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Pitt notebook: Offense goes without TD in 2nd half again

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Rafael Araujo-Lopes gets up field on Georgia Tech's Juanyeh Thomas Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at Heinz Field.

There wasn’t much to fret about Saturday when Pitt won its ACC opener against Georgia Tech, 24-19.

But there was this: Through three games, Pitt still hasn’t scored a touchdown in the second half.

Eventually, the offense will need to improve.

“We executed well in the first half,” senior offensive tackle Alex Bookser said. “We just have to do a better job in the second half.”

Said running back Qadree Ollison: “We have to come out with a 0-0 mindset in the second half. We have to play 60 minutes. We have to get better at that.”

Pitt ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns for the game. All but 49 yards came in the first half.

“Details of a call, details of execution,” coach Pat Narduzzi said. “It just takes one guy to mess a play up. It’s those things, drive stoppers, that we have to continue to clean up. There’s always something.”

Pitt had two accepted penalties on offense in the second half: holding on Bookser that wiped out a run by Ollison that would have set up first down and a fourth-down false start later in the fourth quarter.

Found: Pass catchers

Three wide receivers stepped up to give quarterback Kenny Pickett reliable targets.

Rafael Araujo-Lopes caught six passes for 45 yards, Taysir Mack had four for 95 and Maurice Ffrench three for 25. Mack, a transfer from Indiana, and Ffrench were in the starting lineup.

Not eye-popping numbers, but enough to give Narduzzi hope for next week when Pitt travels to North Carolina.

Notable

Narduzzi is 3-1 against Georgia Tech in his four seasons at Pitt. … Pitt is 2-1 for the 14th time since 2000. … The Panthers haven’t been 3-1 since 2015, Narduzzi’s first season, which was also the most recent time they won their ACC opener. … When Pitt held Georgia Tech scoreless in the first half, it marked the first time that’s happened against an ACC opponent since the Panthers took a 17-0 lead against Syracuse in 2014. … Two firsts: cornerback Phillipie Motley’s first career interception and kicker Alex Kessman’s first field goal (33 yards) of the season.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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