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The Turning Point: A Bad Snap

A bad snap led to an 18-yard loss and put Nathan Peterman out for the game. The Pitt offense never recovered.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Northwestern vs Pittsburgh William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

I’d love for anyone that reads this to chime in below to let me know what you think was the turning point of Pitt’s seven point loss to Northwestern yesterday. There are so many plays. We can look at the first quarter with Pitt up by three and George Aston slipping on third down followed by James Conner missing on fourth down, from the one. We can look at Nathan Peterman’s interception at the goal line. Quadree Henderson’s fumble in the fourth quarter killed some momentum. All are strong arguments, but we’re going to go to the third quarter with just under 5 minutes remaining and Pitt trailing by four.

The Panthers had second down and 10 to go deep in Northwestern territory...the Wildcats’ 13-yard line to be exact. The Panthers were already without James Conner, Darrin Hall and a couple of plays before Dorian Johnson went down with an injury. Things were getting thin and Pitt needed everyone they could get to keep the offense moving. Unfortunately, a recurring problem, this season, reared its ugly head again...a bad snap.

Center Alex Officer snapped the ball wide of Peterman, who scrambled to pick up the ball and try to salvage the play. As he was being sacked, the senior QB was leveled on a vicious hit. The combination of Joe Gaziano and Xavier Washington seemed to show a bad helmet to helmet hit. Not only did Pitt drop 18 yards on the play, forcing a third and 28, but Peterman left the game for good after one more play. The Panther offense had a lot of trouble giving any downfield threat with Ben DiNucci at quarterback. The red-shirt freshman put forth a nice effort, but the Wildcats turned up the pressure with Peterman out.

A couple of plays later, Chris Blewitt missed a field goal. Pitt was actually able to take a lead, after this, and threatened to tie the game later on too, but Peterman’s absence, coupled with the other injuries, really took away a lot of the threat of Pitt’s offense. It was tough to see from an offense that hummed along at such a great pace all year long.

It was a disappointing loss, as I believe Pitt is now the only ACC team to lose their bowl game so far this season. Pitt finishes 8-5 for the second straight year and overall, did not play exceptionally well against a team that I think most of us thought they could handle.

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