Pitt notebook: High hit on WR Street within the rules
BLACKSBURG, Va. — The worst bit of news that emerged from Pitt's 19-9 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday had nothing to do with the final score.
Senior wide receiver Devin Street suffered a right shoulder injury in the fourth quarter after he was leveled by Hokies defensive back Kyshoen Jarrett at the end of a 33-yard reception.
“He's hurting a little bit,” coach Paul Chryst said. “I talked to him real quick. (He said) kind of what you want your guys to say, ‘I'll be back and be ready for next week.'
“But he took a shot.”
At first glance, the hit appeared to be helmet to helmet, which is grounds for ejection in the NCAA this season. But Jarrett actually threw his shoulder into Street, albeit with great force.
ACC head of officials Doug Rhoads said Jarrett stayed within the rules. Rhoads told reporters Jarrett didn't lead with the crown of his helmet and Street wasn't a defenseless player because he was carrying the ball after making the catch.
Street led Pitt with five receptions for 104 yards, including gains of 48 and 33. That makes three 100-yard games for Street this season. With 177 catches, he is one short of the Pitt all-time record set by Latef Grim from 1998-2000.
With freshman running back James Conner lost in the first quarter to a left shoulder injury, Isaac Bennett and freshman Rachid Ibrahim had the bulk of the workload for the Panthers. Bennett finished with 31 yards on seven carries, and Ibrahim had 17 yards on five carries.
Quarterback Tom Savage, who spent the past two weeks recovering from a head injury suffered in the Virginia game, said he came out of the game fine physically.
“I'm great,” he said.
He scored Pitt's only touchdown on a 9-yard designed run in the fourth quarter.
A pocket passer, Savage said there aren't many of those plays in the playbook for him.
“You have to take advantage of them,” he said.
Senior Aaron Donald's two sacks give him 26 1⁄2 for his career, tying him for fourth on Pitt's all-time list with Zeke Gadson (1984-87) and Keith Hamilton (1989-91). Next up is Tony Woods, who had 31 from 1983-86.
The leaders are Hugh Green (49, from 1977-80) and Randy Holloway (33 1⁄2, 1974-77).
Thomas steps up
Linebacker Todd Thomas led Pitt with 12 tackles, and he admitted that the defense improved after allowing a touchdown and field goal in the game's first 11 minutes.
“Just reading my keys, just like in practice,” he said. “I'm just doing what the defense is designed for me to do. That's why I'm coming up with the plays.
“But at the end of the day, as a team, we lost.” After allowing 55 points to Duke, Pitt has given up only one touchdown in the past two games.