Pitt and Iowa will play on Saturday for the first time since 1952. Panther Rants brings you a preview of this exciting matchup.
Iowa is coming off an exciting 17-5 victory against their in-state rival, Iowa State. There are reasons for a network like the Big Ten's. It's so games like this aren't hogging up precious air time on ESPN/ABC. Instead, we're subjected to Penn State-Syracuse.
Kirk Ferentz has coached Iowa as Big Ten Co-champs twice. The last title came in 2004 and it's been downhill since. Kirk could have left when his stock was high, but he is happy that his team is like the rest of teams in the Big Ten after Ohio State and Michigan: afterthoughts.
We hear Iowa runs a similar offense to what Pitt runs. This means the game should be a sleeper. Iowa is in midst of a QB derby between Ricky Stanzi and Jake Christensen. They have a running game led by Shonn Green.
On defense, they have yet to allow their opposition to score more than five points. Scratch that, they took a safety in the ISU game.
Pitt comes off a bye week after playing two powerhouses from the MAC Conference. This game is pretty much a must win. Hell every game for them is a must win.
Dave Wannstedt is from Pittsburgh as like Ferentz. This means we'll see similar philosophies come Saturday unless Iowa's offensive coordinator has more imagination than Pitt's.
Pitt's offense is led by quarterback Bill Stull who has mastered the five yard pass play. They have a backfield of LeSean McCoy and Conredge Collins. McCoy has yet to break 100 yards and if the offense is the same as it has been since the first two games, it's not going to be any better for him. Pitt's offensive line can't block either.
Pitt's defense likes to rush four and let the others sit back and take the rest of the punishment. We may see some blitzing, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.
Pitt D-Line vs. Iowa O-Line - Iowa's offensive line is bigger which is like almost any other Big Ten Offensive line. This means you'll see Pitt rotating their linemen like the Raiders rotate head coaches. It would be pretty comical to see if Pitt blitzes a linebacker like Austin Ransom. They might need the smelling salts when the play is over. If Iowa controls the line of scrimmage, they will pretty much jam the ball down Pitt's throat.
Pitt O-line vs. Iowa D-line - Iowa has some height and size on their defensive line. Pitt's offensive line had issues blocking MAC defenses which means this won't be any easier. Look for Joe Thomas to hand out free passes to the backfield. If Stull can't get time to throw, the running backs won't have it any better.
Pitt WR/TE vs. Iowa Secondary/Linebackers - Iowa has height at cornerback which means Oderick Turner will need to make a better effort in catching the football. Dorin Dickerson and Nate Byham will be greeted by Jeremiha Hunter and friends.
Iowa Passing Game vs. Pitt's defensive backfield - Iowa's QB's weren't impressive last week. Pitt could be risky and rush more than four. This way, we could actually see them force more turnovers for once. Pitt's smaller at CB than Iowa is at wide receiver. Iowa could use the height advantage.
Overall: This could be a close low-scoring game, or Iowa could just wear Pitt out and run the ball all game to victory. If Pitt can't move the ball against a confident Iowa defense, they're screwed.
Panther Rants is The Onion of Pitt Sports. Formerly a serious recruiting blog written by a serious recruiting writer, the site was taken over by mediocre bloggers that provide satire, sarcasm and anything but serious information. Everything on this site is tongue-in-cheek and is not meant for serious consumption.