Pitt won again to get to 2-0 on the season, but like last week, it was an extremely unconvincing win. The Panthers won 35-29, but there are going to be (and rightfully so) some important questions that arise this week.
The big storyline of the game isn’t so much that Trey Anderson got into the game, it was the time that he did. Head coach Todd Graham inserted Anderson on the next drive after Tino Sunseri’s second interception of the game. Sunseri started off fine and had a very good first quarter, helping Pitt to two scoring drives. But it went downhill after that as Tino went on to throw those two picks and really had trouble moving the ball much of the game.
Anderson responded in the way that he needed to. True, we didn’t see all that much from him as he converted on only a few passes, but he didn’t make mistakes and completed a big first down throw. So is there a full-blown quarterback controversy? Too early to tell, but it’s clear that Anderson could definitely be in the mix. Graham’s ‘problem’ is that Pitt goes on the road next week against a solid Iowa team, so I’m not sure if he’ll trust Anderson (who is a true freshman walk-on) with the keys to the car in that environment. Pitt’s season, though, doesn’t get much easier, so there isn’t going to be a chance at a real warm-up game against an easy opponent. One scenario we may see is that Tino gets the start, but with a short leash.
The high octane offense was, in my opinion, even worse than last week. They scored the same amount of points, but Pitt had unbelievable field position, starting in Maine territory an astounding four times, near midfield another time, and on their own 40-yard line once. To come away with 35 points in what is supposed to be a high-scoring offense is a bit of a joke … there’s just no other way to say it. Add in the fact that Maine is probably not as good as Buffalo and it looks even worse.
Pitt was again scored upon by a team moving the ball on short pass plays. At some point, the corners are going to need to move up and the linebackers will need to make more plays in pass coverage. Frankly, I’m surprised that Maine got away from that formula at times as it worked throughout the game.
Lastly, the Kevin Harper situation is something we’ll have to watch. He made two field goals, but missed a makeable one from 39 yards in the fourth quarter as well as an extra point after Pitt’s first touchdown. I really hate to say it since we’re only two games in, but this could be an ongoing problem this year. He’s now 2-5 on the season in field goals and already has the missed extra point to boot (pun intended). He’s got plenty of leg, but if Pitt needs to make a 30-yarder to win a game down the road, a lot of fans are going to be extremely nervous.
The game in a nutshell is that both the Panthers’ offense and defense struggled even more than last week and with the opponents about to get more difficult, that doesn’t bode well.
Check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill for more game analysis.