Sports Magazine

Pitt : WHAT MATTERS - Same Old Team, Same Old Pitt

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Tonight's defeat to the North Carolina Tar Heels stings a bit. The game was not as close as the final score, 26-19, as Pitt committed too many key mistakes against a stingy Tar Heels team. Nate Peterman was constantly under duress in the second half. UNC racked up 5 sacks in the game, forcing pressure on Peterman to either run for his life or force a throw. Peterman was fortunate several of his incompletions were not picked off. Credit UNC's pass defense. They were ranked in the Top 10 in the FBS and came to play tonight. It was also disappointing to watch the Panthers' offense at times. Pitt dominated time of possession, but could not put up points to show. Speaking of which, UNC struck quickly, feeding off big plays. The Tar Heels had a long TD pass to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. Less than 8 minutes later, the Heels scored on a 32 yard pass play to take a commanding 17-3 advantage. The big plays put Pitt behind and were never really able to recover. Pitt scored a TD in the final minutes to cut the lead to 26-19, but K Chris Blewitt missed the extra point.
Anyway, not to rehash the game, but Pitt did it again. They were on to something special through the first 8 weeks of the season. The only loss on a "fluky" 57 yard FG as time expired at Iowa separated them from the ranks of the unbeaten. But tonight was the "big" game on a national stage against a formidable ACC foe in UNC, who was on an impressive streak of their own. The Tar Heels also sat at 6-1 entering tonight's contest at Heinz Field. The Panthers fell flat on their faces in the big game. My fellow Panther fans, it is not like we have not experienced this before. Our beloved football team has tended to play well or start strong and just choke when it counts. Here are examples I recall:
-2009 season: Pitt starts 9-1, ranked in the Top 10, and loses its final two games to WVU and Cincinnati, and a shot at the Big East Championship.
-2008 season: Pitt loses its season opener, 27-17, to Bowling Green at Heinz Field. The Panthers proceed on a 5-game winning streak. In the following game, 2-5 Rutgers marches into Heinz Field and smacks Pitt, 54-34.
-2006 season: Pitt wins 6 of its first 7 games. The Panthers then "lose out", falling in their final 5 contests to finish 6-6.
The mood and attitude goes well beyond frustration. No matter the coach, the players, the fans, this team continues to fail when it counts most, over and over again. Who really knows what it is going to take. I hope Pat Narduzzi can figure it out before it happens.... again.

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