Pitt heads to Beaver Stadium for the well-documented 100th meeting. As a big underdog, Pitt’s game plan, simply put, will be to control the ball and play solid defense. There are always wrinkles that Pitt shows in these games to keep Penn State off balance and that is right out of the Michigan State playbook. That being said, it will take some big plays for Pitt to keep in this game and though the pressure is on quarterback Kenny Pickett to deliver, wide receiver Maurice Ffrench is the type of player to make that happen.
Last week, Ffrench had the best game of his career when he tallied 138 yards on 10 catches. A big chunk of those came off a 74-yard touchdown as the Pitt offense was trying to get their footing.
In two games this season, the speedy playmaker has 16 catches for 192 yards. Like Penn State's KJ Hamler, FFrench serves as Pitt's kick returner and punt returner. Last season, Ffrench returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and as Bill and Nick pointed out on the Podcast, "Touchback Jesus" Jordan Stoudt and punter Blake Gillikin will do their best to limit Ffrench in these situations.
Part of me wonders if Pitt recruited Ffrench so they could say "Ffrench Flies" and try to throw him on a sandwich. Defensive coordinator Brent Pry faces off against Pitt's new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, and will be facing a different offense from a season ago. Pitt will do their best to keep the defense off-balanced and getting Ffrench the ball in any fashion will go a long way if Pitt wants to pull off the upset.