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November 28, 2010

Pitt-WVU notebook

Pitt fell to West Virginia 35-10 on Friday at Heinz Field. Here's a collection of news, notes, and notables from the game.

- Pitt dominated statistically in the first half of Friday's game. The Panthers ran 25 plays for 205 yards, while West Virginia only ran 16 plays for 75 yards. Pitt also held the ball for 22:34 of the 30 minutes in the first half, with 11:48 of that coming in the first quarter alone.

- The Panthers committed a season-high four turnovers on Friday - one interception and three fumbles lost. The interception led to West Virginia's first touchdown only 1:34 into the game.

The three fumbles lost came off of six total fumbles. Dion Lewis fumbled twice and lost one, while Ray Graham lost his only fumble. Tino Sunseri fumbled twice, but didn't lose either; he recovered one from a sack and the other went out of bounds following a 22-yard scramble.

The final fumble lost was credited to the team when center Alex Karabin's snap went over Sunseri's head. The quarterback tried to pick up the ball to throw it out of bounds but couldn't grab it before Mountaineer defensive end Scooter Berry fell on it.

- One bright spot on the day: Pitt converted 9-of-17 third downs in the game, including 8-of-12 in the first half. Of the nine first downs made, seven of them came on third-and-five or longer.

- Pitt's offense could only muster a season-low 78 net yards rushing against West Virginia, while averaging a measly 2.9 yards per rush. The previous low was 82 yards against Utah in the season opener. Pitt has rushed for less than 100 yards as a team only twice this season.

- Big plays burned the Panther defense all game. Of Geno Smith's 212 passing yards, 157 of them came on three attempts.

First, running back Noel Devine took a swing pass 48 yards down the sideline to setup the Mountaineers' second touchdown. Next, on a third-and-7 during West Virginia's first second-half drive, Smith hit receiver Tavon Austin for a 71-yard score.

Finally, after Pitt lost their final fumble, Smith found a wide-open Jock Sanders for 38 yards on a third-and-12 in the fourth quarter, setting up West Virginia's final score.

- The defensive line couldn't get consistent pressure on quarterback Geno Smith. Pitt did manage two sacks in the game but was credited with zero quarterback hurries. By comparison, the West Virginia defensive line also had two sacks and added 11 quarterback hurries.

Both Pitt sacks went to redshirt junior Chas Alecxih, giving him 6.5 sacks on the year. He was also tied with safety Jarred Holley for a team-high eight tackles.

- Junior receiver Jonathan Baldwin caught a 48-yard pass in the third quarter, marking his 21st career catch of 40 or more yards. This year, Baldwin has eight receptions of 40 or more yards, equaling last year's total. He finished the game with five catches for 78 yards.

- Pitt was able to move the ball most of the game. Eight of their 11 offensive drives went for at least 30 yards. However, the Panthers average field position was their own 24-yard line. Their best field position of the day was starting at their own 45 with 1:01 left in the first quarter. That drive ended with a Dion Lewis fumble.

On the other hand, West Virginia consistently had solid field position, averaging their own 40-yard line for the game. Three of their 10 drives started in Panther territory, and two of those possessions ended in touchdowns.

- Redshirt junior kick Dan Hutchins tied a season-high with his 42-yard field goal with 6:13 left in the third quarter. He also made a 42-yarder in Pitt's 20-3 win over Louisville on Oct. 30. For his career, Hutchins is now 6-of-14 on field goals over 40 yards.






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