Pitt notebook: Offense racks up ACC honors

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After an offensive outburst Saturday at Duke in which the Panthers rolled up 58 points for their highest total since 1995, the weekly awards started rolling in for Pitt.

Three players garnered Atlantic Coast Conference honors Monday for their performances against the Blue Devils.

Quarterback Tom Savage, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 424 yards and tied an ACC record with six touchdowns, was named the league's offensive back of the week. He also was the Walter Camp national offensive player of the week and the Davey O'Brien quarterback of the week.

"I thought he made good decisions," Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. "I thought he had some poise. I like the way he played."

Savage's two favorite targets Saturday also were honored. Senior receiver Devin Street was named the ACC receiver of the week after catching six passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman receiver Tyler Boyd was the league's rookie of the week. Boyd tallied eight catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite his fast start, Chryst said he hasn't noticed teams scheming any differently so far to try to stop Boyd.

"I think you really probably don't get a feel for that unless you play a team again, or if you have a like team," Chryst said.

"Duke didn't do something out of character that we hadn't seen."

This marked the second consecutive week with an ACC honor for Boyd, as he was the league's receiver of the week in Week No. 3.


Despite a number of special-teams miscues the past two weeks, Chryst said he does not plan to re-visit his coaching strategy for the unit.

All of Pitt's coaches pitch in on special teams, with no one holding the title of "special teams coordinator."

The Panthers lost a fumble on a punt return against New Mexico. Against Duke, kicker Chris Blewitt missed an extra point and had a 24-yard field goal blocked. Pitt also allowed the Blue Devils to return a punt 82 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

"As coaches, you say we've got to be better coaches, but I don't question that part of it right now," Chryst said.

Conner had the hot hand

After two weeks of a near-50/50 split at running back, freshman James Conner got the lion's share of the carries Saturday.

Conner had 26 carries for 173 yards compared to junior Isaac Bennett's 12 carries for 38 yards. Coming into the game, Bennett had two more carries than Conner.

"I thought [James] ran pretty well and earned the right for more carries," Chryst said. "I didn't think Isaac was bad. I thought both of them had some runs, I thought both of them missed some runs."

Chryst added it will likely be a game-to-game decision on who gets the carries as the season goes forward.

Injury updates

Despite not playing against Duke, defensive end Bryan Murphy's ankle injury is not serious.

Chryst said Murphy, along with linebacker Bam Bradley and offensive lineman Gabe Roberts, is in "wait-and-see" mode. Bradley did not travel to Duke with a shoulder injury and Roberts left midway through the game with an unspecified injury.


Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG. First Published September 24, 2013 4:00 AM


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