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Pitt vs. Notre Dame: Breaking Down the Two Deep

Looking at Pitt's depth chart for the showdown with Notre Dame

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

QB  - 1. Nate Peterman   2. Chad Voytik

Nate Peterman threw for 262 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for another 41 yards against North Carolina. On paper, it looked like a solid performance, but there was definitely some issues last week.  Pitt is probably not going to be very successful when they ask Peterman to attempt 42 passes. Peterman is a solid game manager, and handles the offense well without committing turnovers, but he's not the type of quarterback that is going to go out and win you a game by himself. He looked shaky in the second half, and really looked overwhelmed a times in the second half. Peterman needs to make some big throws this week, and will hopefully get some more help from the running game against the Irish.

RB -  1. Qadree Ollison OR Chris James OR Darrin Hall

Qadree Ollison rushed 10 times for 54 yards and a score last week. It was the fewest amount of carries for Ollison since he had only four touches against Iowa. There has been talk about some poor pass blocking factored into his limited role in the second half.  It is hardly an issue, and Ollison will have every opportunity to have a big game this week.

Co-starter Chris James had 12 carries for 44 yards and recorded two catches for seven yards against North Carolina.  James seemed to get more looks in the second half, and to me there isn't much separation between Ollison and him. The hot hand will play, and James definitely brings more of a speed element. I think the staff can continue to split the carries and plays between the two backs, but they could go about it better. Each guy has different strengths and weaknesses, and there have been times where James has been in there on a play more suited for Ollison, and vice versa, hopefully they can find that right balance this week.

Darrin Hall is listed as an "OR" starter this week after not playing at all last week. Through eight games this season, Hall has had three solid games and five where he has been non-existent.

FB - 1. George Aston   2. Colton Lively  3. Anthony Rippole

George Aston had two catches for nine yards last week.  Actually, all nine yards came on one of the catches, while the other went for no gain.  He is up to five catches for 18 yards on the year.

WR -  1. Tyler Boyd Dontez Ford 2. Zach Challingsworth  Jester Weah  3. Tre Tipton Elijah Zeise  4. Quadree Henderson

Tyler Boyd had another Fred Biletnikoff award type performance last week. He came down with 10 catches for 89 yards and two carries for eight yards.  Boyd has caught just about everything that has come his way this year, but the one thing lacking is his open field running.  Pitt has not gotten Boyd in space enough or he hasn't been good enough in open field running.  Pitt sorely needs a big play or two this week against Notre Dame and Boyd is capable of that.

Dontez Ford has really stepped up in recent week. He hauled in four passes last week, the second straight game he has done that.  Ford is up to 16 receptions for 328 yards on the year. He is averaging 20.8 yards per catch and has proven to be a very good deep threat.  Zach Challingsworth is slowly starting to emerge as a decent third option. He caught three passes last week, and is starting to see more action each week. Elijah Zeise had a catch for ten yards late in the game, his first since the opener against Youngstown State.

TE -  1. JP Holtz   2. Scott Orndoff   3. Jaymar Parrish

Once again, the tight ends had a nice showing. Holtz recorded three catches for 49 yards against North Carolina last week.  Scott Orndoff came down with Pitt's final touchdown of the game against the Tar Heels, his fourth scoring catch on the year.   Pitt will need some big catches from the tight ends this week.  It may be a while back, but Holtz has had some success against Notre Dame earlier in his career, and he has voiced his distaste for the Irish in the past.

LT -  1. Adam Bisnowaty 2. Aaron Reese

LG - 1. Dorian Johnson 2. John Guy

C -  1. Artie Rowell 2. Gabe Roberts

RG -  1. Alex Officer 2. Alex Bookser  3. Mike Herndon

RT - 1. Brian O'Neill  2. Alex Bookser 3. Carson Baker

Pitt rolled up 415 yards of offense against North Carolina last week.  The Panthers even held the edge in time of possession with 35:15 to 24:45.  Pitt picked up a whooping 25 first downs in the game as well. Obviously the game plan was to hold the ball and control the line of scrimmage, and for the most part - they did that.  Pitt settled for field goals too often, throw in with some dropped passes, some sacks, and just general mistakes - you see what happened with Pitt's final score.  It was not a great performance for the line, or the entire offense for that matter, but they had chances to take advantage of field position, and never capitalized.

DE -  1. Rori Blair  Ejuan Price 2. Shakir Soto James Folston Allen Edwards

Rori Blair is now listed as the full-time starter once again after being an "OR" the past two weeks.  Pitt's pass rush was very poor last week, and well the past three games for that matter. They need to come up with a big game this week if they have any hope of coming up with the upset.  Notre Dame presents a lot of challenges with their offensive skilled player.

DT  - 1. Darryl Render 2. Mark Scarpinato 3. Jeremiah Taleni

Pitt will need to be ready for the running ability of C.J. Prosise for the Irish.  He is one of the top backs in the country, and the Irish will try to pound it right at Pitt's defensive front.  The Panthers had some trouble with Elijah Hood of North Carolina last week, but they also kept him in check at times, too.  Obviously this week will present a bigger challenge.

NT -  1. Tyrique Jarrett  2. Khaynin Mosley-Smith 3. Justin Moody

Khaynin Mosley-Smith had three tackles last week, including .5 for loss.  Jarrett only posted one tackle.  The Notre Dame line is big and athletic, and both of the nose tackles will need to take up space and more than one blocker.

Star Linebacker - 1. Nicholas Grigsby 2. Matt Steinbeck  3. Jameel Poteat

Nicholas Grigsby will have his hands full this week with containing Notre Dame's QB, DeShone Kizer.  Pitt had a ton of trouble with Marquise Williams last week, and Kizer presents the same challenge.

Mike Linebacker  -  1. Matt Galambos 2. Quintin Wirginis

The theme of the week obviously, is slowing down the dynamic Notre Dame offense.  Galambos has been very good this season, and he may need to come up with a big sack or interception for Pitt this week.  He converted a fake punt last week, and he continues to come up with a big play per game.  Wirginis also had a huge play, as he came in and blocked a punt to start the second half.

Money Linebacker - 1. Bam Bradley 2. Mike Caprara 3. Jamal Davis II

Bradley had three tackles (.5 for loss) last week. Bradley is a very athletic player, and will need to have a big game this week, as he is one of the few true athletes that can hang with a very talented Notre Dame team.

CB -  1. Avonte Maddox Lafayette Pitts 2. Ryan Lewis Phillipie Motley  3. Dennis Briggs

Avonte Maddox came up with eight tackles last week, and for his size, he is not afraid to stick his nose in there. He had a better week in pass coverage, but still has regressed a bit from the start of the season in that area.  Lafayette Pitts was picked on a good bit last week, and did not have a strong game as a lot of big plays happened on his watch.   One of these two guys will be matched up with Notre Dame's WIll Fuller, who is arguably the best receiver in the country.

FS - 1. Terrish Webb OR Pat Amara   2. Reggie Mitchell

Terrish Webb and Pat Amara get listed as "OR" starters once again. Amara seemed to get more looks last week, as Webb still didn't seem 100%.  Hopefully Webb is good to go this week at full strength.

SS -  1. Jordan Whitehead 2. Jevonte Pitts

Jordan Whitehead was credited with 10 tackles last week, his third career game with double figures.

K - Chris Blewitt P - Ryan Winslow  LS  - Pat Quirin/David Murphy

Chris Blewitt went 2-3 on field goal attempts last week, and is up to 11-16 for the year.  He uncharacteristically missed an extra point late in the game.

KR - Boyd, Maddox, Pitts, Ford     PR - 1. Maddox   2.  Boyd  3. Whitehead

It is notable that Maddox is now officially listed as the team's starting punt returner.