Pitt notebook: Panthers still winning, despite inconsistent play
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, 8:03 p.m.
One week, Pitt scored 58 points, but it followed that the next game with 47 minutes, 28 seconds of scoreless football.
Meanwhile, the defense gave up 55 points against Duke, but seven days later it allowed Virginia one field goal.
Pitt is just what coach Paul Chryst doesn't want his team to be — inconsistent.
But the Panthers are 3-1 for the first time since 2009 after defeating Virginia, 14-3, on Saturday. They appear to be, at least, watching each other's back when times are tough.
“It was a total team game,” senior wide receiver Devin Street said. “That's what we were preaching all week. We prepared for it, and it did happen. That's why the defense stepped up.
“I'm just so proud. It's really showing how much of a team we are. We still have a lot of work to do, but it's good to see that we played the game as a team.”
Chryst believes that mindset eventually may lead to consistency.
“If we keep growing and learning to play together and play off each other, then we have a chance to be better,” he said.
Chryst said Virginia linebacker Daquan Romero's hit to the head of quarterback Tom Savage is what the NCAA is trying to eliminate with its new rule that calls for the offending player to be ejected.
“Yes, I think so,” he said.
Romero wasn't ejected, however and no penalty was called. Chryst spoke to the official after the play, but he declined to reveal their conversation.
“I really believe there is not one official that isn't for that (making the game safer),” he said.
Savage suffered concussion symptoms after the hit and did not finish the game. A Pitt spokesman said Chryst had no comment on Savage's condition.
Pitt is off this week before visiting Virginia Tech on Oct. 12.
While the offense struggled to score points, wide receivers Street and Tyler Boyd remained at or near the top of the ACC leaders in reception yardage per game. Street is first with 111.2, and Boyd is third at 106.2.
Street, who is in his fourth season after redshirting as a freshman, moved to within one reception of second place on Pitt's all-time list. He has 172, one short of Antonio Bryant, who played three seasons. Latef Grim (1998-2000) is the career leader with 178. With 58 yards, Street moved into fifth place with 2,492. He passed Greg Lee (2003-05).
Boyd is the second freshman in Pitt history with more than 100 yards receiving in three consecutive games. Bryant did it in 1999.
Also, defensive tackle Aaron Donald shares the conference lead in sacks (six) with Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley.
Pitt's defense allowed three points against Virginia after giving up 123 in the first three games. ... It was the first time since the Virginia Tech game in 2011 that Virginia did not score a touchdown. ... Pitt's 14-point total was its lowest in a victory since defeating West Virginia, 13-9, in 2007 . ... Pitt special teams improved coverage, limiting Virginia to an average of 3.5 and 15 yards on punt and kickoff returns, but Chris Blewitt missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt. ... Pitt announced a crowd of 48,425.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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