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The Pitt-Iowa Turning Point: The 4th down punt

Save it. I don't care what you think. The decision to punt was the turning point in Pitt's 27-24 loss to Iowa on the road.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt made some questionable coaching decisions in Saturday night's loss to Iowa. Perhaps none was bigger than Pat Narduzzi's decision to punt on fourth and inches in the fourth quarter, our Turning point of the Game.

Despite falling behind, the Panthers hung around with Iowa. But with an offense struggling to move the ball, fans had to wonder if they could come back. They had a nice drive to start the second half, but it fizzled and Chris Blewitt pulled the Panthers to within seven points on a 48-yard field goal. A blocked punt and touchdown return gave momentum to Pitt as they tied the game.

After another quick series by Iowa, the Panthers took over on their own 20-yard line with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Pitt proceeded to go on a nine play, 33-yard drive to get to the Iowa 42-yard line. To get to that final stage, Darrin Hall stretched for a one-yard run, leaving Pitt just inches short of a first down. I cannot emphasize enough that the Hawkeyes were reeling at this point but despite Pitt having the momentum, Narduzzi decided to punt after unsuccessful efforts to draw Iowa offsides.

After a terrible Ryan Winslow punt, which made the decision seem even worse, Iowa snatched back momentum and drove 80 yards in almost seven minutes of playing time to take the lead. The Panthers fought back in tremendous fashion to tie it, only to see yet another gut wrenching way to lose a football game as time expired. There were many twists and turns, but a score (any score) by the team on that stalled drive could have resulted in a different ending.

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