Pitt notebook: Boyd playing beyond his years
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, 3:57 p.m.
Circumstances have forced Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd to grow up quickly, and he has been willing to shoulder that responsibility.
With his first season winding down, Boyd finds himself leading the country's freshmen in receptions with 68, one short of Larry Fitzgerald's Pitt freshman record set in 2002.
His presence became pivotal Saturday, when he was quarterback Tom Savage's No. 1 target in a 17-16 victory at Syracuse. With Devin Street out for all but the first series, Boyd caught 10 passes for 82 yards. It marked the second time this season he has reached double-digit receptions — he had 11 for 118 yards at Georgia Tech.
“I feel like a freshman,” said Boyd, who turned 20 this month. “When I go out there and play, I don't play as a freshman. I feel everybody out there playing is equal. The class doesn't mean anything.”
Boyd plays with confidence that contradicts his inexperience.
“I probably have more athleticism than some of the older guys we are playing (against),” he said, “so they don't take me as a freshman.”
Boyd has 903 receiving yards with a chance Friday against Miami to reach 1,000 yards, something that has been done only seven times at Pitt. Fitzgerald holds the freshman record with 1,005.
Boyd's nearest competition for the freshman pass-catching title is Western Michigan's Corey Davis (64), who ends his season Tuesday at No. 18 Northern Illinois.
Boyd's role could grow while Street is dealing with ankle and elbow injuries.
Street, whose return is uncertain, passed the 2,900 career mark in receiving yards (2,901) with two catches for 7 yards before sitting out the rest of the game.
Pitt (6-5, 3-4) joined 9 ACC schools on the FBS bowl-eligible list. Syracuse could make it 11 of 14 teams if it defeats Boston College on Saturday.
The Panthers' destination is unclear, but defensive tackle Aaron Donald, whose next stop is the NFL, doesn't care where he goes for the postseason.
“I get to be a college kid a little longer,” he said.
Pitt can improve its bowl status by beating Miami on Friday at Heinz Field. Among the possibilities in order of prestige are: the Music City Bowl in Nashville (Dec. 30, SEC opponent), Advocare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La. (Dec. 31, SEC), Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md. (Dec. 27, Conference USA or MAC team), Little Caesars Pizza in Detroit (Dec. 26, MAC) and the Pointsettia Bowl in San Diego (Dec. 26, Mountain West).
Miami is coming to Pittsburgh for a late-season game for the first time since 2003.
Temperatures are predicted to reach no higher than the 30s, which players such as Miami sophomore cornerback Tracy Howard never have experienced.
“I'm from Miami. I've never played in weather like that,” Howard said. “The coldest weather I've played in was at Duke last year, and it was in the 50s.”
Miami is 5-0 all-time in Pittsburgh in November.
Junior fullback Mark Giubilato isn't always on the field when Pitt has the ball, but he threw the key block that allowed Isaac Bennett to score on the decisive 5-yard touchdown run against Syracuse. … The Panthers had no second-half comeback victories in the previous three seasons, but they have two in the past three weeks (Notre Dame and Syracuse). … Freshman kicker Chris Blewitt extended his successful field-goal string to seven, with five being 42 yards or longer. ... Donald was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after recording nine tackles, 31⁄2 for a loss, two hurries and a blocked extra-point attempt.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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.
- Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
- Pitt QB Savage turns down NYC invite to NFL Draft
- Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach
- Pitt QBs show they can adapt to change
- Pitt displays football program for fans as spring practice closes