Observations from Pitt’s opening-night loss to Virginia
Some thoughts the day after the Pitt Panthers’ opening-night 30-14 loss to Virginia:
• Pitt still has trouble completing passes to the tight end. Will Gragg caught three passes for 4 yards and Rutgers transfer Nakia Griffin-Stewart dropped a pass on third down.
• Maurice Ffrench, Taysir Mack and Tre Tipton were the only wide receivers to catch passes. Aaron Mathews was targeted three times and sophomore Shocky Jacques-Louis never got on the field. Dontavious Butler-Jenkins was not involved in the passing game at all.
• Pitt kept heat on Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins in the first half, but all three sacks occurred before halftime.
• All six quarterback hurries came from down linemen Amir Watts, Keyshon Camp and Patrick Jones II.
• Take away Virginia’s four sacks and Kenny Pickett had eight rushing attempts – as many as A.J. Davis — when he couldn’t find an open receiver in time. He totaled 44 yards on plays when he wasn’t sacked.
• Senior linebacker Saleem Brightwell was in street clothes on the Pitt bench.
• Pitt’s defense recorded seven TFLs, with nine players participating. The leader was defensive end Deslin Alexandre (1 1/2), who started in place of the injured Rashad Weaver.
• Former lineman Rashad Wheeler (Central Catholic) started at fullback, but he had no carries or receptions.
• Strong safety Paris Ford was all over the field, forcing a fumble, recording half a TFL and finishing second on the team to free safety Damar Hamlin in total tackles (six). Hamlin had seven.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .