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Pitt Can’t Stop Breaking Records

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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Altogether, the team averaged a remarkable 13.7 yards per carry. Just two teams since 2000 have racked up ground yardage at a higher clip, neither of whom did so against P5 competition.

This is not a vintage Bud Foster defense at Virginia Tech. That much was clear, even before today’s loss to Pitt.

Still, there’s a reasonably high floor on how bad a Foster defense can be. This year may, in fact, be the aforementioned floor, but that’s still better than about half of the conference.

In other words, this was less a collapse on the Hokies’ behalf, and more of an explosion by a pair of Panther running backs that had already etched their names into the school record books, even before this outburst.

Just last week, Darrin Hall went for 229 yards and three scores on only 19 carries, at Virginia. The only Pitt ball carrier this century to break the bicentennial mark as efficiently was, fittingly, his current backfield partner Qadree Ollison, who did it in 2015.

Tonight, the duo combined for 421 of Pitt’s 492 total rushing yards and four of the six touchdowns, with quarterback Kenny Pickett adding another 58 yards, while Maurice Ffrench and George Aston each found paydirt on their lone rush of the contest.

Altogether, the team averaged a remarkable 13.7 yards per carry. Just two teams since 2000 have racked up ground yardage at a higher clip, neither of whom did so against P5 competition.

Individually, Ollison reclaimed his title as most efficient Pitt back to ever go over the 200 yard mark, after ceding the throne to Hall for all of eight days. And this time, whereas he had previously only scored once in his breakout performance, he evened Hall’s touchdown total of three from the UVA game.

Simultaneously, Hall himself went for 186 and a touchdown on merely seven carries. The only player since the turn of the century to average more yards per carry on as many touches was Maryland’s Ty Johnson against a Purdue defense in 2016 that ranked 115th in the country in run defense.

Some of the other names near the top of that ranking, all players whom Hall eclipsed tonight, include Melvin Gordon, Percy Harvin, and Rashaad Penny. That’s elite company he now looks down upon.

At the school of Tony Dorsett and four other running back in the College Football Hall of Fame, not to mention recent greats like LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, and James Conner, Ollison and Hall are just taking turns breaking one another’s records, at this point. It’s starting to get a little ridiculous.

Factor in Pickett’s 162 passing yards and this is now officially the most total offense ever compiled by the Panthers in a single game.

They entered the contest with an opportunity to all but lock up the ACC Coastal crown. Apparently that alone wasn’t enough.

Not only did Pat Narduzzi’s offense accomplish the goal at hand -- they may well have just put together the best performance by any unit in school history.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP