With 19 days until the Panthers open up at home versus Albany, we have decided to run a simulated 2018 season on NCAA 2014 with updated rosters. There will be three games simulated a day and the season kicked off yesterday.
Below is the way the season schedule looks.
As you can tell, the schedule looks a tad different compared to the actual 2018 Pitt football schedule. This is due to the fact that we have to use the 2014 conference schedule.
All out-of-conference teams have remained the same, but the weeks that the games are played have changed. Same goes for conference teams, all teams are the same with the exception of Florida State in place of Wake Forest.
Last night, weeks one through three were simulated and saw Pitt kick off the season 3-0. After that ferocious start, the Panthers are now #11 in the country.
Pitt 24, #3 FSU 17
The Panthers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind two Darrin Hall touchdown runs. FSU wouldn’t put up their first points until three minutes into the second quarter when Deondre Francois rushed for a touchdown to make it a 14-7 game.
Pitt would quickly answer back with three points off of an Alex Kessman 41-yard field goal – his first of the season – to make it a 17-7 game. FSU’s Francois would throw for a touchdown as the half winded down to make it 17-14.
The game would stay locked at 17-14 until the fourth quarter when a Ricky Aguayo 26-yard field goal would help FSU knot the game at 17. In the final minutes, Kenny Pickett led a game-winning touchdown drive that was capped off by his 3-yard touchdown run to win the game 24-17.
Pickett would finish the game completing 11 of 25 passes for 126 yards and a rough three interceptions. Despite throwing for no touchdowns, he would rush for 55 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Hall led the ground attack as he rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Qadree Ollison had nine carries and rushed for 44 yards. Mychale Salahuddin would also have his first two carries of his career, as he rushed for 14 yards.
The Pitt defense came out strong as well. They finished the game with two interceptions as linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu and cornerback Dane Jackson each had one. Linebacker Elijah Zeise led the defense in tackles and tackles for loss, as he had eight and three respectively.
The win helped the Panthers move to 1-0 on the season and make their way into the national rankings as the number 16 team in the nation.
#16 Pitt 24, UCF 17
Pitt would once again jump out to a lead in the first quarter as Kenny Pickett threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Rafael Araujo-Lopes to make it a 7-0 game heading to the second quarter. In the second quarter, Darrin Hall would rush for his third touchdown of the season to extend the Pitt lead to 14-0.
UCF would go on to score two unanswered touchdowns off of an Adrian Killins Jr. touchdown run and a McKenzie Milton touchdown pass to tie the game at the half. Pitt opened up the second half with a Kenny Pickett 20 yard touchdown pass to Shocky Jacques-Louis to make it 21-14. After not having much offense for the remainder of the third quarter, UCF would put up seven points to tie the game up at 21.
The game would stay knotted at 21 until the clock was down to 4:40 in the fourth quarter. Alex Kessman would hit a 34-yard field goal, that would wind up winning the game. The Pitt defense would shut down UCF the remainder of the game and the Panthers won 24-21.
Pickett played a great game that saw him complete 13 of 24 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, he added on 34 rushing yards on nine carries. The rushing attack once again was all Hall. Hall led the team with 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Qadree Ollison would once again get nine carries but, this time he would rush for 34 yards.
On the receiving side of the spectrum, Jacques-Louis caught the first touchdown pass of his season and his career. He would go on to finish the game with four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. Araujo-Lopes would also catch his first touchdown pass of the season as he had two receptions for 16 yards.
The Panthers defense would come away with two interceptions once again. Linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu would get his second interception of the season and cornerback Marquis Williams would pick off his first pass of the season and his career. Dennis Briggs would lead the team in tackles with six.
The win moved the Panthers to 2-0 on the season and up to number 13 in the nation.
#13 Pitt 31, #15 Penn State 7
Pitt absolutely ran through rival Penn State 31-7. After a first quarter that saw neither team score, Pitt would explode for 17 points in a great second quarter.
The Panthers scored their first touchdown off of a Darrin Hall five-yard run to make it 7-0. They would score another touchdown on their next drive off of a Kenny Pickett five-yard pass to Shocky Jacques-Louis with 2:40 remaining in the quarter. Pitt would quickly get the ball back via a Dane Jackson interception. Alex Kessman would hit a 46-yard field goal with time winding down to give the Panthers a 17-0 lead heading into the half.
Pitt didn’t hesitate as the second half started and they continued to put up points. On their first possession of the second half, Pickett would rush for a nine-yard touchdown to put the Panthers up 24-0. Pitt wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter when Jacques-Louis caught his second touchdown pass of the game off of a seven-yard pass from Pickett to make it 31-0.
Penn State would score their first touchdown with three minutes remaining in the game and Pitt’s second team defense in. The Panthers would win 31-7.
Pickett had another great game as he completed 12 of 22 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He would also rush for 55 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Due to the blowout, Ricky Town also got to see time on the field for the first time this season. Town would complete one of four passes for four yards and rush for five yards on one carry.
Hall led the team in rushing for the third straight game as he rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Qadree Ollison would see his carries go up due to the blowout and he would rush for 70 yards on 14 carries. Shocky Jacques-Louis had his first ever multi-touchdown game as he had four receptions for 31 yards and two touchdowns.
For the third straight game, the Pitt defense also came away with two interceptions. Oluwaseun Idowu picked off his third pass of the season and Dane Jackson picked off his second. Saleem Brightwell led the team with five tackles.
The win moves Pitt to 3-0 on the year and the number 11 team in the nation.
TEAM LEADERS AND OTHER IMPORTANT STATS
Through three weeks the Pitt offense has combined for 1034 total yards, 26.3 points per game, and ten touchdowns. Another interesting number is the offensive line has only allowed four sacks. Below are the offensive leaders on this team.
36-71, 364 passing yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 101.1 QB rating
57 carries, 289 rushing yards (5.1 average), four touchdowns, 96.3 yards per game
12 receptions, 122 receiving yards (10.2 average), three touchdowns, 40.7 yards per game
The Panthers defense is fourth in the nation in interceptions as they have six interceptions on the year. Below is the defensive leaders this far into the season.
TACKLES FOR LOSS LEADER
Four tackles for loss
As you can tell, Oluwaseun Idowu has been a huge part of this defense so far as he leads the team in three of the four major categories. Some other players below having good years are listed.
WR RAFAEL ARAUJO-LOPES
Nine receptions, 102 yards, one touchdown
Two interceptions, one pass breakup, and seven tackles
One interception, three pass breakups, and eight tackles
One pass breakup and one forced fumble
OL Stefano Millin
Seven pancakes and no sacks allowed
OL Jimmy Morrissey
Eight pancakes and no sacks allowed
OL Alex Bookser
Eleven pancakes and one sack allowed
I will release an article every day recapping the three weeks simulated the day after they are simulated. If you go to @armchairpitt on twitter, you can get live updates on how the games go as soon as they are simulated. Weeks four-six will be getting simulated later today. These games will include Duke, Virginia and FCS East (Albany).