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September 15, 2012

That Just Happened

Filed under: Football — Chas @ 5:15 pm

I won’t even pretend to write that I saw that coming.

I made the weak jokes about putting members of the 2001-03 coaching staff and team on the sideline for this game, but to see to this happen is utterly befuddling. (If anyone has pictures of Walt Harris or players from those squads on the sidelines, please share.)

The quandary this puts me in is that I watched the first half of the game on DVR delay because of a surprise project at work. I caught up by halftime. I panicked after halftime when VT returned the punt for TD (by a former Pitt commit no less). I paused the game and found excuses to do some dinner prep that could have waited until after the game. And sure enough, Pitt stayed in control to win this game.

So, now what? Intellectually I say that I have nothing to do with the on the field activity. Emotionally, I just don’t want to eff with this. Okay, it doesn’t hurt that my wife is calling in an overrule to say I have to miss next week to visit inlaws

Heading into this game, I said Tino Sunseri needed to have a USF-in-20111 game. And he did. He was outstanding. Does it erase everything before? Of course not. But the few errors he did make in this game can’t be claimed as damning.

Basically, Sunseri could have gotten a 300 yard game if Paul Chryst wanted him to. Just as he could have had let Ray Graham have a 1oo yard game. Neither did, but that was individual goals. I’m rather certain both are happy to give those numbers up to get the win. Especially against a top #15 team. about the team goals.

The defense, though, finally showed up. Huge game for them. The D-line got some pressure up front without blitzing, and the secondary reallymade strides.

Still digesting. Debating about whether to sober up. More later.

Huge win for Pitt.

Great win. Can Pitt particularly Tino duplicate this type of performance? I hope so. Gardner-Webb should be a game where the team show more progress and dominates again. Shell is a man-child!

Comment by Pittastic 09.16.12 @ 8:40 am

Also, on an individual note, shane gordon is playing very well. He was the lone defensive bright spot in the cincy game and in this game he made a ton of plays. Hes a bit undersized but he hits hard and is very quick. He appears to be taking on a leadership role on defense and that will be good news for the 2013 season as well when price and thomas are back.

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 8:45 am

It seems like every time tino has a good dame, it goes straight to his head and has a let down next game. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen this time. Awesome win, fun game to be at. That was the most united and supportive I’ve seen our fans in a while

Comment by usd121 09.16.12 @ 8:46 am

Good morning all! Like palko said ‘I’m so fucking proud of these guys’

Comment by HLandPitt 09.16.12 @ 8:49 am

Both offence and defence are playing faster now they think less.. HAIL TO PITT

Comment by 63Team 09.16.12 @ 8:53 am

I’m not an insider on this website, but someone who is ought to take a look to see some of the reactions from recruits we had on campus.
link to

Comment by MikePITT 09.16.12 @ 9:06 am

^^^^^^ and give us an update lol

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 9:24 am

Great win yesterday. So many new things to be proud of from the players and coaches that we haven’t seen in a while

1) ENERGY from the players! Kids were playing their butts off and never gave up

2) BELIEF from the players and coaches that they could win! This team has lacked real confidence for a few years now. Yesterday they punched Vtech in the mouth and kept going at them with the belief that they would win

3) FINISHING from the players and coaches. When VTech attempted to make a run at PITT (and we all held our breath after the INT late in the game) the team stood their ground and refused to lose. Coaches didn’t let one get away (Wanny and Fraud).

4) YOUTH -Freshman are making real contributions that AFFECT the game. It is one thing to look good and it is another thing to affect the game.

Overall my belief is that in a few year we may be looking back at this game as the moment that PITT regained its identity. PITT stills has a big name here in the south and yesterday the win was all over the news here in ACC country.


Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.16.12 @ 9:31 am

1 elated for Tino; the kid is tough and has class
2 Shell is the real deal
3 Ray is not 100% but an inspiration to all of us
4 Kudos to the defense and o-line
5 Shannahan is a stud
6 Let’s get to 2-2 and kick butt in the BE

Comment by JR 09.16.12 @ 9:38 am

Pitt fan in atlanta, what has the overall reaction to the game been? That pitt can surprise people and deserve credit or that tech just blew one and pitt got lucky?

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 9:50 am

so much fun at the stadium yesterday and so much fun watching highlight shows and reading the paper this morning.

Say what you want about tino, but he’s one of the ballsiest kids ive ever seen in a pitt uniform. he’s taken a kordell-like assault of criticism and blame and he’s never acted with anything but class & guts….even as the fans & coaches have turned on him despite 3 coaching staffs determining that he’s the best option. maybe they made that determination because he’s the only one that has the guts to be able to weather one of the worst storms of any program in the country (2nd worst…thanks joe pa).

tino might come out next week and look terrible, but when you hear those boo-birds you wont be hearing them out of section 130 row bb. in 5 years, whether we overcome this coaching carousal or not, people will be thankful that we had a qb tuff enough handle this bullshit with dignity and class that pitt fans can be proud of.

Comment by boomer 09.16.12 @ 9:51 am

Will tino play like this every game? No, but i think he will use this as a building block to rally this team and win some games. And frankly i dont think this coaching staff will even let him get too high off this win.

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 10:03 am

and i haven’t seen a lot of chatter about it, but aaron donald was a beast yesterday. looked like a first round draft pick to me and he bullied the va tech offense. the double teams continued, but the didnt stop him. i think 97 might have just solidified a career playing football yesterday

Comment by boomer 09.16.12 @ 10:04 am

PITT has sentimental support by many people in the South. PITT for some reason is one of those teams that non-PITT people love to cheer for. Not sure why but the grass roots support has always been there from non-PITT people around the country. I was at an event earlier in the week and a guy came up to me and told me a story. He is a Gtech alum who grew up in N.J. (Lives in Atlanta). He told me that when he was a kid that two teams were ALWAYS on TV (PITT and Penn State). PITT media coverage over the decades has created a positive image.
This AM one of my co-workers (born an raised in rural georgia, educated in the south) came up to me and said I can’t wait to see PITT at Bobby Dodd (Gtech stadium). So the support is there. We are tougher on PITT than most outsiders.

The general feeling here in Atlanta from ACC fans is that PITT is a very positive addition to the ACC and they don’t expect to run over us in football. In basketball there is a deference to us with our recent success.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.16.12 @ 10:13 am

Pitt fan in atlanta, thats good to know. All of the va tech fans at the game yesterday were very respectful didnt really seem to have an aura of arrogance, which surprised me. I dont think pitt will get run over in the acc either. Thats not to say well win a bunch of games immediately but pitt will not be involved in many 52-0 routes like fsu put on wake yesterday. I think if guys step up pitt can be a decent team right away and maybe a competitor for the acc title a few years down the road

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 10:20 am

Sorry for not quite answering your question.
Most people here in Atlanta (ACC fans and SEC fans) realize that PITT is going for transition. Vtech is a legitimate team in most ACC and SEC eyes so PITT win will go far.
Remember that the winner of the Vtech or Gtech games each year is usually the winner of the coastal division of the ACC each year. PITT’s win is being view as a legitimate win and not a fluke. The manner in which PITT won the game essentially answers that question for everyone. There are games that are viewed as flukes (YSU over PITT, James Madison over Vtech, App St over Michigan) and this one isnt.

Again, PITT fans are a lot tougher on PITT than outsiders are on PITT. Most outsiders have positive feeling for PITT. ESPN will tell you that based on their viewership during PITT games.

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.16.12 @ 10:22 am

Pitt fan in atlanta, thanks. And you did kind of answer my question before. Pitts perception and how this game was viewed go hand in hand. Its good to know that people have respect for pitt down in acc country. That even further cements the thought that pitt is a perfect fit for the acc

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 10:43 am sums it up.

“PITT mauled Virginia Tech”
“As first wins go, this is a doozy. As first wins between future division rivals go, it’s a shot across the bow.”

link to

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.16.12 @ 10:46 am

Lower bowl was sold out with the regular stragglers on the upper deck. The place got pretty loud when it wanted to. Lots of hokie fans too, they got very loud as well. Student section actually stayed the whole game. If that place had been a sellout, it would have been the college atmosphere of a big time program. Great game

Comment by Timmeh 09.16.12 @ 10:53 am

Great team effort fellas!! The offense played really well. The running game especially. One way to equalize the speed rushers is to smash them in the mouth with the run game and take away their will to compete on every play. Once a defensive player takes a play off, a defense is in trouble. The road graders allowed Tino Sunseri to be successful and vice versa. Hence a team (together everyone achieves more) effort!

I have been one of the largest supporters of our new coach and although i am not christening him as the next chas noll yet, one need only look at Wisconsin again this week to feel the impact of change. Only 16 points for that squad and they were lucky to win.

The defense played with passion. I agree their qb did not particularly play great, but one of the reasons in my opinion was that we hit him hard when he scrambled and he beacame gun shy. I think the early hit by LB Williams on the sideline was a statement that our guys were going to hit him all day! Kick em when your up, kick em when your down, kick em when your up, kick em all around.

Now, our players need to build on the confidence and not get cocky. It was not a perfect game yesterday, but a very good one. Build on it. Focus harder this week! Kudos to Shell, Street, Sunseri, Shanahan, Graham and the OL. Fullback too!

Comment by dhuffdaddy 09.16.12 @ 11:07 am

@Pitt fan in Atlanta. Good to hear. I’ve also heard, and seen the overnites, over the years, for some reason, Pitt always has a good to high tv audience ratings.

I mean over the last 30-40 years, Pitt is usually never a dud for ratings for the tv people.

Don’t know why. Now, in our own stadium and traveling to bowl games???? LOL

Maybe some nostalgia from people for Dorsett, Green, Marino??

Pitt was always on.

Comment by Dan 09.16.12 @ 11:24 am

That’s a top notch defense that Pitt tore up.

It starts with the backs. When Shell and Graham are running hard, it takes the pressure off Tito and he can relax and be a decent QB.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 09.16.12 @ 11:41 am

BTW, I used to date someone who was a huge Tech fan and was from western VA.

I’ve spent a lot of time in that area, been to a few games, and I have a lot of respect for the VT program and their followers. Good people in general, I hope they bounce back and have a great season.


Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 09.16.12 @ 11:46 am

anybody notice lafayette pitts performance. being at the game it was hard to keep track of everyone…but it seemed to me like the d-backs played well too. the front seven made it really difficult for for vt to get anything going in the pass game, but they seemed to make some plays. the safety’s played great, but i didnt really notice k’wuan and pitts. anybody have any thoughts on their play?

Comment by boomer 09.16.12 @ 11:59 am

…now the coaches have to show they can defend a spread offense. 0-2 vs. spread and 1-0 against a traditional offense.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 09.16.12 @ 12:57 pm

Dan, the TV numbers are like that for most Pittsburgh teams. When the Pens were only filling up the Mellon Arena with 11,000 a night, they still had really strong TV numbers, same for the Pirates. The simple truth with sports in Pittsburgh (excluding the Stillers) is simply this:

If you win, Pittsburghers will show up.

Comment by The Ghost of Matt Lytle 09.16.12 @ 1:37 pm

I will admit not enjoying the game yesterday. How could I? 21-0 lead and just waiting for a Mardy Gilyard KO return for a TD late in Q2. Then it happened. So my stomach was in knots for the rest of the game.

What a thrill … Biggest win I’ve seen at Heinz Field since the 2003 game against the Hokies.

Comment by Joe Lawrence 09.16.12 @ 1:49 pm

“Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!”

Comment by KRF 09.16.12 @ 3:17 pm

FWIW, Tino outplayed Flacco this weekend

Comment by wbb 09.16.12 @ 4:41 pm

I know that everyone is tired of hearing about Fraud Graham but this one is hilarious. See the link to the local phoenix newspaper talking about Graham. He is still up to his old trick of throwing everyone but himself under the bus.
His response when questioned about his offense deflating against Mizzou?

“I’ll be real honest, man. I had my hands full with the special teams and defense,” Graham said about the play-calling. “One of the things you got to do is you’ve got to let people do their job. (Norvell) did pretty good his first two weeks. He’ll do great in his career here. We’ll look at it and evaluate it obviously. I’m not going to nitpick what he does.”

The guys is a real tool. We are so fortunate for him to have left and Chryst to now be in charge. As they say… “count your blessing” PITT fans.

link to

Comment by Pitt fan in Atlanta 09.16.12 @ 4:49 pm

I actually thought the ASU play calling was pretty neat

Comment by wbb 09.16.12 @ 4:58 pm

Looking ahead and hoping Flossie doesn’t suit up

link to

link to

Comment by steve1 09.16.12 @ 6:50 pm

At the start of the game, the guy behind me…a Pitt/ND fan sat with his guests from VTech.

They were discussing PSU and Pitt as against that backdrop.

I will say about Graham what I say about PSU which is what Grant said about R.E. Lee.

Stop worrying about him and start worrying about what we do. Then and only then will you achieve greatness.

Or, as we would say back in the day, WTF are you worried about him for?

Comment by sfpitt 09.16.12 @ 7:45 pm

Fraud did Pitt a great favor by bolting.
Smiley did Pitt a great disfavor by bringing him here in the first place.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled to have Chryst here>

Comment by Gas 09.16.12 @ 8:01 pm

Now, pitt had almost 100 recruits in attendence yesterday. On twitter, chris peak said that pitt has room for 22-24 recruits in the 2013 class. This is who id like to see assuming they sign 24.

OL: dorian johnson and jaryd-jones smith
DL: kenton gibbs, justin moody, and aaron hush
LB: al-rasheed benton
WR: robert foster

This of course is subject to change depending on how pitt continues to develope this year

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 8:06 pm

Also, pitts depth issues will not be met 100% in this class. They need 2 classes to get to a surplus in the trenches. IMO, you cant have enough quality linemen. So in this class pitt should finish with 4-6 dl, 4-6 ol, and next year they need 4-6 of each again because after next year pitt will lose ezell, murphy, donald and lippert on the dl. Thats half of their current 2 deep

Comment by Pk 09.16.12 @ 8:13 pm

sf, he took our money, he lied to our players and was cruel to them as well.

But we are not worrying about him, we are not fretting.

We’re simply wishing that his true self be finally exposed and he be given his just deserts.

Comment by steve1 09.16.12 @ 8:32 pm

WOW just back from the burg all i can say is that was NEAT.

Comment by paul shannon 09.16.12 @ 8:35 pm

Chris Peak of rivals said signing class of 22-24..
that means Chryst will be asking 4-6 players to leave the program. By all counts, he only has 18 scholarships to offer.

Comment by Joe D 09.16.12 @ 8:57 pm

Game atmosphere was great at Heinz on Sat. Most students stayed until the game was over. Pitt fans will need to readjust their attitudes and behavior as Pitt transitions to th ACC. Pitt fans have allowed WVU and other Big East teams to goad them into bad behavior. Similar to posts above, big time southern football schools have fans who are passionate about their teams but are not boorish. I got a beer at the Tilted Kilt after the game and will hand it to the Pitt fans I saw; they did not allow the win to make them overbearing to the large number of VT fans in attendance (who looked stunned). Come to think of it, most Pitt fans looked stunned.

Comment by Pittstadiumshuffle 09.16.12 @ 9:03 pm

Good stuff, Pittstadiumshuffle. For one, I won’t miss RU fans.

Comment by steve1 09.16.12 @ 9:11 pm

Latest news:

link to

Comment by steve1 09.16.12 @ 9:15 pm

I was out and about today in Virginia and then traveled over to Maryland for a round of golf and a dozen crabs after golf at one of the local crab houses on the Potomac River come evening.

I had quite a few comments concerning my Pitt gear that I was wearing. All positive, about how Pitt came out of nowhere to smack Va Tech upside the head. One guy in particular at the halfway house at the course made me laugh when he asked me “what did those boys eat for breakfast on Saturday, I could use some of that whatever it was”?

Great day to be a Pitt fan.

Comment by Dr. Tom 09.16.12 @ 9:34 pm

Boomer, lighten up. Tino played a good game and hats off to him, but got plenty o’ help from his line and running backs. The kid has had some good moments in his career and this is clearly the highlight so far, but he also has richly deserved the VAST majority of the criticism he’s received for his shaky play and suspect cockiness without reason through much of his work.

Maybe this past Saturday will be a turning point of greater focus and maturity for the remainder of his season/career, but don’t take it to the bank just yet. Let’s see him do it more than two games a year and then we’ll be rollin’.

Comment by Matt N. 09.16.12 @ 9:41 pm

Add, “he is still inside my head” to your list of grievances against Graham.
That means he wins.

Comment by SFPitt 09.16.12 @ 11:35 pm

Just got back from the burg and and an engagement here this evening. My wife and I and our friend who we stayed with, all with multiple Pitt degrees and years of living with the ups and downs of the Panthers are so happy that we were there. I don’t think Pitt is going to win them all but that it will be a very respectable season. I hope that 4-5 years from now this will be the game when we will be really glad to be able to say “I was there” when it all started to come together for HCPC and the Panthers. Wonderful game atmosphere, there is nothing quite like college football! I have some observations/thoughts on what could be done to enhance the game atmosphere even more. Its late so I’ll try to share them tomorrow. HTP!

Comment by opfim 09.17.12 @ 12:07 am

Look forward to reading your suggestions….don’t hold your breath waiting for the athletic department to adopt any.
After all, they are the professionals. All those empty yellow seats over the last 10 plus years are merely an illusion. Pedersons priority when he returned triumphantly from Nebraska was to increase attendance.
Me? I’m just a paying customer and do what I am told to

Comment by SFPitt 09.17.12 @ 5:38 am

Pitt2Cali…totally agree with your comments – as I have said many times HCPC can coach…he just needs time. As he said on the post-game “the players played and the coaches coached”! H2P!

Comment by markp 09.17.12 @ 8:26 am

My suffering is over…at least for one week.

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 09.17.12 @ 10:12 am

Sometimes, we are too critical of Pitt football when they lose and too euphoric when they win. But one thing is for sure, we are passionate Pitt fans. Nice win! Now let’s go for two in a row. HTP!

Comment by MarietteMike 09.18.12 @ 5:32 am

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