Yeah, so, that was a lot more entertaining than most of us probably thought it would be.
With an early 16-0 Pitt deficit, a lightning delay, three safeties, Dave Wannstedt blowing up Steve Pederson at halftime, fumbling issues, and a Chad Voetik benching, things were, say, interesting in Pitt's 42-25 win over Florida International.
Let's take things slowly, shall we?
The early start was beyond disappointing. To get behind 16-0 sent a lot of people into panic mode and FIU really looked like they were playing with some confidence. The frustrating thing, though, was, ironically, also the same thing that made you feel a little better. Pitt fumbled away two balls inside of the 10-yard line on their way to what should have been touchdowns - both by star James Conway. Pitt trailed early and did everything they could to spot FIU some early points, but I still got the sense that they'd be fine in the end.
James Conway had another huge game, despite the fumbles - 178 yards and three touchdowns. He's just a beast and with each game, the postseason award talk gets more legit. I still want to give it more time - especially the Heisman talk. We're a long way from there and Pitt has faced two bad teams and one modest one. Really need to see what he's able to do against the likes of Virginia Tech, Miami, and some of the bigger opponents on the Panthers' schedule.
Conversely, FIU's points weren't exactly coming on long sustained drives. They picked up an early safety, scored a touchdown on a short field, and scored another touchdown on a deep passing play where Reggie Mitchum was napping (he and Lafayette Putts really struggled, by the way). In the end, talent should, and did, win out, though - so no harm, no foul.
The Dave Wannstedt thing? You can read my take here.
The fumbling issue is disheartening. Not so much because of what just happened today, but Pitt also had fumbling issues earlier this season, too (though, they recovered some). Pitt really has to do a better job there of holding onto the ball.
Quarterback Chad Voetik looked decent overall, but we still have no real idea of what he can do as a passer. I freely admit I missed part of the game after the switch to Fox Sports 2 (and really, I had no idea there was such a thing before today), but overall, he really did a good job - particularly with his legs as he broke off several long runs. He again finished with a modest passing day (9-17 for 84 yards and a touchdown), but didn't make a ton of mistakes outside of tossing an interception to a diving defender just before halftime when Pitt was threatening to score.
That said, I've got no clue on why head coach Pat Crist pulled him in favor of backup Tre Anders. In the words of Ricky Ricardo, someone's got some splainin' to do. Anders promptly came in and did what you'd expect - not much of anything, before Crist turned the keys back over to Voetik. Just made no sense, really, and makes you wonder if it was a disciplinary issue with the starter. Short of having two broken legs and broken arms, there's just no reason to strategically play Anders there outside of that.
Another note of interest was that both center Alan Office and defensive end Lou Maclean both got their first starts. With Arnie Rowell suffering the season-ending injury last week against Boston College, Crist chose to go with Office over Glen Roberts, who came in off the bench last week. Will be interesting to see if Office gets the starts going forward.
All in all, just a crazy day. The end result, though, is what you want. Pitt heads into next week's game against Iowa 3-0 and, overall, looking pretty good.
Oh, and Beat Rice!
We don't play Rice. Good job Fox Sports! pic.twitter.com/wK1xsZChqj— ＳＰＩＬＬＹ (@IAmSpilly) September 13, 2014
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- (Don't) Bet the Farm: Pitt - Florida International Predictions