First thought is, at least as long as Lou Holtz is around to share his inane, snarky babbling, there was no way that the game itself was going to be the worse part of the night.
I have no word yet what the injury to Ray Graham is, but it sure didn't look good. There's no silver lining for Graham, and I'd have preferred to see him stay healthy this season, even if it meant that he eventually went to the NFL. But at least for the program, it means that Graham and Rushel Shell could possibly form one of the best tandems in the country next year.
Tino Sunseri played hard and well, throwing for a career high yards. How does 29 for 42, 419 yards (tied for fourth best in school history), and two TDs, plus ran for 40 yards and another TD sound? Good for him. Hopefully this will give him confidence to play well for the rest of the season. The lack of the long ball is still a problem that will hurt them again in the future, but for tonight Sunseri usually made good decisions, he was accurate in the short game, and the receivers ran hard and well after the catch.
Sunseri is still not a good fit for the offense for many reasons and he still threw for over 400 yards, and before sacks he ran for over 60 more. If that doesn't convince you that this offense can be great with the right personnel then I don't know what will. For the offense to be as bad as it was in the previous two games, it is almost unfathomable because it's hard not to get a lot of yards if you run the offense just halfway decent.
UConn was No. 38 in total defense, giving up 351 yards/game. The Panthers had 529.
Pitt's offense entered this week No. 94 in total offense. The defending champion Auburn Tigers, led by the offensive genius Gus Malzahn, is No. 93.
The RBs had 9 catches (all by Zach Brown) and the WRs had 13. But the most interesting was the TEs with 8 catches. I wonder if Brock DeCicco now believes Graham when he told him the tight end had a place in his offense.
I'm sure a lot of fans are going to be upset by Pitt throwing on two consecutive 3rd and 2 situations, but on the last one at least, Todd Graham was clearly upset at Sunseri for not handing the ball off.
I hate to be a downer, but I can't agree with those who thinks the Pitt defense has been good this season. There are still bad angles and missed assignments all over the place. The unit has looked better because of the horrible offenses they've been playing. UConn is the No. 104 total offense in the country while Utah is No. 108, Rutgers is No. 99, and Buffalo is No. 83. The good news is that future games are coming against No. 99 Syracuse and No. 100 Louisville. I fear that No. 33 Cincinnati and No. 13 WVU may have a field day against the Panthers.
The receivers, especially Michael Shanahan played hard. Cameron Saddler also had an excellent run after the catch. Devin Street dropped the first pass thrown to him. It was tipped, but catchable. But he rallied and caught five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Brendan Carozzoni, just a redshirt freshman, got some time and made three catches. He looked athletic and smooth. He is somebody to watch for in the future.
Just like in the USF game, you can see at times what the Panthers offense can be when done right. Sometimes a play will work beautifully and it's pretty much unstoppable. As long as the offensive players continue to have discipline and desire, two things that have been in short supply thus far, there's no reason why they can't continue to get better.
K'waun Williams made a beautiful play at the goal line in the first half. More proof to me that the sophomore is going to be a very good player in his career.
Were the names of Brandon Lindsey and Myles Caregein called all night?
Zach Brown, as always, ran hard. Imagine what he's thinking now. He probably thought he would never be a feature back when he was fourth string at Wisconsin, but he will now be the main man for the rest of his senior season.
Aaron Donald now has six sacks on the season. He could have a huge junior season next year if he stays disciplined.
As usual, the amount of empty seats at Heinz Field was disheartening, but the look back at a lot of the great Panthers of the past was awesome to see.
I know the fans won't like this, but with the mismatched personnel and injuries this season, I would actually be okay if the Panthers ended up 6-6 this season. That would mean 2-2 the rest of the way against Cincinnati, Louisville, Syracuse, and West Virginia. Anything better than that has to be considered a great thing. Trust me, 7-5 with injuries and an entirely new system would be a major success.