clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Preview: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. the Pittsburgh Panthers

New, 6 comments

It's Preview Time. The history with Pittsburgh isn't happy. Even with a near split at 8 wins for us, 7 for them, Tech has struggled against the renewed "relationship" with the Panthers. We have yet to win in Heinz Field, and we have only one win in the last 5 seasons. Time to put this jinx to rest. #ThisGameThisTeamRightNow

We need to do lots of this on Thursday
We need to do lots of this on Thursday
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

There are no other ways around this game.  As Bud Foster has said, this is a "need to win" not a "want to win" game.  There is history, both current ACC and old Big East, between these teams and none of it has been particularly balanced.  Since the series started in 1993, the split between us is 8 -€” 7, yes.  That's a one game differential that looks "even".  However, that doesn't really show the truth of what has been going on between these teams.   Tech dominated the pairing between 1993 and 2000 with 7 wins and one loss.  What's really odd and alarming about the entire series is the fact that Tech has only won a single contest since the renewed match-up started in the 2012 season, and it was at home in Lane Stadium.

Yes, there is some merit to the sentiment that we have a new coach, a new offense, and a new sense of energy and urgency.  The fact remains that the bulk of the players on THIS particular team have not won a game against Pitt, either home or away, and the reaction to that reality is going to be telling for the remainder of the season.

It's going to be telling because the simple fact of tie breakers remains in effect.  If we beat the Panthers, short of a total meltdown, we'll probably also win the Coastal.  The other fact remains in effect, if we lose to the Panthers we probably play in a booger on New Year's week.

So Bryan ran some of Pitt's facts and figures across the screen, yesterday.

The History of Pitt vs. Tech

Season

Date

Site

Score (VT-Opp)

2015

Sat., Oct 3, 2015

Blacksburg, Va. *

L, 13-17

2014

Thu., Oct 16, 2014

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

L, 16-21

2013

Sat., Oct 12, 2013

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 19-9

2012

Sat., Sep 15, 2012

Pittsburgh, Pa.

L, 17-35

2003

Sat., Nov 8, 2003

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

L, 28-31

2002

Sat., Nov 2, 2002

Blacksburg, Va. *

L, 21-28

2001

Sat., Nov 3, 2001

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

L, 7-38

2000

Sat., Oct 28, 2000

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 37-34

1999

Sat., Oct 30, 1999

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

W, 30-17

1998

Sat., Sep 26, 1998

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 27-7

1997

Sat., Nov 22, 1997

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

L, 23-30

1996

Sat., Oct 26, 1996

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 34-17

1995

Sat., Sep 30, 1995

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

W, 26-16

1994

Sat., Oct 22, 1994

Blacksburg, Va. *

W, 45-7

1993

Sat., Sep 11, 1993

Pittsburgh, Pa. *

W, 63-21

Games: 15

Overall Record: 8-7   Conference Record: 8-6

Home: 5-2   Away: 3-5

So going over those issues is sort of redundant.  What isn't redundant, though are the actual stat line that Pitt is putting up this year.

Passing:

Completions

Attmepts

Yards

Avg

Yds/G

TD

Int

SAC

QBR

Nathan Peterman

100

158

1252

7.9

178.9

11

2

5

150.3

Nathan Peterman is Pitt's only statistically significant quarterback for the Panthers.  His numbers aren't huge, but his efficiency isn't bad, and what's important is that he is careful with the football.  His Offensive line does an ok job with slightly less than a sack a game, but that might also be due to the fact that Peterman is Pitt's third leading rusher with about 3.3 yards per average and slightly over 130 yards on the ground.  This might not seem particularly significant, but Peterman is good enough to keep from being tackled for a loss and that keeps his team ahead of the sticks.

Pitt's Rushing Stats are Interesting in their completely scattered nature.  It seems that half the offense runs the ball for something.  James Conner is their "feature back" and is leading with seven touchdowns, followed by George Aston who looks like a reliable short yardage fullback if in numbers, only.

There is no one big standout in this pack, but that just means that anyone can hurt you.

Rushing:

Attempts

Total

Avg/G

Avg

Long

TD

James Conner

124

531

75.9

4.3

32

7

Quadree Henderson

32

349

49.9

10.9

50

3

Chawntez Moss

36

223

44.6

6.2

41

1

Nathan Peterman

40

133

19.0

3.3

30

1

Jordan Whitehead

9

98

19.6

10.9

28

0

Qadree Ollison

22

91

15.2

4.1

18

1

Darrin Hall

21

82

20.5

3.9

20

0

George Aston

15

65

10.8

4.3

14

4

Tre Tipton

11

61

12.2

5.5

21

0

Maurice Ffrench

6

27

9.0

4.5

11

1

Brian O'Neill

1

24

24.0

24.0

24

1

The Pitt passing game is not its strong suit.  There don't seem to be really any standout receivers, and there isn't a tremendous game breaking ability in the current pack.  That doesn't mean that Pitt can't pass or doesn't score from the air, it just means that there is a good scattering of receivers getting targets without a ton of concentration on any one or two.

Receiving:

Rec

Yds

Avg/G

Avg

Long

TD

Jester Weah

19

402

67.0

21.2

60

4

Scott Orndoff

17

228

38.0

13.4

74

2

James Conner

15

197

28.1

13.1

55

2

Quadree Henderson

17

174

24.9

10.2

24

1

Tre Tipton

10

98

19.6

9.8

16

1

George Aston

9

54

9.0

6.0

16

1

What must be noted, and will kill us if we don't, is that James Conner is not just the third leading rusher, but he's also the third leading pass receiver with two touchdowns, and 15 receptions.  That means that he's going to be going out for passes.  We need to be ready for Conner to be involved as a receiver as well as a running back.

There is just no soft peddling this football game.  Pittsburgh has had our number for several years.  Pat Narduzzi is an excellent coach attempting to build the Panthers into a big name football team with consistent shots at winning the Coastal and the ACC, along with visions of going further into the FBS post season than just a nice lucrative bowl game.

We are currently favored slightly over Pitt, with about a touchdown to FG spread out on the table.  (If we are giving Pitt 3.5 to 4.5, then the -3 to 3.5 for being the home team that goes to Pitt is being buttered over by a Tech touchdown somewhere.

We aren't getting much real love right now.  UNC is still listed in power rankings as a better team, even though we beat the snot out of them in the rain in their house (temporarily occupied by Hokies though it may have been).  Our loss to Syracuse did that much immediate damage to the analysts' mind sets.  Until we beat Pitt, those doubts will continue to be there.

The Virginia Tech Hokies need to bury this particular foul stinking dead cat in the back yard for good.  It's time that we took advantage of a new start and a less capable Pitt team to step up, win in the "Big Ketchup".

Listen up Hokies!   This Game.  This Team.  Right Now!

GO HOKIES!!!!!