Hey that was pretty cool. First road win against a ranked opponent since 2016. First win against an FBS opponent in ten attempts. That’s right. Prior to this win, our Jackets had lost nine straight times to FBS opponents. Nine times. And unlike Ferris Bueller, we don’t have a way to hack into the NCAA record books to change that. (We probably do, but I can’t imagine it would last). Heading into tonight, I was expecting 1-4, but we’re officially 2-3. I’ll take it. For the majority of Saturday’s game, the Yellow Jacket defense instilled a confidence for those watching that, regardless of point differential, the game was kind of in control. The offense, on the other hand, was extremely inconsistent. Red zone performance vastly improved week-over-week, although some of those FGs could have easily been TDs. We put points on the board this time around, but we have to find a way to score touchdowns consistently if more winning is a goal of ours... which I hope it is. Also, if it weren’t for Charlie Thomas’s one-man turnover party, this game could have easily gone in a different direction. All in all, tonight proved it can be done. We can win.
I mean seriously... what a damn good performance by this team, especially with all the crazy stuff us media folk were writing and with the coach being fired and all that stuff... didn’t matter. There’s no question - Pitt lost a lot of talent in the offseason (Kenny Pickett to the NFL, Jordan Addison to USC - just to name a few), but it’s still a good team led by a really good coach in Pat Narduzzi. And even though only 15 fans attended the game, an in-conference road win is huge. More importantly, they’ve had our number recently. This marks our first win against Pitt since 2017. Getting over a hump like that can work wonders for a team’s confidence. The game was a country mile from perfect, but there were plenty of positives to build on. Jeff Sims seemed to find his legs (and his voice) in the fourth quarter. EJ Jenkins made a play late in the red zone to once again show how dangerous he can be. Hassan Hall was a wrecking ball and I am an amateur poet. I’ve already mentioned Charlie Thomas - he was the player of the game and he only played one half. I am having to restrain hope, but you could convince me that this team finds a way to win four more games... why do I do this to myself....
Brent Key’s offensive lines at Tech, up to this point, haven’t been anything to write home about, but they showed up tonight against a tough front seven. Tech averaged 5.4 yards per rush, largely influenced by some big runs late in the game. But they kept pounding away and you have to give them credit. Speaking of Brent Key and the coaching situation - who knows what will happen once the regular season ends, but I’m discarding all skepticism for now. Maybe I should have slept on this win before putting that in writing, but his calm demeanor on the sideline and his emotional post-game interview have made me a Brent Key Believer. Someone come up with an easier way to say that - Keyliever. Handled. I never doubted that Collins loved his players, so it makes sense that his Assistant Head Coach shares that sentiment towards these guys, but he loves these guys. And he loves GT. I get that we didn’t win Super Bowl VXI but watching him seemingly choke up a little after a hard fought game at the tail end of a very challenging week makes me feel confident he’s the man for the (interim) job. From a coaching standpoint, there isn’t a ton to discern outside of the fact that we won, but we did only commit 4 penalties. That’s an improvement (averaging 7+ per game against FBS opponents). Oh. We also didn’t let Pitt block any punts. We’ll see how it goes, but I like how it started.
Next up is one-loss Duke, back at home, under the late afternoon sky. I’m sure they’re going to want revenge after last year’s last-second dagger, but hopefully we can find a little momentum after this win. See you on The Flats. Go Jackets.