Pitt and Syracuse were about halfway through a surprisingly competitive conference matchup on Saturday afternoon when the teams were called off the field and the stands were cleared for a weather delay as a torrential downpour let loose over Heinz Field around 2:20 p.m. ET
Around 2:30 p.m., Lericia Harris of Raycom Sports initially reported that the weather delay was expected to last between 30 minutes and an hour. However, Pitt later specified that play would resume at 3:25 p.m.
⚡ Update ⚡— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 6, 2018
Pitt-Syracuse to resume at 3:25 p.m.
For the Panthers, the timing was a bit unfortunate, as the team was off to its best start to a second half all season. In fact, the call came down right after wide receiver Rafael Araujo-Lopes ran a short pass in for a touchdown from 68 yards out, putting Pitt up 27-17 over Syracuse.
While rest can be helpful, delays like this have caused Pitt to unravel in recent history. One such instance that comes to mind is Pitt’s ill-fated matchup with Oklahoma State in Stillwater back in 2016. In that game, the Panthers found themselves in a shootout with the Cowboys and were tied 38-38 with 12:55 left in the fourth quarter. Then lightning struck, prompting a two-hour delay.
When the two teams resumed play, Pitt seemed to have lost a step and Oklahoma State seemed positively rejuvenated. As a result, the Cowboys came back for a 45-38 win, and Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy credited the weather delay with the result.
”I’ll be real honest with you, the delay saved us,” Gundy told the Associated Press after the game. “We got a lot of coaching out of it. When the delay happened, I was OK with it, because I felt like we needed it to make some corrections. I felt like this was a good thing for us.”
While Pitt’s recent history does not paint an optimistic picture of what’s to come on the other side of the delay, Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers will likely attempt to make the most of the break and work toward a much-needed win, which would take them to 3-3 on the season.