Last-second field goal lifts Navy past Pitt
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Head bowed, face without expression, wide receiver Devin Street knew painfully well Saturday that Pitt threw away an opportunity to right so many wrongs.
A 24-21 loss to Navy — Nick Sloan's 30-yard field goal with no time left won it — did more than drop Pitt to 4-3.
It was another in a string of disappointing defeats that stretches back many years and several coaches. Penalties, a fumble and poor execution on defense were the culprits this time.
“We have to put the puzzle pieces together,” Street said. They're scattered right now.”
Street and quarterback Tom Savage believe they let down the person who deserves better: coach Paul Chryst.
“I say it all the time,” Savage said. “We just have to go out there and do what we're taught. The coaches are calling a great game. It is our responsibility to go out there and perform.”
After the first 20 games of his Pitt coaching career, Chryst is 10-10 and in need of an upset victory or two to salvage respectability this season.
But his team played without rhythm or crisp execution against a Navy team (4-3) that had lost three of its past four games and looked lifeless in the first half.
Seven games into the season, Pitt's offense committed five presnap penalties, and freshman running back James Conner lost a fumble in the first half that shaped the outcome. While the officials were marching off penalty yardage, Chryst could be seen seething along the sideline.
“Good teams don't do that,” Savage said.
Street, who caught nine passes for 96 yards and one of Savage's two touchdown passes, said he believes the team is good enough, but the mistakes are difficult to overcome.
“We can't come out here and play two teams at once,” said Street, who dropped a pass in the first half. “I have to step up, too. I have to look in the mirror and see what I can do better.”
Pitt was in control in the first half, but its offense couldn't sustain modest success in the running game and settled for two field goals by Chris Blewitt before Street caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Savage with 1:41 left in the half.
Even the defense looked good, forcing Navy into four three-and-out possessions when end Bryan Murphy sacked quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
That's when Reynolds grabbed command of the game with a 16-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that exhausted 8:15 spanning the third and fourth quarters.
When the midshipmen shot off the cannon to punctuate Quinton Singleton's 9-yard touchdown, Pitt looked to be in trouble.
Savage rallied the Panthers to what would have been their first fourth-quarter comeback victory in four years. But his 3-yard scoring strike to Tyler Boyd and two-point conversion toss to Street weren't enough.
Reynolds ran for 59 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter, tying the game on a 2-yard run with 3:52 remaining.
When Pitt's offense couldn't answer and punter Matt Yoklic managed only a 20-yard punt to the Pitt 49, the game was all but decided.
What was most discouraging to the coaches is that Pitt's defense couldn't stop Reynolds when it counted.
“Honestly, it's very easy (when) you are playing an option team,” Murphy said. “If you do your job, you win the game. We, obviously, didn't play well enough as a unit to win the game.”
Street, who set a Pitt record for career receptions (186), was focused on an offense that hasn't played with much continuity since an early-season victory at Duke.
“Coach Chryst puts his time and effort into this,” Street said. “He loves us. We have to make him proud.”
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.
- Offense continues to click as Panthers hold off Kent State, 85-76
- Pitt notebook: Offensive struggles continue
- Gilbert, son of ex-Pitt football standout, commits to Panthers
- Pitt notebook: Boyd undecided about leaving early for NFL
- Pitt’s Young taking a pass, improving his all-around game
- Pitt falls flat in finale loss to Miami