Thursday, September 23, 2010
Miami shutting Pittsburgh down
By Brian Bennett
Pittsburgh trails 10-0 at halftime, and considering how it went down, the Panthers are fortunate.
Pitt couldn't even muster a first down until its final drive of the half, which ended with a missed 52-yard field goal. Miami's defense absolutely controlled the line of scrimmage and locked down the Panthers receivers. Pitt's receivers combined for two catches for 7 yards. Jon Baldwin didn't have a single catch.
The defense, under heavy pressure to hold the fort the whole half, did a pretty good job. It was helped by pick-prone Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, who threw two interceptions, one game after tossing four at Ohio State. (And give Dom DeCicco and Jarred Holley credit for amazing catches on those INT's).
Pitt's best player on offense has been Ray Graham, as Dion Lewis has once again been ineffective. Graham has accounted for two of the team's three first downs.
Clearly, offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti needs to come up with some magic at halftime. It's not easy when your line can't block, your receivers can't get open and your young quarterback looks a little flustered. Cignetti tried one trick play with Greg Cross taking a handoff and looking to throw, and that resulted in an 18-yard loss (and there were no receivers open, anyway).
Things don't look very good for the Panthers right now. But at least they remained in striking distance after an awful offensive performance in the first half.