1. Georgia Tech’s water got turned off at halftime. The Yellow Jackets racked up 337 yards on 29 plays (11.6 yards per play) in the first half but were held to 145 yards on 26 plays (5.6) in the second half.
Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi said that the defense made a switch by moving the defensive tackles around “to cause confusion that way. They had a bead on what we were doing (in the first half). They were getting to our ‘mike’ (middle linebacker). The key is to keep your mike clean.”
2. As has been the case in the losing streak, now five games, a string of plays here and there did Tech in. Harrison Butker’s field-goal try at the end of the first half, from 50 yards, was blocked. The Jackets couldn’t jump on two punts that Tyler Boyd dropped. A.J. Gray couldn’t make a tackle on third-and-4 behind the line of scrimmage in the third quarter, allowing Pittsburgh to keep possession and ultimately score to take a 28-21 lead. Quarterback Justin Thomas was flushed out of the pocket repeatedly by poor pass protection, plays that typically ended with incompletions. Coach Paul Johnson called the continued failure to give Thomas time to throw “an enigma to me.”
3. Defensively, tackling wasn’t great. Pitt wide receiver Tyler Boyd only had 68 receiving yards, but caught two touchdown passes (the second was against double coverage) and also got open on the second fourth-down conversion of the game-winning drive. He also threw a 29-yard pass that set up one of the touchdowns.
Pittsburgh ran 66 plays and none went for a loss. Quarterback Nate Peterman had time to throw, completing 14 of 21 attempts for 162 yards and three touchdowns with no sacks.
“We can improve with the pass rushing,” defensive end KeShun Freeman said. “We’ve got to limit that time that the quarterback can have time to throw so the DB’s can cover.”
4. Field position was killer. Tech’s best starting point was its own 25. Tech’s starting position on its 10 drives: Tech 25, Tech 8, Tech 14, Tech 14, Tech 25, Tech 25, Tech 8, Tech 25, Tech 9, Tech 24.
It didn’t happen in a vacuum, obviously. The Jackets didn’t force a turnover (Pitt had eight turnovers in its first five games), didn’t advance the two non-touchback kickoffs past the 24 and let Pittsburgh flip the field before it did punt.
Tech gained 482 yards but had to spend too many of them getting out of its own end.