Pitt notebook: Chryst disappointed in special teams breakdowns
DURHAM, N.C. — Let the record show that Pitt's defense allowed Duke to amass 532 yards of offense Saturday in a 58-55 victory at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Not included in that total, however, are Duke's 211 return yards that, combined with other special-teams mistakes, nearly cost Pitt (2-1, 1-1) its first ACC victory.
It started when freshman kicker Chris Blewitt missed an extra-point attempt — the Panthers' fourth in the past eight seasons — after the first touchdown.
Then Duke defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento blocked a 24-yard field-goal attempt that wasted a 19-yard interception return by safety Jason Hendricks to the Duke 42.
It got worse just before halftime when Duke's Jamison Crowder, who scored two other touchdowns from scrimmage on run and pass plays, returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. That turned what had been a 27-7 Pitt advantage into a 30-28 lead.
The game appeared to be slipping away with 4:29 left when punter Matt Yoklic dropped a snap at the Pitt 30, setting up Duke's final touchdown and the second by quarterback Brandon Connette.
“Our coverage units, special teams in general, all four phases,” coach Paul Chryst said, pointing out one of the areas where Pitt needs to improve.
The good news: Special teams recovered two Duke onside kicks in the fourth quarter, and Blewitt's 24-yard field goal in the second quarter turned out to be the margin of victory.
Bad Friday night
After arriving in Durham on Friday, Tyler Boyd and Kevin Weatherspoon of Clairton said they listened to — and suffered through — the end of their school's 66-game winning streak, a 42-24 loss to Monessen.
“It hurt me,” Boyd said. “It felt like I was there. I didn't want to hear it anymore. The best I can do is go out here and represent for my city and help us win.”
Weatherspoon said he wanted to be there to talk his former teammates at halftime.
“They are real young, but by the time they are juniors and seniors they are going to come a long way,” he said.
Boyd recorded his second consecutive 100-yard game (eight catches, 154 yards and three touchdowns), but he said he took a knee to his thigh late in the game and wasn't on the field for the final series when Pitt was clinging to a three-point lead.
Boyd said he was torn between protecting the injury and returning to the field.
“I didn't want to go out there and risk even more injury,” he said. “(But) I wanted to still be able to help my team. I didn't want to be stuck on the sideline and watch. I'm the type of player, I just want to make plays and help the team win. But I had to do the best thing that was for me.”
Chryst said Boyd was “beat up a little bit.”
“I thought we had a lot of guys who did spend themselves ... but he wasn't in on that last one,” Chryst said.
Defensive end Bryan Murphy hurt his ankle last week and didn't play.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Amara offers Vision of hope
- Pitt notebook: Defense shows up in scrimmage
- Howland: Pederson deserves more credit at Pitt
- Pitt baseball enjoying rise in expectations
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills
- Pitt adds quarterback recruit from Cincinnati
- Firm compiling list of candidates for Pitt AD position
- Pitt heavily vested in linebackers’ progress
- Pitt women’s basketball team excited for future