Pitt notebook: Backup Anderson spells Voytik for series
MIAMI — Coach Paul Chryst picked an unusual time to change quarterbacks Saturday.
He benched starter Chad Voytik in favor of Trey Anderson early in the fourth quarter with the outcome of Pitt’s 42-25 victory against Florida International still in doubt.
FIU had just trimmed the Pitt lead to 26-19 on a 42-yard field goal by Austin Taylor, and many in the crowd of 10,147 were thinking upset.
Anderson led Pitt to two first downs — one on a penalty — before the Panthers were forced to punt. Voytik returned on the next series and finished the game, directing the Pitt offense to two more touchdowns.
“I just wanted Chad to take a step back and see things from a different vantage point,” Chryst said. “Not to make the game too big.
“I just wanted him to catch a breath.”
Chryst also said it was an opportunity to give Anderson, a junior who hasn’t played much in the past three seasons, some work.
“Get one guy some work and let the other guy step back and see it’s still a game,” he said.
He added that Voytik will start next Saturday against Iowa.
A minor shoulder injury kept senior defensive end David Durham out of the game. Chryst said Durham could have played, but doctors decided to give the shoulder time to heal.
“By not going today, it might buy him more time,” Chryst said. “Hopefully, that’s the case.”
Handling the heat
Chryst said his players endured the sauna-like temperatures on the turf field relatively well, although freshman cornerback Avonte Maddox was forced to the sideline late in the game.
Pitt used 27 players off the bench.
Officer gets the start
Redshirt freshman Alex Officer started at center in place of injured Artie Rowell (knee), even though sophomore Gabe Roberts played last Friday night at Boston College.
“It was kind of what happened in the week of practice,” Chryst said. “We tried to ramp it up for both of them.”
The 16-point deficit is the largest Pitt has overcome to win a game since Oct. 5, 1996, when the Panthers overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat Temple, 53-52. Pitt trailed, 52-33, in the fourth quarter of that game.
While talking about the Pitt program at halftime of the FOX Sports 1 telecast, former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt, a college football analyst for the network, said Chryst needs more support from athletic director Steve Pederson.
“He’s got one big obstacle. The AD at Pitt has to get on the same page with Paul and give him support. Let Paul run his program, and they will get back to contending for conference championships like they were four or five years ago.”
Wannstedt coached Pitt from 2005-2010.
When asked for further comment from Wannstedt, a network spokesperson said Wannstedt was busy with on-air and studio duties.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review pitt football reporter. You can contact Jerry at 412-320-7997, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .