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The Turning Point: 4th Down Stop

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This game went back and forth the entire second half and every time Pitt seemed ready to put the finishing touches on a victory over Youngstown State, they gave up a massive play in the Panthers 45-37 win. The game had a ton of plays that seemed like they would be the turning point in the game, but one stuck out among all of them: a fourth down stand by the Pitt defense in the fourth quarter.

The second half got a little uneasy after Jody Webb, of Youngstown State, brought the Penguins withing eight points in the third quarter. Many still felt as long as Pitt kept scoring, it had no worries. After a poor offensive series, the Penguins ventured into Panther territory. They faced a fourth-and-one at Pitt's 45-yard line with just under 13 minutes remaining. Youngstown State was in need of a first down and turned to Webb to get it. The running back faced pressure as soon as he received the ball with a push by Pitt's defense. He bounced the play outside and Pitt cornerback Avonte Maddox held him up and a host of Panthers brought him down for no gain.

After that play, Chad Voytik took the next snap and hit Scott Orndoff, who wrestled the ball from a Penguins defender and fellow teammate Elijah Zeise. The play went for a 55-yard touchdown and put the Panthers up again by 15 points and Youngstown State had to wait until very late to get the ball and be within the eight point threshold again. Pitt was able to hold on for the win. You could make a case for that as play of the game, but who knows what happens if Pitt doesn't get the stop on 4th down?

It wasn't pretty and we could have selected so many plays as a turning point (i.e. Avonte Maddox' kickoff return), but this one seemed to be the play that meant the most because of the scoring strike that happened on the very next snap.

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