Pitt Panthers College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Pitt Panthers Biggest Key: Offense
Get the running game going already. 2018 wasn’t all that long ago. The ground attack ripped through just about everyone as it averaged 5.6 yards per carry on the way to an ACC Championship appearance.
The 2018 team came close to hitting 3,200 yards on the ground, but that came to a stop in 2019. The ground game averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and ran for 1,544 yards. Last year? 3.4 yards per carry and just 1,319 yards – but in two fewer games than 2019.
The offensive line has to be more physical, the backs need to bust through and get more hard yards, and the ground game has to find some semblance of a rhythm. It didn’t get to 160 yards until it hammered Georgia Tech for 317 in the season finale.
Pitt Panthers Biggest Key: Defense
The secondary has to be a bit more consistent. Helped by one of the nation’s best pass rushes, the secondary had plenty of chances to come up with big plays, and it did. It picked off 14 passes with two or more in five games.
However, it was feast-or-famine. 12 of the interceptions came in those five, and the Panthers came up with just two in the other six games. It was able to shut down Florida State, and then got roasted by Virginia Tech a week later. Louisville did nothing though the air against the Panthers, and a week later NC State rolled for four touchdown passes.
Again, consistency. The pass rush will be there, and now the defensive backs have to take better advantage of it.
Pitt Panthers Key Player To A Successful Season
DE Deslin Alexandre, Sr.
He worked as a 270-pound end last year and made 18 tackles with three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. The 2019 version was around 265 and he came up with 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.
This year he’s 280 and should be versatile enough to be used as a quick tackle or a big end. With the loss of Patrick Jones and Rashad Weaver on the ends, the more he can do on the outside, the better.
Pitt Panthers Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Virginia Tech, Oct. 16
It’s about as much of a pecking order game as it gets in the Coastal. The North Carolina game is in Pittsburgh, and so is the date with Miami, but there’s a brutal run after dealing with the Hokies.
It Pitt is as good as it’s supposed to be, it starts the season 4-1 or even 5-0 if it can beat Tennessee. It gets a week off to prepare for the big game, and at the same time Virginia Tech has to play Notre Dame.
After going to Blacksburg, Pitt gets Clemson, Miami, at Duke, North Carolina. Winning this meeting for the second year in a row would be nice.
2020 Pitt Panthers Fun Stats
– Sacks: Pitt 46 for 290 yards – Opponents 26 for 191 yards
– Fumbles: Pitt 22 (lost 4) – Opponents 11 (lost 6)
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Pitt 53 – Opponents 30