Location: Heinz Field (68,400), Pittsburgh, PA
Surface: Kentucky Bluegrass
Forecast: 55 degrees at kickoff, temps falling throughout game. May have shower in 4th Q
Game Time: 3:45, 11-21-2015
Line: Pitt -2
Series History: Tied 8-8, 5-5 in Pittsburgh, 2-2 at Heinz Field
Last Time: Louisville 45, Pitt 35 (10-13-2012 at Heinz)
Heinz Field is an all-chair back stadium primarily used for the Pittsburgh Steelers. There are several seating areas including many club level areas. The stadium is located at 100 Art Rooney Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 on the North Shore.
The weather is expected to be pleasant at kickoff with falling temperatures throughout the contest. Rain is possible later in the evening but the forecast currently believes that any precipitation will occur well after the game has concluded.
The radio broadcast will be available on Louisville Sports Properties and the Tune In Mobile App. The legendary voice of the Cards Paul Rogers will provide play-by-play with Craig Swabek providing color and Doug Ormay from the sideline. Additionally the Cards’ call will be broadcast on Sirius Channel 157 and XM Channel 204.
The Cards vs. Panthers will be broadcast on ESPNNews with John Brickley and Al Groh in the booth. There is currently not an assigned sideline reporter. UofL vs. Pitt will also be available on WATCHESPN live and later for on-demand replay
This is going to be a really tough test for the Cards. Pitt is tested against top teams and they have one of the nation’s best players in Tyler Boyd. The Panthers also have a fierce pass rush against a Louisville Offensive Line that has struggled throughout the 2015 season and have also blocked 4 kicks on special teams.
With Kyle Bolin at QB Louisville’s rushing attack has come to life and it will need to continue to be effective in this game along with it’s passing game.
No one is blowing this game open in my view. Pitt isn’t explosive enough to blow out Louisville and neither is Louisville. The Cardinal defense MUST play lights out and there can not be major miscues on special teams. Any critical errors will end this game for either Pitt or Louisville as I do not believe either team has a pronounced advantage.
When UofL faced Wake Forest earlier this year the margins in the Cards favor were small, but I felt it was enough to pick the Cards in a close game. UofL won 20-19. In this game I think those small margins are in Pitt’s favor and I think the Panthers get this one in a tight one. I hope I’m wrong.
Pitt 23, UofL 21
Usually we just put up the stats and let the reader review them on their own without any commentary. For this Pitt game we had to point out a few things. One the similarities between Louisville & Pitt are striking:
Scoring Offense, Scoring Defense, Total Offense/Total Defense, Punting, Returning, Field Goal %, Opponent 1st Downs, Sacks, Sacks Allowed, Fumbles Forced, Opponent’s Red Zone TD %, and Yards Per Play.
All of those categories Louisville & Pitt are very much in the same ballpark in terms of production. So when looking at Pitt & Louisville and trying to decide how this game is going to go we’re going to have to find out what’s different about the Cards & Panthers statistically and use that as a base line from a bird’s eye view.
Pitt has played a slightly more difficult schedule than UofL, so we have to keep that in mind as we go through this.
-Louisville Passes more effectively than Pitt.
-Pitt can run the football better than the Cards.
-Louisville has a small yet significant advantage in stopping the run.
-Opponents hit field goals at an alarming % vs. Pitt
-Pitt’s +3 Turnover Margin is four better than UofL’s -1
-Pitt’s Time of Possession is nearly 3 minutes longer than Louisville’s
-Pitt averages 1.2 fewer sacks allowed per game than the Cards.
-Louisville gets an additional tackle per loss defensively, but allows 2 more TFLs offensively per game than the Panthers.
-The Cards have earned 6 more INTs than Pitt this season.
-The Panthers have blocked 4 kicks in 2015. UofL has blocked ZERO
-Pitt’s 3rd Down Conversion % is a full 4.5 percentage points better than Louisville’s
-Louisville’s Opponent 3rd Down Conversion % is a full 5.5 percentage points better than Pitt’s.
So who’s got the edge? There is a reason why Pitt is a 2 point favorite at home. It’s tough to discern between who the better football team is statistically. To do that we’re going to have to break this down further in a later post because people (not stats) play football. And while these two teams may appear similar on paper individual instances will determine the game. But I think this will be an outstanding and well-matched game.
|Strength of Schedule||39th||24th|
|Scoring Offense (ppg)||27.4 (75th)||27.0 (83rd)|
|Total Offense (ypg)||403.2 (64th)||376.5 (84th)|
|Passing Offense (ypg)||242.9 (45th)||196.7 (99th)|
|Rushing Offense (ypg)||160.3 (82nd)||179.8 (56th)|
|Scoring Defense (ppg)||22.3 (34th)||23.2 (45th)|
|Total Defense (ypg)||311.4 (14th)||340.0 (26th)|
|Passing Defense (ypg)||202.5 (42nd)||200.2 (39th)|
|Rushing Defense (ypg)||108.9 (11th)||139.8 (38th)|
|Punt Returns (ypr)||4.14 (114th)||6.06 (90th)|
|Kickoff Returns (ypr)||20.58 (78th)||22.43 (42nd)|
|Opponent Punt Returns (ypr)||5.91 (41st)||3.93 (21st)|
|Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr)||23.86 (108th)||18.29 (18th)|
|Punting (ypp)||40.35 (87th)||41.54 (57th)|
|Field Goal %||70.6% (73rd)||72.2% (70th)|
|Opponent Field Goal %||73.3 (63rd)||94.4% (124th)|
|First Downs (per game)||21.4 (58th)||19.7 (82nd)|
|Opponent First Downs (per game)||16.3 (11th)||16.6 (15th)|
|Penalties (ypg)||62.8 (96th)||39.8 (12th)|
|Turnover Margin (season)||-1 (79th)||+3 (44th)|
|Time of Possession||30:18.90 (57th)||33:06.9 (14th)|
|Sacks (per game)||2.8 (19th)||2.90 (13th)|
|Sacks Allowed (per game)||3.6 (125th)||2.4 (83rd)|
|Tackles for Loss (per game)||7.6 (18th)||6.7 (47th)|
|Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game)||7.6 (117th)||5.6 (46th)|
|Interceptions (season)||15 (7th)||9 (59th)|
|Passes Defended (per game)||4.8 (39th)||3.8 (83rd)|
|Fumbles Recovered (season)||7 (45th)||5 (90th)|
|Fumbles Forced (season)||10 (30th)||11 (24th)|
|Fumbles Lost (season)||12 (125th)||6 (49th)|
|Kicks/Punts Blocked (season)||N/A||4 (4th)|
|3rd Down Conversions (%)||39.01% (74th)||43.45% (38th)|
|Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%)||33.33% (29th)||38.81% (72nd)|
|4th Down Conversions (%)||63.64% (30th)||83.33% (6th)|
|Opponent 4th Down Conversions (%)||50.00% (56th)||33.33% (15th)|
|Red Zone Conversions (%)||80.00% (90th)||86.49% (43rd)|
|Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%)||86.36% (89th)||95.83% (127th)|
|RedZone TD Conversions (%)||55.56% (94th)||64.86% (42nd)|
|Opponent Red Zone TD Conversions (%)||54.76% (44th)||54.17% (42nd)|
|Kickoffs (ypk)||62.66 (44th)||63.02 (27th)|
|Plays||700 (74th)||673 (94th)|
|Yards Per Play||5.76 (50th)||5.59 (69th)|
PITT FOOTBALL TRADITIONS
The University of Pittsburgh was founded in 1787 as the Pittsburgh Academy at the end of the Revolutionary War and was touted as ‘on the edge of the American frontier’. From 1819-1908 Pitt was renamed Western University of Pennsylvania and from 1908 has been known as it is today “The University of Pittsburgh” and is commonly referred to as “Pitt”.
The school suffered two fires before moving to its current location in the Oakland neighborhood. The student section at basketball games is referred to as the “Oakland Zoo”. For football, however, the student section is “The Panther Pitt” at the off-campus Heinz Field.
Like Louisville, Pitt was a private school for most of its existence before becoming a part of the Commonwealth System of Pennsylvania. Also like Louisville many of the world’s medical advancements have come from the work at the University of Pittsburgh, perhaps the most notable in the history of medicine when Dr. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine at Pitt. Salk chose not to patent the vaccine and cited public health as a ‘moral commitment’ and asked the question “Can you patent the sun?”
The Panther As the Mascot
Upon moving onto its current campus Pitt adopted the Panther as its official mascot. The school did so because the Panther was once the most powerful animal to roam Western Pennsylvania. Pitt claims that no other school used the Panther at the time and that alliteration is just a happy coincidence.
Hail to Pitt! Slogan & Song & Alleghenee, Genac, Genac, Genac
Similar to Go Cards! Pitt fans will often say “Hail to Pitt” and is sometimes abbreviated to H2P or HTP. The Slogan derives from a very popular song originating in 1910 with the same title by George M. Kirk and Lester Taylor with the 1st performance at Carnegie Music Hall.
Within the lyrics of the song is the school’s official yell “Alleghenee, Genac, Genac, Genac” which is a reference for the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania.
Hail to Pitt is often coupled with two additional iconic Pitt songs with “Hail To Pitt” coming first, “The Panther Song” as a bridge, and then “Victory Song”.
Whenever Pitt wins in football the Cathedral of Learningshine is lit with Golden “Victory Lights” and can be seen throughout the Oakland campus. The Victory lights can also be seen following major victories in other sports than football as well.
“Sweet Caroline” between 3rd & 4th Quarter
It’s not a song about sports, but in 2008 former Pitt football player & director of ticket marketing came up with the idea (with the help of student groups) to sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” between the 3rd & 4th Quarters to improve fan experience at Heinz Field.
Fans replace the refrain “so good’ with “Go Pitt” and the ‘ba ba ba’ portion with “Let’s Go Pitt.”
Cardiac Hill for Basketball used to be for Football
Pitt Stadium was once the home of Pittsburgh Football. Now the Petersen Events Center (The Pete) rests where Pitt Stadium once was. Fans would climb “Cardiac Hill” to get to the Stadium. The Hill is referred to as “Cardiac Hill” because of its steep grade and the fact that it is adjacent to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The popular Pitt Athletics Blog for SBNation is CardiacHill.com
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