Any injury to Tyler Boyd is significant. The general thought process is that he should be able to suit up on Friday, but even if he does, it's hard to say that he'll be 100%. Pitt may be able to survive Boston College and FIU with him at less than 100%, but they really need to get him healthy. Got to think he'll be pretty limited in practice this week.

Tyler Boyd on punt returns - I still don't know where I come out on the usage of Boyd during punt returns, but as I said before, trotting him out there for those is a big risk. It should be pointed out, though, that not using him brings some risk as well just because Pitt doesn't seem real secure back there with the bobbles of Kevin Weatherspoon.

Blowout - It was only one game against an FCS team, but it's really hard to not be encouraged about what we saw. That's particularly true when you look around the ACC and see the teams that struggled throughout the entire game or even for part of it.

Shutout > Offensive outburst - I just this point in the comments of one of the posts, but I think the defense pitching a shutout was slightly more impressive than what the offense did. Shutouts are probably more common than 60+ point games, but once a team gets on a roll offensively, defenses can become disinterested or just flat out tired. It gets a little easy to pile points on during a hot day to a team that's getting blown out. The defense fought through any lapses the entire game where even a single mistake could have led to Delaware putting points on the board.

Offensive line - Chris pointed it out in the Panther of the Game post on Sunday, but the offensive line really looked dominant. Another thing that should be mentioned is that as was the case in training camp for a little while, Dorian Johnson came out, Jaryd Jones-Smith went in at tackle, and Adam Bisnowaty rotated over to Johnson's guard spot. I'm not sure if it was a case of Johnson struggling or not, but with the work that Biz got at guard in camp, it's likely we've not seen the last of that. It could be something we see happen quite a bit, in fact, to help get guys rest and, as Chryst pointed out afterwards, to play guys that deserve time.

Defensive line - The defensive line played a really strong game. There's been a lot of concern with the loss of Aaron Donald, but for one game, anyway, those guys looked pretty good. The team had two sacks, played well against the run (30 carries for 26 yards), and forced quarterback Trent Hurley into a downright awful game (6-13 for 19 yards and three interceptions). The rushing yards were down because of some of the sacks, but even without those, Delaware had a hard time running. Their two main backs had 18 carries for only 47 yards and both were held to fewer than three yards per carry.

Chad Voytik - Really, really early to tell what we've got with Voytik. His arm wasn't tested, he wasn't under a lot of pressure, and only had one completion of 15 yards or more. It would have been nice to see him get to air it out a bit more when Pitt was ahead to go deep with Boyd or some of the other wideouts a few times. We should learn a lot more about him against BC.

Speaking of BC ... - The game against the Eagles is far from a gimme. Boston College isn't expected to be great, but (and you'll hear this from me later), playing a weekday night road game with their campus excited will be a real test for Pitt. If the Panthers win, it shouldn't taken lightly. A lot of the young guys will get some key experience playing in what should be a hostile environment.

ALL THE FUMBLES - Man, hold onto the ball. If you want to nitpick about Pitt's performance on Saturday, look no further than the fumbling issues Pitt had. There were at least two fumbles by the running backs and Weatherspoon's bobbles as well. The Panthers recovered most of them, but gotta hang onto the ball. Pitt was fortunate in that it didn't hurt them.

Chris James firmly entrenched at No. 2 - We knew heading in that Chris James was the No. 2 running back behind James Conner, but if you needed confirmation on that, Saturday sealed it. He got 14 carries, as many as James Conner, going for 77 yards. Conner's day was cut short because of the blowout, but in fairness, so was James'. And while Ibrahim picked up 91 yards on 14 carries as well, much of that was second-half work with both of those guys out.

Qadree Ollison - While Ollison was named as a freshman that might see time, there's not much sense in playing him unless there's a couple of injuries. Ibrahim and Isaac Bennett are probably just as capable this year and even if there's an injury to the top four guys, I'm not sure the Panthers will need to go to him with the other three carrying the load.

Rankings - Pitt currently ranks 1st (of course) in scoring defense and 3rd in offense in the nation. Their 407 rushing yards rank them sixth.

Gardner-Webb - The blowout was nice, but don't forget, Pitt dished out a similar beatdown against Gardner-Webb two years ago, winning 55-10. But by the end of the season, Pitt was 6-7, losing to Youngstown State, Syracuse, and UConn before getting routed in the bowl game by Ole Miss. In other words, this is no guarantee that Pitt will go on to a big season.

On the other hand ... - I think it's important not to downplay the Delaware win. Enthusiasm should be kept in check, of course, but these are the types of games where Pitt has struggled in the past. Nice to see them blow a team out of the water.

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