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Unforced Errors Loom Large Over Pitt Following Loss to Georgia Tech



It’s very difficult to win a football game when the turnover battle is lost, especially when it’s a 3-0 deficit, but it’s even harder when the team losing the turnover battle also commits a plethora of unforced errors.

Aside from Pitt’s three second half turnovers leading to 13 points for Georgia Tech, Pitt committed a season-high 12 turnovers for 75 yards and let five Jeff Sims’ passes fall incomplete after getting a set of hands on the football.

“They’re all big,” Pat Narduzzi said following Saturday’s game. “None of ’em were easy. But Tylar had a chance. Got his hand on it. Obviously, 31, Erick Hallett, had a chance. We got a chance to make plays. And in position.

I mean, the first — second play of the game I think we had a chance to probably get a pick-six. You got to make those plays. They made ’em. They got the ball out. And we didn’t make them. It doesn’t matter if you stop them or hold them to a field goal. We have got to make plays on defense like that and we have to finish the play off and we can’t turn the ball over.”

Erick Hallett, who leads Pitt with two interceptions already this season, let an easy pick-six go by the wayside against Rhode Island last week, and on Georgia Tech’s first possession, he dropped what would’ve been an easy pick-six going back the other way. It was the first of three on the night for Hallett — who actually played a solid game aside from the dropped interceptions.

Shayne Simon and Tylar Wiltz were also credited with dropped interceptions, all five adding up to a frustrating night for the Pitt defense as it didn’t force a single Georgia Tech turnover.

“We missed four or five opportunities for turnovers,” SirVocea Dennis said very early Sunday morning after the game. “We’ve just gotta do a better job. I don’t know what else more I can say about it.”

Dennis said that if Pitt isn’t able to take advantage of the opportunities handled to it defensively, games like Saturday night will happen. But what also happened was a sloppy performance when it came to penalties — especially on special teams.

“We’ve got to get the right guys that we can trust that aren’t going to do that,” Narduzzi said. “We had a couple guys out there that got some penalties. And they have done it in the past. And we’ll have to find replacements for them if they can’t do it the right way. And then there were a couple you question, but we got to do a better job. Get the right guys on the field.”

Dennis, Jehvonn Lewis, P.J. O’Brien, Nick Lapi, Stephon Hall and Sam Vander Haar were all penalized on special teams, and despite an electric return man in M.J. Devonshire waiting to field opposing punts, he wasn’t able to make an impact as nearly every one of his returns was called back.

Penalties on the offensive line were also a problem as nearly every offensive lineman in the game Saturday night was called for a penalty, and with Carter Warren and Owen Drexel both missing the game, it was a unit that mixed and matched a bit.

Pitt didn’t play well Saturday against Georgia Tech, but it didn’t help that turnovers and unforced errors offered GT a huge benefit all throughout the game.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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