There was more hype before the Pitt-Penn State game than a pre Donald Trump rally/watermelon brunch. There was talk about this, that and the other. Pitt won by the score of 42-39 and that score was a sure indicator that alas, no one including me came close to getting it right.
If anyone says that the game was decided through their personal methods of prognostication, (otherwise known as fantasy football) or that they had a gut feeling or any other feeling that the renewal of the rivalry between these two football programs would produce 81 points, well let’s just say I would take that with not one but a few grains of salt.
Pitt had 56 rushing attempts for 359 yards which was a whopping 6.1 yards per carry. However, Panthers QB Nathan Peterman only completed 11-15 passes for a miniscule 91 yards.
Now hear this, now see this, now taste this, now smell this. The Pitt Panthers, the New England Patriots or the Toronto Argonauts are not going to gain 359 rushing yards against Oklahoma State when they travel to Stillwater, OK to face the Cowboys on September 17th.
The Pitt passing game had better “juice up” post haste even if they do nothing more than throw screen passes for almost 60 minutes.
Of course Pitt is going to attempt to rush the football because there is a certain machismo in trying to run the football down your opponents’ throat. However, therein lies the danger of total demoralization when your offense doesn’t reach their own 30 yard line, time and time again, resulting in punt after punt giving the opponent optimum field position and as we all know, field position in regards to football is like real estate; victories and happiness generally depend upon, location, location, location.
After Oklahoma State pulverized their season opener opponent South Eastern Louisiana 61-7, (is SE Louisiana really a NCAA College football team?), the Cowboys lost their second game of the season, 30-27 when they faced off against Central Michigan.
This weekend they face Pitt and by all preseason prognostications, at this time Oklahoma State expected to be sitting pretty at 3-0. In the 2 games so far this season SE Louisiana and Central Michigan averaged over 515 yards against Oklahoma State but only 154 yards rushing. Now you tell me, should Pitt focus on the passing game or the running game?
Now there are other factors to take into consideration before Pitt goes “pass happy.” Communication in the passing game is far more difficult on the road, in a hostile, loud and vociferous environment than the peachy crowds that they play in front of at Heinz Field, nevertheless, its all about winning on the road baby.
All teams performing in any sport need a few “road kills” to truly legitimize their competitive spirit. There is no better feeling that seeing a home crowd, exit the venue after their team has suffered a crushing defeat, no longer in a “rabid” state of mind.
For their own sake Pitt had better call the TSA and inform them that for the Oklahoma State game, they are going to be traveling on “Air Henderson” because they may give “Mega-bus Conner” a break this week.
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.583.6741
Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe