Some Things Never Change by J.T.
Western Michigan at. Pitt
The (1-1) Western Michigan Broncos invade Heinz Field to face the (2-0) Pitt Panthers on a beautiful, sunny Pittsburgh day.
Pitt looks to keep up the momentum that their offense has shown in the first two weeks.
Western Michigan would receive the opening drive and get in field goal range, but Broncos kicker Parker Simpson would miss on a 43-yard try. Pitt would go three and out as a long pass from Kenny Pickett to Jordan Addison was just broken up. Pitt’s defense would this time hold Western Michigan to a three and out and get the ball back to the Pitt offense. This time Pickett and Addison would connect for 67 yards and a score, this pass moved Kenny Pickett into #2 all-time in Pitt passing yards, passing Dan Marino. Western Michigan would strike right back with a 75 yard drive in 10 plays which ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Sean Tyler to tie things up at 7-7. Pitt would get a scare and lose the ball on a 3rd and long, Kenny Pickett would scamper for 19 yards and lose the ball which would be recovered by Western Michigan. Pickett would also leave the game with what seemed like a knee injury. Broncos quarterback Kaleb Eleby would hit Jaylen Hall for 38 yards to set up a first and goal at Pitt’s 3 yard line. Pitt would hold the Broncos on 3 consecutive running plays setting up a 4th and goal. On 4th and goal at the one though La’Darius Jefferson would jump in from 1-yard out to put the Broncos up 14-7. Nick Patti would enter the game for Pitt at quarterback, and go 2-3 for 33 yards. Patti’s only incompletion was a drop by Vincent Davis. The quarter would end 14-7 Western Michigan.
Western Michigan would strike first in the second quarter as Eleby would hit Skyy Moore for 30 yards after a Pitt defender fell to the ground. Simpson would miss the extra point, but Western Michigan still expanded their lead to 20-7. Pitt would get their leader Kenny Pickett back and he wasted no time leading Pitt on a 8 play 75 yard drive, as Pickett would make a nice pass to Lucas Krull from 2 yards out. This would be the third straight game Krull would score a touchdown, the last time this happened was 2009 when Dorin Dickerson caught a touchdown in 5 straight games. With Pitt down 20-14 the defense would stiffen up and hold the Broncos to a three and out. Pickett would once again lead Pitt down the field quickly with a 38-yard pass to Barden, a 10 yard scramble and then culminated the drive with a nice back shoulder pass to Jordan Addison for a 23-yard touchdown. Pitt kicker Sam Scarton though would miss the extra point, and Pitt would have to settle for tying up the score at 20-20. After another hold of the Broncos offense, the Panthers would make a costly mistake, as a bad snap led to Western Michigan recovering the ball inside the Pitt 10. It would only take two plays as Eleby would hit Tyler for a 5-yard pass to go back up by 7 (27-20). The Panthers would turn it right back over as Dorian Jackson would intercept a Pickett pass and give the Broncos the ball back at their 40. Pitt’s defense would come up with a big stop, and put an end to the Broncos momentum they were starting to build. Kenny Pickett would waste no time and with 1:07 to go in the half would hit Jordan Addison for the 3rd time in the first half on a 28-yard touchdown. Kenny Pickett has now thrown 4 first half touchdowns. The first half would end deadlocked at 27-27.
Some of the first half stats:
PIT-Kenny Pickett 12-15 247 yards 4 TD 1 INT
PIT-Jordan Addison 5 rec 125 yards 3 TD
WM-Kaleb Eleby 15-24 182 yards 2TD
WM-La’Darius Jefferson 9 att 57 yards 1TD
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett leads the team in rushing w/ 35 yards
Pitt would receive the second half kickoff but on the Panthers first two second half drives they could only muster three and outs. Local quarterback Jack Salopek of Norwin would come into the game for a drive and go 3-3 for 20 yards but the Panthers would hold the Broncos on a fourth and two. Kaleb Elerby though would come back into the game and hook up with Corey Crooms on a 54-yard touchdown that saw Erick Hallett II hit but not bring him down leading to an easy walk in to put the Broncos backup 34-27. Kenny Pickett would lead Pitt down the field with a couple great scrambles and then hit Lucas Krull for their 2nd touchdown of the day from 24 yards to tie the game up at 34-34 with 5:00 to go in the third quarter. Kenny Pickett has now thrown for 5 touchdowns on the day. Western Michigan would be driving inside the Panthers 10 yard line as the third quarter expired with a 34-34 score. The Panthers are definitely not as good as many expected and their defense has really let them down today. Pitt needs to get a stop or two in the fourth quarter, while keeping the offense rolling.
Western Michigan would start the 4th quarter off by finishing a 11 play 75 yard drive capped off by Jefferson’s second touchdown of the game to put the Broncos back up 41-34. The Panthers after one successful 4th down play, would once again try a 4th and 6 from the Broncos 48, but Pickett would be sacked for a 14 yard loss by Ali Fayad, to give Western Michigan first and 10 from the Panthers 38. Western Michigan would go up by 10 with 5:40 to go on a 29 yard field goal by Simpson. Down 44-34 to Western Michigan, Pickett would attempt to lead his Panthers back, he would hit Jaylon Barden for a 22-yard strike, his 6th touchdown pass of the game to cut the lead to three 44-41 with 3:48 to go in the game. Pitt’s defense could not make a big stop when needed as Eleby hit Crooms on a 3rd and 7 for 13 yards to keep the drive going. Sean Tyler would then break a tackle to go 34 yards to what seemed to put the dagger in the Panthers hearts with 2:07 to go and Pitt using it’s last timeout. As earlier stated this would be the dagger in the Panthers hearts as they held on to a 44-41 win.
Kenny Pickett 23-31 382 yards 6-TD 1-INT
Pitt’s defense gave up 516 total yards.
So while Pitt fans looked at the remaining schedule and smiled and stated this is a chance for 9-10 wins, not a soul thought this was a possible L. At the end of the day this is still the same old Panthers. Capable of losing any week, sure they will win a game or two to make you feel good but Pitt fans should be used to this.