Pitt senior linebacker and defensive captain SirVocea Dennis looked visibly frustrated and disgusted in the press conference following the 26-21 loss to Georgia Tech Saturday night.
The Panthers played solid defensively throughout the game, forcing the Yellow Jackets to settle for four field goals and six punts their first 10 drives of the game. The Yellow Jackets managed to break through in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns on their final three main drives, sealing the victory.
“Tired or not, we expect to go get a stop,” Dennis said after the game. “With a football game, everything is just moving fast and flowing and just going. You should never be really tired.”
The defense did fail to stop them from scoring, but they also faced a difficult task on those drives as well.
Georgia Tech made a field goal early in the fourth quarter to take a 12-7 lead. On the first play of Pitt’s next drive, senior running back Vincent Davis fumbled the ball, his second of the game, giving Georgia Tech possession at the 34-yard line.
The Yellow Jackets then scored five plays later on a 21-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jeff Sims to redshirt senior wide receiver E.J. Jenkins to take a 19-7 lead.
The defense again came close to giving up a touchdown on the next Georgia Tech drive but managed to stop them at the one-yard line, allowing for the Pitt offense to score a touchdown to keep the game alive.
The Panthers last chance came with two minutes left and their timeouts remaining, as they needed to stop the Yellow Jackets their timeouts remaining.
The defense did fail to stop them from scoring, as they gave up a 63-yard rush to senior running back Hassan Hall on the first play and then an 18-yard touchdown rush by Sims to made it a two-possession game late.
While it is easy to criticize the Pitt defense for their missed opportunities for easy interceptions and 236 yards rushing allowed, the offense’s performance made their jobs much harder.
The first five drives of the second half saw Pitt fumble, punt, an interception from senior quarterback Kedon Slovis, another fumble and then another punt. This created easy scoring opportunities for Georgia Tech and also less time for rest for Pitt’s defense.
If the Panthers played even just a tiny bit better than they did in the second half and cut down on the turnovers, they likely win Saturday night’s game.