“People aren’t supposed to jump in this river, I don’t think,” Charlie Partridge said as he walked along the Allegheny River.
But after Calijah Kancey’s three-sack performance against Virginia over the weekend, it was Partridge himself who was honor bound to jump into the Allegheny a few times. A bet is a bet.
“If someone geta a hat trick, if someone gets three, that’ll count, right?” Pitt’s defensive linemen asked.
Pitt racked up eight sacks against Virginia to push the season total to an NCAA-leading 37 sacks, and the standard is the standard — to quote Mike Tomlin — in the Pitt defensive line room. It’s expected to lead the NCAA in sacks season by season.
A Pitt DL gets 3 Sacks ✅
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) November 17, 2022
Pitt’s defensive line has been one of the most dominant in college football over the last two weeks, racking up 14 sacks and 18 tackles for loss while holding Syracuse and Virginia to a combined 13 rushing yards.
And, of course, Pitt’s defense has racked up 16 points over the last two weeks, two touchdowns and a safety, compared to just 15 opposing points.
The total defensive dominance is one thing, but Partridge’s promise resulted from the sheer willpower of his dominant defensive line.
“This started a few years ago during one of our games, the guys started to have success getting sacks, and they started to put a wager on it,” Patridge said. “And they said, ‘If we get X number of sacks this game, coach, what will you do?’ My first thing I thought of was, I’ll jump in the river. So, they were all over it.”
Against Virginia, Kancey racked up eight sacks. But John Morgan, Habakkuk Baldonado, Deslin Alexandre and Judson Tallandier racked up sacks.
“I didn’t think he was gonna do it, but he did it,” Alexandre said. “Shoutout coach Partridge,” Alexandre said.
It hasn’t always been the easiest time for Pitt’s defensive line this season, but with the recent surge in sacks pushing Pitt to the national lead in dragging down opposing quarterbacks, Pitt’s defense is riding a hot streak. It’s become expected for Pitt’s defenses to lead the nation in sacks and tackles for loss.
And it all starts with Partridge at the helm, leading with his teaching, yes, but also by example.