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Make no doubt about it, last night's last-second, 19-16 loss to West Virginia was a very bitter pill to swallow for any Pitt fan. The good news the day after is that Pitt still has a shot at a BCS game pending the outcome of their contest with Cincinnati next Saturday at Heinz Field, and that they came out of the game healthy. The bad news is that the taste of this game should linger for a few days at minimum, and will certainly be the topic of conversation around town. If there was any time for the Pitt players to have a short memory, it's this week.

The truth be told, Pitt could have won Friday's game but actually didn't deserve to win it. Both teams virtually played to a draw, with the Mountaineers holding a slight edge in offense but the Panthers committing 26 yards less in the penalty department (although I'm still ticked at Jason Pinkston for drawing that 15-yard chop block flag). The defenses were virtually even as well, with each side allowing one back-breaker to the opponent, but WVU did have one distinct advantage: they intercepted the usually efficient Bill Stull twice, where Pitt's defense failed to register a single turnover. There's also one more intangible that swung the game, and that was want, which Pitt did not appear to have as much as West Virginia. The game meant more to the Mountaineers than it did to the Panthers, and it showed. On the Panther post-game show, Bill Fralic gave the Panthers a "C- to a D" for their effort on Friday, and that's as brutally honest as one could get in describing their output.

Stull picked an awful time to revert back to his days of inefficiency, throwing the ball with little accuracy, never getting his offense into rhythm, and hitting the Jonathan Baldwin Jackpot just once. Of course, some of his receivers didn't help, with Dorin Dickerson apparently forgetting to apply his Stickum before the game, giving him as many drops as he had catches. Yes, Dion Lewis was his typical fantastic self, with 155 yards on 26 carries; but as for the rest of Pitt's offense, they might as well have been invisible: Oderick Turner, Cedric McGee, Henry Hynoski, Ray Graham, Mike Shanahan...does OC Frank Cignetti just forget he has all these options at his disposal, or is he so blinded by Lewis' greatness that he is determined to run the talented frosh into the ground?

I could go on and on, but much like the players, everyone needs to get over this one quickly and focus on what lies ahead next Saturday (which was probably the reason they lost in the first place). If not, a season's worth of hard work could yield much less fruit than anticipated, and that would be a disappointing ending to what's been an enjoyable year of Pitt football.

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Unknown said...

You'd think by this point in the season, Stull would know how to throw to Baldwin...long and with plenty of air. He underthrew Baldwin numerous times, including several opportunities for touchdowns.

Pitt definitely should have won this game and Stull's poor performance was a major reason.

Real McCoy said...

Had a bad feeling early on. Pitt did not take advantage of early opportunities. I thought both teams play calling seemed overly conservative. Not sure about that 53 yard field goal attempt. It's one thing to take a chance on a long kick, but there is a limit to when it no longer makes sense to take the risk.

Anonymous said...

I want to say good game to you guys. I was in the stands last night and I'll tell you that nobody in my section, Pitt fans and WVU fans, were happy with last night's first half performance. Both teams had missed opportunities, (Who false starts on the 1?!) and big plays by both teams. Unfortunately for you guys, we had the bigger plays. I didn't think that Bitancurt made the field goal, I thought it was short from where I was standing. I guess lucky bounces go either ways.

Hanlon7117 said...

As much as I hate to admit it, the better team won Friday night. Congratulations. I was convinced that Pitt would spank WVU this year, as I thought this Pitt team was much better than the ‘07 or ’08 teams and that this WVU team was worse than the past two years. I’m still not convinced that WVU is better overall, but they were that night and that is all that counts.

I would like to thank the 90% of WVU fans who did not try to fight me and my buddies who simply cheered for their team.

That being said, See you guys at Heinz in 2010!