Utah Utes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
The Utah Utes and Pittsburgh Panthers get together for the second straight year in a week seven match up at Heinz Field. The Utes have suffered back to back defeats following a 35-14 loss to Arizona State while the Panthers were handled by Rutgers 34-10. The Panthers are -6.5 favorites over the Utes with an over/under point total set at 51.
Utah’s first season in the PAC 12 hasn’t started off with a bang with the Utes falling to 0-3 in conference play following a mistake filled loss to Arizona State. Utah had trouble moving the ball with just 320 yards and a 4 of 13 effort on third down but combined with five turnovers and the final score wasn’t a surprise. Utah had a running game but didn’t and couldn’t run very often in the second half when mistakes forced the offense to look elsewhere for production. John White received most of the work with 80 yards on 17 carries but the rushing attack was more or less four yards per tote and an ordinary 121 yard day from four runners. The passing of Jon Hays was under the microscope and he struggled running this offense as a whole and getting the ball downfield didn’t happen often. Hays was 18 of 30 for 199 yards and a touchdown but threw three killer interceptions. The Utah defense seemed to have a grip on this game and held the Sun Devils to just under 400 yards but were not only playing Arizona State but their own mistake prone offense which had a big hand in the final result.
A week after destroying nationally ranked South Florida, Pittsburgh came out flat against Rutgers with struggles on both sides of the ball. The Panthers never got their offense in gear and the numbers bare that out with only 271 yards and a 2 of 14 performance on third down. The rushing attack was on the shoulders of Ray Graham who turned out to be the face of the offense with 165 yards on 24 carries. With Rutgers taking the lead in the second half the Panthers looked to get Tino Sunseri involved more through the air but he struggled for four quarters in the poorest performance of his career. Sunseri was 14 of 28 for 127 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. He had little success hooking up with receivers and even less in getting the ball down the field. Overall Pitt totaled four interceptions with one taken back for a touchdown and put their defense behind eight just too many times. The Panthers defense gave up only 271 yards and limited the Scarlet Knights 271 yards and 3 of 15 on third down but faced an uphill battle in the field position. I really don’t know what to make of these teams except to say for Utah that their offense is challenged and the defense has been average an put the two together and it’s not a winning combination. Pittsburgh has so much talent but the numbers on both sides of the ball. I will be taking Pittsburgh -6.5 here.
Pittsburgh Panthers -6.5 Utah Utes