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The Turning Point: Lost Momentum

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Pitt did their fourth quarter dance party and the crowd seemed to be into it. The defense had stiffened. The offense needed only a yard and whiffed.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

So many plays did not go Pitt's way last night in their 26-19 loss. North Carolina fumbled three times and recovered all three times. I lost track at 23 on the number of sacks the defense missed out on with Marquise Williams (OK, 23 might be an exaggeration). There was also settling for a field goal after a blocked punt to start the second half. Instead, though, I think we'll fast forward through all of that to what has typically been a bright spot for Pitt this year under Pat Narduzzi: The start of the fourth quarter.

Pitt had cut the lead to ten and had some momentum. The crowd was into the celebration Pitt was having on their sidelines and the offense needed one yard to extend their current drive and advance past their own 30-yard line. It didn't happen. You can blame not going for it on fourth and less than a yard there. You can blame the play call. You can blame the lineup that was on the field for that critical short-yardage play. I could write an entire post second guessing why Qadree Ollison was not only not involved in that situation. Whatever the case may be, Pitt fell short on the drive and turned the ball right back over to the Tar Heels.

From that point on, the momentum was gone and the Panthers couldn't get closer until there was less than a minute left in the game. Pitt needed that conversion and they needed that drive. They had missed several opportunities earlier in the half, but it felt like they were getting into a little bit of a groove and North Carolina seemed a little rattled at that point. The previous offensive possession resulted in a touchdown and the offense was moving. They had to have that play and they did not get it.

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