Turnovers plague Panthers
PITTSBURGH — Pitt committed four turnovers in the loss Saturday to Boston College, three fumbles and an interception, which led to four Eagle field goals. It was the difference in the game according to Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi.
“We had four turnovers. That’s usually a 27-point loss. It cost us four field goals,” Narduzzi said. “You’re not going to win many football games turning the ball over four times.”
The Panthers actually fumbled five times, losing three of them. It was the first time they lost at least three fumbles in a game since losing six fumbles against Georgia Tech in 2014.
Jason Wayne fumbled near midfield midway through the first quarter and the Eagles recovered. They mounted a field goal drive on the possession to take a 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Pitt advanced to the Boston College 48 yard line but Vincent Davis fumbled and Boston College recovered near midfield. The Eagles mounted another field goal drive on the short field and took a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter.
“We didn’t take care of the little things,” Narduzzi said. “You have to be focused and locked in.”
Early in the third quarter, the Panthers were trailing 20-16 but drove from their four yard line to the Boston College 27 yard line. Kenny Pickett dropped back and threw a pass down the middle to freshman Jared Wayne, but Wayne broke off the route and it was intercepted by Jahmin Muse at the seven yard line to squash a potential scoring drive. It was Muse’s first career interception.
“It was a read across the middle,” Pickett said. “Jared (Wayne) has to cross the safety space.”
Boston College mounted a field goal drive on the possession to take a 23-16 lead midway through the third quarter. Pickett also felt the turnovers played a big part in the loss.
“Turnovers killed us,” Pickett said. “There’s no excuse for any of it.”
Early in the fourth quarter, A.J. Davis gained three yards on a second down and two from the 45 but he fumbled and the Eagles recovered. They mounted yet another field goal drive to take a 26-16 lead with less than 10 minutes left.
Receiver Maurice FFrench also felt the turnovers were the difference in the game.
“The turnovers were the game. We had four turnovers to their none. They scored four field goals. That’s 12 points and we lost by 7,” Ffrench said. “If we were even in the turnover battle, it would have been a totally different game.”
He thought the team may have been lax in fundamentals.
“We needed to pay attention to the details, hold onto the ball, two hands on the ball, and do what we’re supposed to do,” Ffrench said. “We needed self-discipline. Nobody is perfect but we made mistakes at the wrong time.”
Pitt will now return to the practice field and prepare for an upcoming bowl game to be determined. Ffrench expects the team to learn from its mistakes and move on.
“This was not the result we wanted. It’s frustrating,” Ffrench said. “We need to take the blame, use this as a stepping stone, and be better the next game.”