On this week's Peak at the Panthers, Cale Berger and Chris Peak look back at the game that wasn't between Pitt and Georgia Tech, and preview their final home game of the season this Saturday against Virginia Tech.
The Panthers were set to take on Georgia Tech last Saturday, but the game was postponed until Dec. 12 due to COVID-19 protocols. Cale and Chris agree that they were both pleasantly surprised to see Pitt make it eight games without a cancellation or postponement, which is a credit to the players and staff members following the protocols and taking necessary precautions. Many teams across the country have been dealing with such issues all season, while the Panthers experienced their first such setback. Double digit games are postponed this weekend already.
As for this week's matchup with the Hokies, Chris and Cale are both zeroed in on the battle between the Panthers' top-ranked rushing defense and Virginia Tech's elite rush offense. Pitt is first in the ACC allowing 78.8 yards per game, while Virginia Tech rushes for 262.8 a game on the ground. Pitt's defense will have to rise up against the run again as they have the last two games, shutting down the dynamic duo of quarterback Hendon Hooker and running back Khalil Herbert. Cale feels the key is for the Panthers to stay disciplined, but remain aggressive.
Cale is also looking at how the Pitt offense fair versus an up-and-down Hokies defense. He believes their are opportunities for the Panther to have similar success to what they did at Florida State, where they had 358 total yards and scored 41 points. Chris agrees, but reminds Cale that Pitt could still be limited and missing key players on both sides of the ball depending on how their recovery from last week's outbreak is progressing. If multiple key players are still quarantined or experiencing symptoms, the impact on continuity for the Panthers could be drastic and play a major role. Unfortunately, we will not who those players are until Pitt takes the field this Saturday.