Game Recap: Pitt vs. Akron (9/27/14)
The Pitt Panthers entered Week 5 looking to recover from last week’s game that marked their first loss of the season. The Akron Zips were also looking to redeem themselves, coming to Heinz Field on a two game losing streak.
Pitt started the game receiving the ball at kickoff. Avonte Maddox caught the ball and returned it 35 yards to the Pitt 44-yard line, but fumbled the ball. Luckily, Pitt was able to regain possession and continue the opening drive. However, Pitt was not able to capitalize on the first drive and was forced to punt. Pitt managed to pin Akron down to their own 3-yard line. The Zips were unable to get a first down on the team’s first offensive run, which forced the team to punt. Chad Voytik passed the ball to Jaymar Parrish for a gain of 9 yards. Flags were thrown during the play and Akron was charged with a personal foul, placing Pitt at their own 43-yard line. A couple of plays later and one holding penalty against Pitt, the team was able to move a total of 44 yards, but was forced to punt again. Akron only managed to carry out 4 plays for a total of 17 yards before punting, yet again. During the punt return, Pitt fumbled the ball and Bryce Cheek recovered the ball for Akron, placing the team at the Pitt 22-yard line. During 3rd down and 8, Kyle Pohl passed into the end zone, which was intercepted by Pitt’s Ray Vinopal. Despite some key turnovers for both teams, the first quarter ended with a score knotted at 0-0.
The beginning of the second quarter still remained at a standstill for both teams. Each team would complete a couple of plays before punting back to the other team. With a remainder of 10 minutes until half time, Pitt had the ball at their 20-yard line and started a drive that would end in a touch down. The drive consisted of some key runs by James Connor and Tyler Boyd along with Chad Voytik completing a 19-yard pass to Boyd, which placed the team at the Akron 8-yard line. Chad Voytik completed an 8-yard pass to Manasseh Garner to end the 80-yard drive with the first touchdown of the game. Akron would quickly answer Pitt to tie up the game in the next drive, when Kyle Pohl made a pass to Mykel Traylor-Bennett for a 52-yard touchdown. Each team would attempt another offensive drive before the conclusion of the first half.
The second half would completely change the tides, as the momentum swayed heavily in favor of Akron. Akron began the 3rd quarter on offense. The first play was a hand-off to Conor Hundley who ran 42 yards to the Pitt 33-yard line. A few plays later, Akron was set up with 1st and goal at the Pitt 4-yard line. On third down, Cody Grice ran the ball in for a touchdown, putting Akron in the lead. In an attempt to respond, Pitt received the ball and began to march down the field. Pitt managed to get down to the Akron nine yard line for first and goal. On third and goal, Chad Voytik completed a pass to Tyler Boyd for 6 yards for a touchdown, however a holding call would result in a 10-yard penalty and the loss of the touchdown. The end of the drive ultimately resulted in a 34-yard field goal by Chris Blewitt, Pitt still trailing behind 14-10.
Pitt would not score for the remainder of the game. In the 4th quarter, Akron began with possession and would end the drive with another touchdown scored by Cody Grice. Pitt would attempt to make a comeback, marching down to the Akron 25-yard line, but QB Voytik threw an interception to DeAndre Scott. Akron would not capitalize on this mistake though, and punted the ball back to Pitt with a little bit less than 6 minutes remaining in the game. Again, Voytik made some passes to bring Pitt down to the 32-yard line, but Akron defense would bring the drive to a halt, subsequently ending the game.
The final score was 21-10. Akron gained a victory after a losing streak, but Pitt lost another game for the second time in a row at home. Ultimately, Akron was able to keep James Conner under control, slowing down Pitt’s running game, and Pitt was unable to make important gains from Akron’s mistakes. With this loss bringing Pitt’s record to 3-2, there is quite a bit more pressure for next week’s competition away against the Virginia Cavaliers on October 4th at 7:30 pm.
Offensive MVP: Tyler Boyd (82 yards, 72 yards receiving)
Defensive MVP: Anthony Gonzalez (9 TKL, 9 Solo)
Written by: Jacquelyn Howell