December 26, 2013

Going Out of 2013 Above .500

Filed under: Bowls,Football — Chas @ 10:24 pm

Are there still reasons to angst? Oh, hell yeah.

Do I care for at least a day?

No. No, I do not. Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going positive.

I don’t care if it was “only” a MAC team in Detroit that Pitt just beat. I don’t care if it was “only” a minor bowl game. It was a win.

Pitt was undermanned on its offensive line as it was for most of the second half of the season. Pitt lost its starting QB for the entire second half. Devin Street couldn’t go. Pitt had an officiating crew that did its best not to call penalties  that might have gone Pitt’s way for most of the game (two offensive linemen blatantly tackling Aaron Donald and no call?).

There were the key breakdowns in special teams and defense that we have come to expect. The offensive line couldn’t pass protect — per usual.

Yet, Pitt came away with the win.

James Connor did everything he could to carry Pitt to a victory. Chad Voytik got through the shakes to show why he will be the starting QB. Tyler Boyd is Tyler Boyd.

Pitt was a 7 point underdog by kickoff. Still, the Panthers came away with a win and it didn’t have to happen in Birmingham.

There’s 7 weeks of angst for signing day. Plenty to worry over for the team up to and through spring practices. But, I’m going to enjoy this for a little while.

Yes, Pitt should have won by a lot more. But AFTER stopping Bowling Green on 3rd and long, the 15 yard penalty on Aaron Donald gave BG a 2nd chance and they went on to score a touchdown, AND Pitt’s starting quarterback left the game with an injury at halftime, AND Bowling Green ran the 2nd half kickoff back to tie the game, AND despite everything Pitt still fought back and managed to win the game!

Comment by Justinian 12.27.13 @ 2:38 pm

Not bad. On to next season.


Comment by Justinian 12.27.13 @ 2:40 pm

i have 4 televisions on for the replay of the game– just like last night. it’s a small gesture to improve ratings.

i was especially pleased by voytik’s performance. and i nominate vinopal for most improved player. not the best member of the team, but he received a lot of deserved criticism earlier in the season. this staff can coach them up even though i’m still not sure house is the answer.

still, it’s a lot easier to be happy this holiday season with a win.


Comment by pittkeith 12.27.13 @ 2:58 pm

yes it is a wonderful day when you win i am very pleased and the offence will only get better next year. But i am still worryed abought the D.

Comment by Frankcan 12.27.13 @ 3:14 pm

Pitt had an attitude in this game. They ran and hit hard. They were aggressive. Why were we missing that previously. We also looked bigger, stronger and faster than BG. They played lose too. Need to do this in conference play next year. The team chemistry did look good last night.

Comment by TX Panther 12.27.13 @ 3:23 pm

And yes it does fuckin feel good winning after the last two bowl years. I don’t want this feeling to go away. Quite the drug…winning that is.

Comment by TX Panther 12.27.13 @ 3:26 pm

Grigsby looking pretty good blitzing the QB, a nice new wrinkle by House. Going to miss Donald, Ezell, Hendricks and Williams, but the cupboard will not be totally bare. Soto, Grigsby, Bradley, Galambos with a year in the weight room, Mosely Smith will be back. Hopefully Price will recover.

Need some new recruits to fill in some gaps, especially on Special Teams.

Comment by gc 12.27.13 @ 3:28 pm

Pitt will also have the services next season of Reggie Mitchell, a safety who transferred in from Wisconsin and had to sit out this season.

Comment by Mailman 12.27.13 @ 3:34 pm

Frankcan – I feel the same way, extremely happy about the win but frustrated with the D. Gave up a lot of 3rd and long, 1st downs. Plus the special teams issue was still on display. I’m sure PC will address this in the off season. I hope there some good news on the recruiting trail, specially on the defensive side.

Comment by Pittastic 12.27.13 @ 3:36 pm

What a great win! I don’t care who the opponent was or how “minor” the bowl game is, to win your last game, with the major contributors all coming back next year, is a HUGE building block for next season.

I was most impressed with how prepared and how fired up this team was for the game. Hats off to the coaching staff for that.

as@EriePAnther and @Dr Tom pointed out, a great opportunity for Jamil Kamara and Adonis Jennings to play and succeed as freshman, as Tyler Boyd will be getting the double teams.

@TonyinHouston mentioned how the schedule next year looks “accommodating”, that can help with W’s, but it does scare me as far as attendance goes. Hopefully, people will see the young talent on this team and come out and support our Panthers. It does make a difference!

I think as the Wanny and Fraud recruits continue to move on, or at least the ones that haven’t totally bought in, you will see that kind of effort and passion more and more. This staff definitely is looking for kids who are all in and truly want to be Pitt Panthers.

The only negative was the kickoff return, although the kid who returned the kick is a very good at what he does. But you just cannot continue to allow special team touchdowns and big plays on a weekly basis. Whether it’s coach Chryst, someone else on this staff, or an outside hire, more attention and focus has to be given to special teams.


Comment by Pap76 12.27.13 @ 3:37 pm

I was very pleased to see the victory and I am very pleased to see the 7-6 record. Between beating Notre Dame and a winning record the season exceeded preseason expectations. The freshman performing so well gives hope that has been absent for so long. When we lost the Navy game the season could have headed south for good but didn’t. HCPC deserves an atta boy and I am more excited about next season than I have been for several years. By 2016 we have to be ready to kick Penn State around and with this class being the foundation of that team it can happen.HTP

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.27.13 @ 4:33 pm

One of the more impressive plays on D – BG did a reverse to a halfback pass which almost worked. They tried the same thing on the next play and it got blown up by an observant LB (forgive me for forgetting who) before they could even make the toss for the reverse. They never tried that play again.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.27.13 @ 4:51 pm

I thought one of the key plays of the night was the 3rd and 5 from the 7 pass Voytic to Gardner. Not only was it executed perfectly it started a change in the games momentum. It was a nifty 20 yards and very timely.

Comment by spiritofsection22 12.27.13 @ 5:22 pm

I was in DC for business all day and those that know I am a Pitt Fan offered hearty congrats. Not a person I called on today missed the game last night.

Zeise went off on a rant on The Fan this morning around 11AM about how Pitt fans have had little to cheer about the past 4 (Maybe 30) years and thus last night’s game was worthy of a lot of pride.

Comment by Dan 72 12.27.13 @ 5:35 pm

Great win for PITT and great for the off-season. Now close recruiting strong!


Comment by VAYinzer 12.27.13 @ 5:41 pm

Also….a great night for CV. Really excited to see what the O can do with a mobile QB. Puts a lot of pressure on oppossing D’s.

Comment by VAYinzer 12.27.13 @ 5:43 pm

How about an untested RS Freshman leading a 6 play 98 yard 3 min 26 sec drive for a TD? Poise? Composure? Guts? Want to get it done? You bet!


Comment by Pitt Dad 12.27.13 @ 5:56 pm

Maryland goes down to Marshall, have fun in the Big 10.

Comment by gc 12.27.13 @ 6:13 pm

Everyone wants these Florida kids, lets get a few more James Connors from Erie Co.

Comment by alcofan 12.27.13 @ 6:19 pm

PITT defense finally played some ‘smackdown’, last nite. They layed some big hits on the BG RB’s, driving them into the turf on several occasions.

Just wonder where was this aggression, during the season.

Perhaps some of it was… House finally cut them loose a little on some blitzes, which will certainly get your LB’s & Safties in more of a ‘hitting’ position than a ‘passive’ stance.

He backed off of that a little in the 2nd half as they outscored us 24-10 to tie the game.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 7:10 pm

Or 17-10, they got that TD on AD’s unfortunate personal foul late in the 2nd Q.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 7:12 pm

Hey I was right on my early August prediction that Tyler Boyd would be the next Larry Fitzgerald at PITT.

And wait until Tyler packs on 10-20 pounds of muscle. You will then see some packages moving him in & out of the backfield at least in the initial pre-snap formation. As a way to confuse the defensive package setup to try and stop him.

He will also carry the ball more next year I believe. On more reverses, etc.

Just an incredible talent, almost had the TD with the one handed layed out catch. Funny the fact that he didn’t use 2 hands led to his arm hitting out of bounds before his feet, which were in bounds.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 7:19 pm

Now, for the REAL DIFFERENCE in the Game… Chryst taking the lead on calling the plays on Offense.
Comment by PittofDreams 12.27.13 @ 11:24 am

good call PoD. Been screaming for this for quite a while. Why have BOTH the OC & the DC in ‘on the job’ training, when you have PC who can do OC.
Walt always called plays from the sideline and usually had a pretty effective offense.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 7:33 pm

Could we possibly have witnessed the burgeoning of a
Heisman potential candidate, last nite. I give you TB and DE, the first 2 way player, since that kid from MIchigan, James Connor.

You could possibly alternate him at TB with James and/or Ollison. Which would also allow Connor to get some snaps as a DE.

That did slightly remind me of Jackson & Green meeting at the QB, when AD & Connor met at the QB, resulting in a sack of the QB.

Think of the media attention… if PITT had a good team, with a bonafide 2 way player.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 7:50 pm

Halftime Tarholes 35
Northern Kentucky Norse 30

Late football game last nite:
Utah State 21
#23 Northern Illinois 14
(appears NIU wasn’t too good after all, amazing they were 1 win from a BCS game.)
Utah State finishes 9-5

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 7:54 pm

What a difference between our game and the Cuse -Minn game, Boring! Thank you Conner, Boyd and Voytik for making us fun to watch.

We are getting a lot of repeat highlight spots, kinda like free ads. Even speaking of our freshmen taking over.

So much better to win.

Comment by gc 12.27.13 @ 8:08 pm

According to Hillgrove(I couldn’t stand the ESPN BG flavor announcing )Voytek’s dad is a PITT doctor and the family is origionally from around Sharon Pa..
Comment by Pitt 60 12.27.13 @ 12:40 pm

Good info Pitt 60 since I didn’t have the radio on.
Voytik sounds more like a Western Pa name than one from Tennessee. Could Chad become a good to great Western Pa QB like so many have from the past.
Hope so, this kid stuck with PITT during the latest fiasco and helped keep that recruiting class somewhat intact.

Still think he could have played last year instead of Tiny.

Also your comment on ESPN’s broadcast being BG centric was spot on. We heard about their interim coach’s daughter’s bball team, even got a pic. On several occasions when possession switched to PITT, the annoying obligatory Espn sideline chick would do some sort of BS about BG, all the while, while PITT had the ball and was running plays. They came back late on a Voytik pass completion for a big play. We had to hear about some nobody named Dino Favers or something. You would have thought BG was the USC or Texas job or something.

They never mentioned that most all of PItt’s key plays were being made by true freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

Why was PITT broadcast as 2nd fiddle to a nothing program like Bowling Green ?

If this didn’t convince some, about the bias against Pitt football, nothing will.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:10 pm

Good thing you posted gc, I was beginning to believe I was………

link to

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:18 pm

“Bowling Green dominates Northern Illinois which won at Iowa and Purdue.”

Purdue (1-11)along with Virginia(2-10) had to be 2 of the worst AQ teams in the land. Along with Idaho(1-11), Temple(2-10), Cal(1-11)(bet they’re sorry they fired Jeff Tedford), Hawaii(1-11) and New Mexico State(2-10). Miami of Ohio could have been the worst though at 0-12.

So beating Purdue was akin to beating Temple.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:27 pm

Even Tiny did that ! haha

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:28 pm

Thanks to wbb & rhyno for posting those links.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:45 pm

Did anyone catch a glimpse of Tyrique Jarrett on the sideline, think it was in the 4rth Q.

That kid is humongous.

Hope he can play, don’t see anyone moving him out of many holes.

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:49 pm

Ok I’m all caught up on the comments.

Lots of good ones, lots of good info, enjoyed the read everyone.

H2P !
VeV !

P.S. when’s the next game, I’m psyched !

Comment by Emel 12.27.13 @ 8:58 pm

Emel, you were kinda dominating the conversation. LOL

Comment by gc 12.27.13 @ 9:00 pm

I was visiting my mom’s with the family and was unable to watch the game. Reading the final score pleased me a great deal.

Voytik’s cousin, or nephew, or some relative, played for Hickory High School (Hermitage, PA near Sharon) and he played a great game against PIAA AA champion South Fayette (Brett Brumbaugh IS the real deal).

I grew up in NE Ohio and graduated from Kent State. KSU (MAC) is a perennial football doormat, but the MAC does play some good football and they send players to the NFL on a regular basis. No MAC team is Alabama or Florida State, and never will be, but they aren’t all creampuffs.

This win can do nothing but help Pitt in recruiting. As for those WPIAL players who left, I don’t blame the kid who picked Michigan State, but the Quips who picked WVU can sink with that leaky ship and as for Mr. McKenzie, I seem to remember one Brian Davis, coached as a youth by a friend of my dad in Little Worshington (Washington, PA for those of you who aren’t from Western PA). Davis was an all-world recruit, signed up by Mike Gottfried, and Davis didn’t last one semester.

Pittsburgh sports fans are a spoiled bunch. We have had winners and we like winners. Pitt will draw fans to Heinz Field IF THEY WIN. H2P!

Comment by Penguins Fan 12.27.13 @ 9:13 pm

info for you the mac has lost all there bowl games this year they have lost 4 with one more to play.
and so far we are the only ACC team with a win but most of ACC has not played yet.
but maryland has lost and the orange are loseing.

Comment by Frankcan 12.27.13 @ 9:31 pm

the orange pulled it out so the ACC is 2 and 1 so far

Comment by Frankcan 12.27.13 @ 9:36 pm

Yeah Frank….only B1G bound Maryland lost in the ACC so far. Helps our local recruiting IMO…

Comment by Jackagain 12.27.13 @ 9:38 pm

Sadly it is sounding like Jamil Kamara is heading to Virginia.

Comment by Shawn 12.27.13 @ 10:22 pm

@shawn….how did you hear that? Not surprising since he’s from VA but I was still holding out hope. Maybe they get the NJ kid.

Comment by VAYinzer 12.27.13 @ 10:38 pm

Lots of good fun. Great comments from all you guys. A win always does wonders for ones attitude. Sure hope I’m wrong about Chryst and the football program gets turned around.

Now let’s win some basketball games!.

Happy New Year. It sure was a great Christmas.

Comment by Old Pitt Grad 12.27.13 @ 11:06 pm

Hard to blame him to pick UVA since its like the Ivy League in the south but on a football stand point, good luck! They are a mess with London at the helm. I hope he pulls a different hat! I mean the show put on by Boyd this year had to be noticed. We are always in that position and the player goes somewhere else. So maybe our luck is turning. The buzz is out there and it will help recruiting. Kids want to play and all the freshmen that played this year shows the PC will play the best no matter what.

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.27.13 @ 11:17 pm

Great win! Doc I still don’t agree that it was a must win for the program but it sure appears to accelerate the process of program building. It feels very good after only 2 years for HCPC’s Panthers to be in this position, ready to spring forward. Gentlemen, we have a coach! And we have a program! Our lack of depth is ridiculous but it is for the right reasons, The guys who are left mostly really want to be at Pitt, play hard football and have talent!

Chas I wanted to comment last night but got some weird message from a company(?) that there was a problem , probably with the site and it appeared to be leading me down the garden path of paying them to fix it (or possibly getting my checking account or credit card info.) Needless to say I closed everything down. Do you have any other reports? Do you have any reports of a virus/scam? If not there may still be one but specifically one that has attacked my computer. I’ll note the name and info. on the purported fix it business and let you know if it happens again. Please feel free to e mail me any response if you don’t want to take up time and space on this blog. Thanks.

Again a great win! HTP!

Comment by OPFIM 12.27.13 @ 11:21 pm

It was on Twitter. I am still crossing my fingers but it’s not looking good.

Comment by Shawn 12.27.13 @ 11:24 pm

i saw a twitter last night from him it was still the 3 schools till jan 4 with no clear pick .
3 hats on a table but the pitt hat was in the middle i felt good abought that i dont know why.

Comment by Frankcan 12.27.13 @ 11:42 pm

Ok, so outgoing ACC team loses and newcomers win. Sounds like a good deal. Btw, Vinopal is better than lots here give him credit for. He is smart and quick to react…not the fastest at top speed, but Chryst used him effectively.

Comment by panther94 12.27.13 @ 11:45 pm

Sorry…House, not Chryst, used him effectively,

Comment by panther94 12.27.13 @ 11:53 pm

Vinopal got better as the year went on. Experience does that. I hope this team continues to improve!

Comment by Shawn 12.28.13 @ 12:09 am

I have to disagree with Vinopal. Before we get all gushy and yes, I am guilty of that, number 9 was out of position often. He did make some nice tackles but bit too much on play action, opening the deep ball. The good news is that BG didn’t execute. When they look at the film they will only blame themselves. There were a couple wheel routes too, that were wide open.

I am stoked about our position right now with recruiting and perception. When Conner is stiff arming, I mean punching defenders in the head to get more yards, that is awesome. I will go on record to say he is not the answer long term unless the OL develops into ground maulers. At that point his downhill running will be effective. Blewitt was clutch as usual. You just have to feel good about the field goal kicker! All in all, a very good year. Would still like a bench coach for Chryst to rely upon during the game for sound counsel.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 12.28.13 @ 1:23 pm

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