Pitt defense sacks Ohio in 1st win of season | TribLIVE.com
Pitt

Pitt defense sacks Ohio in 1st win of season

Jerry DiPaola
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio01-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Maurice Ffrench step out of the tackle attempt by Ohio’s Jamal Hudson on the way to a second-quarter touchdown Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio03-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Vincent Davis avoids Ohio’s Jarren Hampton as he scores a touchdown in the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio02-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Habakkuk Baldonado, Jason Pinnock and Paris Ford get to Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke for a sack Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio09-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s John Morgan takes down Ohio’s O’Shaan Allison on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio07-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Tre Tipton pulls in a catch against Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio05-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi on the sideline against on Ohio Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio16-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Elias Reynolds celebrates with Jaylen Twyman after Twymana’s sack against Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio18-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Vincent Davis gets past Ohio’s Ilyaas Motley on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio14-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Patrick Jones II pressures Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio12-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Dane Jackson defends a pass intended for Ohio’s Ryan Luehrman Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio10-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s A.J. Davis steps through the tackle attempt by Ohio’s Javon Hagan Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio15-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Jaylen Twyman sacks Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio08-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Alex Kessman kicks a field goal against Ohio Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio06-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Maurice Ffrench takes it to the house against Ohio in the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio04-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Cam Bright takes down Ohio’s Julian Ross on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio17-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Vincent Davis stiff-arms Ohio’s Jamal Hudson on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio13-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Cam Bright fights for a tipped ball with Ohio’s Isiah Cox Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio20-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett throws against Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio19-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt’s Nakia Griffin-Stewart gets past Ohio’s Javon Hagan Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.
1644107_web1_gtr-PittOhio11-090719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt student section during the Ohio game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 at Heinz Field.

Victories in football generally are awarded to teams that block and tackle, catch and throw better than the opponent.

Sometimes, however, the right words in the days leading up to the game play a role that shouldn’t be minimized.

Such was the case for Pitt and sophomore defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman, who recorded three of Pitt’s six sacks Saturday in the Panthers’ 20-10 victory against Ohio at Heinz Field.

Pitt lost defensive tackle Keyshon Camp to a season-ending knee injury last week. That makes two key linemen whose seasons ended almost before they started, with Camp joining defensive end Rashad Weaver, who suffered a knee injury in training camp.

So, Camp took it upon himself to make sure those players who are expected to make up for his absence knew the seriousness of the situation.

“Once I found out, Keyshon was injured,” Twyman said, “me and him had a talk in the hallway. He was just saying, ‘You have to step up more and be more vocal.’ I took that into consideration and just went out and performed.”

Twyman, who is the first Pitt tackle with three sacks in a game since Aaron Donald in 2011, also called aside redshirt freshmen tackles Devin Danielson (Thomas Jefferson), David Green (Central Catholic) and Tyler Bentley and told them, “We just have to cover for those guys and have their back.”

“We took it as a great challenge.”

As a result, Danielson and ends Patrick Jones II and Habakkuk Baldonado recorded three of Pitt’s five quarterback hurries. That’s a total of 11 pressures on the quarterback.

Pitt’s defense, especially the linemen, was dominant most of the game, collapsing the pocket around Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke, who was weakened the night before the game by a fever and was not completely well, according to coach Frank Solich.

Pitt still hasn’t recorded a turnover this season — the streak stretches back to the last two games of 2018 — but the Panthers held the Bobcats to 212 yards, less than half of Pitt’s total of 481.

“I thought our defense played outstanding,” coach Pat Narduzzi said.

Narduzzi was so sure of his defense he made a strange decision early in the third quarter while Pitt was holding a 17-3 lead.

With Pitt handed a third-and-5 at its 47 after the Bobcats jumped offsides, Narduzzi declined the penalty and took the result of the play that gave him fourth-and-1 at the Ohio 49. Running back Vincent Davis was dropped for a 3-yard loss and Ohio had the ball in good field position at the Pitt 48.

Didn’t matter.

Rourke was sacked by linebackers Wendell Davis and Kylan Johnson and Ohio was forced to punt, one of its 10 in the game.

“We don’t get (the first down) and (the defense) bowed up,” Narduzzi said.

Ohio (1-1) finally scored on a 7-yard run by De’Montre Tuggle after a 75-yard drive. But Ohio’s 10 points were the fewest scored by an FBS team against Pitt since a 42-10 victory over Rice in 2017.

“I thought the defense played really good against a very good football team,” Narduzzi said. “They’re going to win the MAC, OK. Mark my words.”

Narduzzi was less complimentary of his offense, even after quarterback Kenny Pickett recorded personal bests in completions (26) and passing yards (321) on 37 attempts. That makes 78 throws in two weeks. He didn’t reach that number last year until the fourth game.

“Obviously, it’s a good win,” Narduzzi said. “There’s no such thing as a bad win. But there are still a lot of things we’ve got to clean up.”

That includes finishing drives with touchdowns. Pitt only had Alex Kessman’s 41-yard field goal – his second of the game – to show for its second-half efforts.

Also, Pitt committed three false starts among 10 penalties for a loss of 75 yards.

“We may have had two (false starts) the entire month of August,” Narduzzi said. “We just don’t do that. So, I don’t get that at all.

“But the offense bounced back. Didn’t score as many points as we’d like to score.”

Pitt recorded its fewest points in a victory since beating Virginia Tech, 17-13, in 2015.

“That’s the other disappointing thing,” Narduzzi said. “We have to finish drives. But we were hit with some crazy penalties that we just can’t have.”

Get the latest news about Pitt football and all things Panthers athletics.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pitt
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.