Pitt notebook: Injuries force Chryst to juggle offensive line
ATLANTA — Two Pitt offensive linemen have complained of a sore back in the past two weeks, forcing coach Paul Chryst to restructure his starting lineup before the Panthers' game against Georgia Tech on Saturday night.
The result was that freshman Dorian Johnson made his first start, replacing redshirt freshman Adam Bisnowaty. At left guard, Ryan Schlieper started for the second week in a row in place of Cory King.
Bisnowaty was inserted in the second quarter when Chris Blewitt kicked a 44-yard field goal.
Pitt's line struggled in the first quarter. Johnson allowed Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu a clear path to quarterback Tom Savage for a sack on the first series. On the second series, no one accounted for middle linebacker Jaban Hunt-Days, who tackled running back James Conner in the backfield on a third-and-1.
Pitt failed to record a first down on each of its first three possessions and trailed Georgia Tech, 7-0 (points) and 131-1 (yards) at the end of the first quarter.
But it wasn't all bad news for the line. Center Artie Rowell made his first career catch when Savage was hit just as he released the football. Georgia Tech's stat crew credited Rowell, a redshirt sophomore, with a reception after the Yellow Jackets declined the ineligible-receiver penalty.
New look on defense
Middle linebacker Shane Gordon (collarbone) also missed his second consecutive game and was replaced by Nicholas Grigsby in the starting lineup and, later, freshman Matt Galambos, who recovered a Georgia Tech fumble in the first quarter.
Darryl Render started at defensive tackle in place of defensive co-captain and senior Tyrone Ezell.
Notre Dame next
Kickoff time for the Notre Dame game next Saturday at Heinz Field will be announced no later than noon Sunday. Notre Dame (7-2) and six others from Pitt's first eight opponents entered Saturday's games with winning records.
Pitt quarterback recruit Wade Freebeck threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score Friday to lead district champion St. Thomas Aquinas (8-1) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to a 16-6 victory against Plantation.
Freebeck converted a third and 11 with a 23-yard completion to set up his touchdown run on an option-fake play. The scoring pass was a fourth-and-6 screen from the Plantation 30-yard line in which Freebeck let the rush come to him before releasing the football.
For the season, St. Thomas Aquinas, which has played games in NFL stadiums in New Orleans and Miami, has outscored its opponents 367-57.
Before the game, St. Thomas Aquinas was ranked No. 20 in the nation by MaxPreps. Plantation is one of the top teams in the state, with two prospects headed to Florida and Arkansas.
— Jerry DiPaola
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.