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November 25, 2013

Ever since the game on Saturday, I’ve been tossing this over in my head. Coming up blank at this point, because what Aaron Donald has been doing for Pitt has been beyond anything you expect or is within the norm for a defensive tackle.

Outside of the quarterback position, football is a game where you really, truly cannot declare one player is capable of taking over a game. There are special teams, offense, defense. Calls by the coaches. Too many facets. Too many players. Beyond the hyperbole and tremendous gaffes at some point, it is simplistic to declare one player that much of a difference maker. Especially when it comes to the defense.

Yet, what Aaron Donald has done all season. What he did against Syracuse. It has been nothing short of amazing.

Donald, who is a strong candidate for five national awards, recorded nine tackles — 3 1/2 for a loss to give him a nation-leading 26 — and blocked an extra-point try that was the difference in the game.

Chryst, who rarely praises his players, stepped outside himself briefly to talk about the effect Donald had on Pitt’s second victory in the past three weeks.

“Your eyes go to him, and he sees it and he gives you the nod,” Chryst said. “And more often than not, he comes through. That’s the mark of a great one.

“I think right now he is playing at that level. He impacts the game in such a big way. It’s pretty special to be around.”

That blocked PAT in the opening minutes. That which Syracuse fans knew would come back to haunt them. That moment of terror right before the block.

After the game, head coach Scott Shafer said he was unsure about the trajectory of the kick, and he credited Donald for his penetration up front.

“I saw the penetration and I said, “Oh boy, this isn’t good,'” Shafer said. “They did a nice job getting penetration over our A-gap guard.”

That’s because Aaron Donald doesn’t rely on his natural abilities. It has to do with how he prepares. He knew where to penetrate.

“It seems unfair almost that he is a man among boys out there,” Savage said. “That is no disrespect for Syracuse. It’s tough to block Aaron.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, he gets past the guy and almost disrupts the handoff. It’s pretty scary to have that.”

Donald said video study last week allowed him to find Syracuse’s vulnerability while blocking for kicks, and he used that knowledge to deflect an extra-point try in the first quarter.

“We pushed them back and got my hands up and got a piece of it,” he said.

We love the naturals. We gush over their potential. But when you have a kid like Aaron Donald. Someone who is so clearly working harder than anyone else. Who is learning the details and putting them to use. Those are the ones you really feel good about when they succeed.

Pitt is making the late push for possible Heisman recognition.

At the very least, an invite to NYC. It is also a good way to further push his candidacy for all the other awards for which he is a finalist or semi-finalist.





These 2 ESPN jokers have PITT going to the:

Military Bowl (blah) (we’ve come along way since the 1960’s apparently)

Pizza Pizza Bowl (double blah)

link to espn.go.com

Comment by EMel 11.25.13 @ 5:34 pm

If you haven’t watched the videos on this page, you should.

link to pittsburghpanthers.com

H2P!!! Thank you Aaron Donald for making us proud on and off the field.

Comment by Pitt Dad 11.25.13 @ 5:38 pm

BTW….what bowl is the hoopies going to this year? (snicker)

Comment by Jackagain 11.25.13 @ 5:39 pm

For Frankie:

From ESPN:

“Only three undefeated teams remain at the top of the AP Top 25, and a logjam of one-loss teams sit under that. But past the best 25 teams, conference are struggling to fill their bowl slots, which has made room for some unfamiliar postseason names. ”

This bodes well for PITT !

Comment by EMel 11.25.13 @ 5:41 pm

Looks like we’re on ESPN 2 at 7:30 tonite.

Pitt is favored by 11 points.

Comment by EMel 11.25.13 @ 5:48 pm

Ad has had a truly dominant run. He has totally taken control of games. Even the games where he didnt have big numbers like nd he controled the line. That being said he has zero chance of winning the heisman. Pitt has had some great players over the years on defense that didnt get any rewards ie shear mcckillop tumpilty. And oh there is no way larry fitzgerald shouldnt have won it in my opinion the guy was the best college wideout ever. Hail to pitt beat miami and get ad some awards even if it aint heisman.

Comment by zach 11.25.13 @ 5:56 pm

AD… Steelers

Comment by 63 Team 11.25.13 @ 6:02 pm

Who goes to Texas Tech for basketball? Its a football school and west texas is only about football. Emel shiukd i take pitt – 11?? How dont you destroy a texas texh team by 30. Do tell??? I have no idea how good we are cause we play no body good until late december. .

Comment by Upittbaseball 11.25.13 @ 6:07 pm

Wonder how the ACC breaks down the #1-#8 ACC teams??

Just disregard the divisions, line them up and have some sort of tie breakers set up??

Not raising an eyebrow by my comment, have loved the ACC and John Swofford, have no qualms about them.

Just wondering how they do that.

Comment by Dan 11.25.13 @ 6:19 pm

@Nick

Thanks. I forgot that the state playoffs were still to come.

H2P

Comment by pmdH2P 11.25.13 @ 6:19 pm

@Emel, yes and thank you.

I’ll tell ya right now, the uniform thing isn’t just an old vs young thing.

My neice Jenn, who is 23, is the one who walked through the room and said,

“isn’t this blackout thing with the uniforms getting a little over done?? they all look the same”.

It’s like they’re all trying to out do each other, because they have nothing else to offer.

I mean, other than Oregon, (and I don’t count Baylor, they are only very recently any good), the usual suspects in the top 25 don’t have to fool with their uniforms.

Gimmicks man, that’s all, gimmicks.

Almost like they don’t have any respect for themselves.

Guess the A.D.’s gotta try to get some funds anyway they can.

Tough way to make a buck though, to sell your soul and give up the traditional uni’s, afterall, the number one thing people talk about when they talk about college football, is tradition.

So, yes, a kudo to SSS for not jumping on that bandwagon.

p.s. Ya, the whites look like pajama’s.

Comment by Dan 11.25.13 @ 6:32 pm

The only alternative Uni I want to see on the Panthers is the Script! Hail to Pitt!

BTW, it is somewhere between slim and none that we beat Miami, cause they’ve owned us!
But that being said, it’s going to be cold on Friday and Miami has been inconsistent at best. Plus, we’re still waiting for that complete game from Pitt where everybody wonders, “who are these guys”? Would be a good time to pull out a completely unexpected win. Sure would help out ADs hopes for the Outland Trophy.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.25.13 @ 7:03 pm

Didn’t Paul Hornung win a Heisman playing for a losing Notre Dame team?

AD should be a strong candidate. He has dominated but unless the talking heads of ESPN & now Fox talk him up he won’t win.

I’ve been talking about AD to my S.Carolina friends for over a month and I still have to go through the same spiel over & over on what he has accomplished.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 11.25.13 @ 7:32 pm

EMel i would like the beef o brady bowl better then the little ceasars bowl in detroit.
detroit noooooo.
but better then nothing .
or we could do a birmingham noooooo.

Comment by Frankcan 11.25.13 @ 7:42 pm

EMel if you are still on have a good night i am going to bed.
but before i go to bed the Bleacher Report has in there latest report on bowls pitt going to the beef o brady bowl in st pete.
i just point that out becuse i came up with the same thing 2 days ago.

Comment by Frankcan 11.25.13 @ 10:32 pm

Thanks Frankie,

Just got home a little bit ago, after watching PITT dismantle Tubby & Texas Tech. Agree that Beef Bowl is better than Pizza Pizza Bowl !

Although I enjoy eating both ! lol

Have read so many Bowl projections the last couple days my head is spinning.

And yes Upitt you should have taken Pitt giving the 11. Whatsa matta wit ya !

Comment by EMel 11.26.13 @ 2:14 am

Fralic appreciates Donald’s body of work. So Aaron has that goin for him.

Comment by Dr. Tom 11.26.13 @ 7:36 am

A REALITY CHECK on how deserving Aaron Donald is when it comes to the Heisman.

link to collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Comment by PittofDreams 11.26.13 @ 10:49 am

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