Savage expected to play against Virginia Tech

By Nate Barnes / Sports Editor

Pitt quarterback Tom Savage is expected to play at Virginia Tech Oct. 12 after reporting concussion-like symptoms in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, the University announced Monday. 

 Spokesman E.J. Borghetti said in a press release Savage has shown only mild symptoms and continues to make progress on a daily basis.

 Savage exited Pitt’s 14-3 victory over Virginia prematurely Saturday, as he suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit on a rush attempt late in the third quarter. Savage was flushed from the backfield by the Cavaliers’ pass rush and gave himself up when he slid to Pitt’s 30-yard line after a 14-yard carry. 

 As Savage slid, Virginia linebacker Daquan Romero came in and made helmet-to-helmet contact with Savage, leaving Pitt’s quarterback prone in pain. 

 Receiver Tyler Boyd was close to the play when it happened, and said Savage got up slowly whenever Boyd tried to help him up.

 “It looked like he got down and the guy just rushed him, hit him while he was sliding, straight head-on-head,” Boyd said. “I think they should’ve thrown a flag on it.” 

 The type of hit made by Romero, on which he led with the crown of his helmet, is one the NCAA has been trying to eliminate from play this season due to the injuries those types of hits can cause. 

 Evidence in support of this initiative was on full display Saturday. When head coach Paul Chryst was asked if this was a hit the NCAA is trying to eliminate, he said “Yes, I think so.” 

 But no flag was thrown on the play when Savage took the helmet-to-helmet hit, which Chryst said he “thinks” was the play on which he sustained his concussion. 

 “I really believe there is not one official that isn’t for that,” Chryst said, “I’m going to stop there.”

 Savage was not pulled from the game until later in the fourth quarter after he finished the drive and played another series behind center. As the play occurred at the end of the third, Savage came back onto the field to start the fourth. 

 Savage completed his next three passing attempts, a 17-yard pass to Rachid Ibrahim, 32-yard completion to receiver Devin Street and a 5-yard toss to Kevin Weatherspoon. On that series, Savage was sacked for the eighth time. 

 Pitt punted and took back possession just over a minute and a half later, and Savage threw incomplete to Isaac Bennett. Maurice Canady then sacked Savage on 3rd and 11 for a nine-yard loss, the ninth sack taken by Savage. 

 At some point between the time Savage took the hit at the end of the third and when Pitt started its final drive of the game with 3:30 left in the game, the sidelines decided Savage’s day was done. 

 “He went and saw everyone, and we felt it was best to go with Chad,” Chryst said. 

 During the eight plays he was on the field following the hit from Romero, Savage’s teammates noticed something was not right in the huddle. Boyd describing him as “wavy.”

 “He kept looking drowsy, like he wasn’t right,” Boyd said. “He said he was cool, but I knew there was something that was bothering him.”

 In the huddle, receiver Devin Street also said Savage was “gagging”. 

 “He was a little dazed and confused,” receiver Devin Street said. “He wasn’t OK. I think he got his bell rung for sure.”