Time to fire up yet another edition of the running diary! I literally just sped home from a post-wedding brunch in Jersey to get in just before kickoff so unfortunately there was no time for a preview. My tweeted prediction is 27-21. I think ND is going to have to wait at least another week to get the ground game going (Pitt has been holding opponents to about three yards per carry) so this is all on Dayne’s shoulders. The edge we have in the coaching battle should be the difference.
It’s gametime—let’s go!
3:30 We open with a nice little montage that lets us know Dayne Crist just turned 21 and then shows the Pitt fullback walking into the stadium with a pair of boxing gloves around his neck as some sort of lame symbolic gesture of toughness. Do you think his teammates see the gloves and get pumped up or look at them and say, “Man, you’re a dork.” In terms of intimidation it pales in comparison to Manti Te’o’s necklace made of the skulls of quarterbacks he’s decapitated since he was a sophomore in high school.
3:36 The game time temperature is in the 80’s! Sure hope the students enjoy it because there’s a great than 50% chance that it’ll be in the 40’s for next week’s contest.
3:37 The cheerleaders have jumped the gun in leading the team out of the tunnel by like 45 seconds again. This literally has happened every week this year. Someone has to be telling them to do it that early, right?
3:41 Bennett Jackson with a decent return to start the game. It’s amazing how he kick-started the return game last week. I don’t know how much faster he is than Cierre or Theo, but the way he attacks and gets upfield makes him seem like lightning.
3:42 First play of the game Scherer blows up a double team and sacks Crist. Zack Martin just got roasted while Trevor Robinson was a step late on the help and give the Paul Duncan matador wave. Mayock lambasts them for letting it happen. I really like Mayock, he’s been a phenomenal replacement for Pat Haden. Also, why is Martin at right tackle???
3:43 Three and out for the Irish on the opening drive after Dayne’s third down pass falls short. He’ll go to the sideline where Brian Kelly is practically foaming at the mouth in anticipation of lighting into him. Ben Turk booms a 51-yarder! It seems Kelly’s threats of bodily harm have finally struck a chord with the young punter.
3:47 Pitt is just methodically trudging down the field with a nice mix of runs and passes. They’re over midfield and we haven’t shown any indication of being able to stop them.
3:48 First and 10 inside the 30 is blown up by Ian Williams. Need to stiffen up here boys, keep them out of field goal range.
3:49 Little pass to the fullback in the flat is wide open and he rumbles for 12 yards and another first down. Sunseri is 5 for 5 on the drive. Please tell me we’re not about to make another mediocre-to-bad quarterback look like a Heisman winner.
3:50 Kapron Lewis-Moore does a great job blowing up another run in the backfield. 3rd and 7 coming up. Come on Irish, let’s force a field goal and get off the field.
3:51 Sunseri completes a pass but it’s going to be short of the first down. The Pitt kicker comes out and drills the 26 yarder and the Panthers take a 3-0 lead. That was a great drive—12 plays, 68 yards in 6:22. There were a few plays where the defensive line got some penetration and snuffed out the play before it got going which is good to see out of the gate. We need to disrupt their rhythm like that a little more often because if we allow Sunseri to stay comfortable it’s going to be a long day.
3:57 First play of the Irish drive is off-setting penalties (a hold on Romine and a horse-collar by a defender). Important Note: HD Gremlin lets us know that Martin shifted to right tackle and Romine is getting the start at left tackle because Taylor Dever wasn’t able to go today.
3:59 Back-to-back runs by Armando on 2nd and 3rd down picks up the first down.
4:00 Theo Riddick catches a pass near the right sideline and puts two NASTY jukes on a pair of defensive backs to get another first down. He’s a different kind of shifty than Golden Tate was; Theo’s cuts are more violent and oftentimes make the defender look dumber whereas Golden’s were subtle and he seemed to maintain full speed even as he put a move on someone. They’re both incredibly fun to watch in the open field.
4:00 A fantastic one-handed stab by Floyd on 1st down picks up five. Good sign that his head is in the game.
4:01 Armando with a great run on a draw play! He did a phenomenal job wading through the pile and finding a hole to pick up 10 yards and a first down. How many times did we utter the phrase “great vision on that carry by Armando” in his first three years? Once? Twice? Never? We’re inside the 30, keep on rollin’ baby!
4:02 Crist unleashes a LASER to Floyd in between four defenders for a 14-yard gain inside the 10 yard line. Helluva pass there by Dayne, that was on a string.
4:03 Dayne Crist targets Riddick in the endzone and it’s too high, but the Pitt defender is flagged for pass interference. Two flags went flying in as well as Riddick’s towel—which he threw up in the air to encourage the officials to do the right thing. I love Theo.
4:05 TOUCHDOWN IRRRRRRRRRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!! A quick fade to the endzone to Michael Floyd, who just ABUSED the defender. It was pretty well defended but there was just no way Floyd was going to be denied by that 5’9” pixie who was given the impossible task of stopping him. He’s locked in today which is a bad, bad thing if you’re a Pitt fan. That was the longest touchdown drive of the season (4:50). I’m too happy right now to be upset that in our sixth game we still haven’t had a drive that’s burned more than five minutes off the clock. 7-3 IRISH.
4:08 David Ruffer has been replaced by Nick Tausch on kickoffs. That’s really interesting; I thought Ruffer had been doing a really good job. Tausch has more hang time but Ruffer clearly kicks it farther. The hang time pays off on this play and ND smothers the return right at the 24.
4:11 First play from scrimmage is a big play down the middle for Jonathan Baldwin when Jamoris Slaughter bites on the play-action fake. That’s a 32 yard chunk. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to be the last time we hear “Baldwin” and “big play” in the same sentence today.
4:13 The Irish hold on third down but Te’o roughs the passer to keep the drive alive. Sunseri missed a WIDE open Baldwin down the sideline, threw it 5 yards out of bounds where if he led him it would’ve been an easy touchdown. Pretty questionable call on the personal foul—Te’o barely bumped him and Sunseri flopped enough to draw the hanky.
4:15 Ray Graham’s first carry is a 14 yard gain straight up the middle and Pitt is inside the Irish 15 yard line. Come on fellas, we can’t let them gash us up the middle. The interior of their offensive line has been their weakest link to this point in the season—we need to exploit it, not allow them to build up some degree of confidence.
4:16 The first quarter ends with Pitt facing a 2nd and 7 at the 10 yard line. We desperately need a stop here. They’ve been moving the ball well so if we can escape with just two field goals allowed it’ll be a minor victory.
4:19 The Irish hold and force another field goal attempt, this one from 27 yards. Good stand.
4:20 WIDE RIGHT! He just shoved it, never had a chance. Let’s piece together another drive and get Pitt behind the 8-ball. These are the type of opportunities this team has yet to seize this year.
4:22 Two straight short runs by Cierre Wood brings up a 3rd and 4. Come on Irish.
4:23 First down, Cierre with a good, hard run on third down. A nifty little spin move ensured he got the first down. Welcome back from the doghouse Cierre!
4:24 Armando picks up yet another first down on the ground. This is just a great drive.
4:25 Dr. Alex Flanagan takes some time away from her in-game tweeting and x-ray reading to regale us with an anecdote about Dayne’s 21st birthday. Brace yourself:
“Dayne has a lot of family in town…I don’t know what they’re going to do after the game…back to you Tom!”
This ranks up there with the analysis of Clausen’s turf toe last year in her hall of fame segments. Keep her away from Dayne because there’s an outside chance if she tells him a story of similar ilk he’ll concuss himself trying to figure out the point of it.
4:26 Dayne delivers a strike to Theo for another first down.
4:27 Three more plays and another first down on the ground. It’s nice to be on this side of the long drive chock full of third down conversions.
4:28 Great, patient checkdown by Dayne to Ragone for 10 yards and a first down inside the 10. That play is a perfect example of the maturation of Dayne: he went through his progression, found his safety valve, and then delivered a perfect ball with nice touch on it. He obviously needs to start doing it with more consistency but the flashes are there and that’s a great sign for the future.
4:29 TOUCHDOOOOOOOOOOOOOWN IRISH!!!!!! Dayne takes it himself on a broken play, scampering 10 yards and slipping in the endzone untouched. Just a great drive: 15 plays and 80 yards in 6:23. The last two drives have been our two longest of the year—if that’s not a good sign I don’t know what is. Dayne’s on fire right now and we’re doing a great job leaving 3rd and shorts that leave both runs and passes as options. We were 3 for 3 on 3rd downs and two were converted on the ground. The balance is just a thing of beauty.
4:36 The Panthers’ drive start with two plays and an easy first down. We can’t afford to just let them roll down the field so easily like they have their first two drives.
4:37 Darius Fleming BURIES Sunseri on the very next play. He blew by the right tackle and delivered a HUGE hit. Sets up a 2nd and 18.
4:39 INTERCEPTION HARRISON SMITH, the Pitt receiver slips and Hayseed gets a pass right in the bread basket. It’s about damn time we came up with a huge turnover, the Irish start with great field position at the Pitt 45. SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY.
4:41 Dayne Crist delivers a beautiful strike and TJ Jones comes up with an even more beautiful catch right down the seam for a HUGE 37 yard gain. The pass was a hair long but Jones did a phenomenal job reeling it in. ND is down to the 9 yard line. They’re reviewing the play but this will stand.
4:44 The Irish are flagged for a delay of game. Brian Kelly is throwing an absolute fit and deservedly so since we had about two minutes for the play with the review. Luckily the totally undisciplined Pitt defense jumps offsides on the very next play so we’re back to where we started. No harm, no foul.
4:46 On first and second down Crist targets Michael Floyd but both fall incomplete thanks to poor passes by Dayne. On 2nd down Floyd almost makes an unbelievable one handed snag for a touchdown but he barely bobbled it once he hit the ground. Crist completed 12 in a row before those last two duds, let’s hope this isn’t a prolonged drought like he’s been prone to all year.
4:48 Crist fumbles and recovers on third down forcing a field goal attempt. That’s very disappointing. Ruffer drills it home and Notre Dame takes a 17-3 lead.
4:52 The Valvoline Guaranteed Play is a replay of Dion Lewis shattering Sergio’s ankles on his long run in the game last year. Somebody gag me. Just for fun I looked back at what I wrote in last year’s diary about the play:
“10:39 Touchdown Pitt, Dion Lewis went right up the gut for 50 yards. He put one little move on Sergio Brown around the 35 yard line, broke his ankles, and then outran the rest of the defense. Sergio is just not good. At all. 27-9 Pitt.”
4:54 Pitt picks up a first down on the first play but two plays later they’re facing a 3rd and 3. Come on Irish, 2 minutes left. LET’S GET A STOP HERE.
4:54 First down to Mike Shanahan on a quick out. Damn. Pitt has a first down at the 50 with 1:55 left.
4:56 A short pass to Graham on second down forces Pitt to burn their second timeout with 1:12 left. They’re facing a 3rd and 8. If we can get this stop we may be able to piece something together and give Ruffer a chance before halftime.
4:58 First down Pitt, RJ Blanton gets burned for a 16 yard gain. Unfortunately that’s something Irish fans are prepared for on every defensive third down.
5:00 Pitt barely picks up a first down at the 22 yard line with 31 seconds left. Come on, let’s keep them off the board here. Their kicker is trash, keep him out around a 40 yard kick.
5:02 Sunseri barely escapes a HUGE loss on 2nd down and manages to get the ball to Dion Lewis who picks up three yards.
5:02 The third down pass sails out of the endzone bringing up another field goal attempt, this one from 36 yards with 6 seconds left.
5:03 BOBBLED SNAP! DOESN’T EVEN GET THE FIELD GOAL OFF! WHAT A HUGE BIFF BY THE PANTHERS! I can’t say it’s even remotely surprising to see a Dave Wannstedt squad shooting themselves in the foot.
5:04 Dayne Crist takes a knee and the Irish will escape with a 17-3 lead. Great first half for Brian Kelly’s squad.
The two big stories thus far are the Irish offense hitting its stride and Pitt doing everything they can to ensure Notre Dame emerges victorious. With the exception of the three and out on the first drive and stalling inside the 10 on the final drive that was a fantastic effort on the offensive side of the ball. The defense, while certainly not dominating, played well enough to take advantage of the Panthers’ miscues and tightened up in the redzone.
Pitt, on the other hand, already has two botched field goals, a turnover, and a slew of stupid penalties. Sunseri has decent stats (18 of 25 for 156 yards) but he’s missed some huge, wide-open opportunities that could’ve shifted the momentum of this game (specifically the times he’s missed Baldwin).
5:27 Pitt gets the ball to start the second half. After a good chunk of yardage on first down they fumble the snap on 2nd down. Big third down here, we want to get them off the field right away.
5:28 ZEKE MOTTA WITH A BIG STOP ON BALDWIN SHORT OF THE FIRST DOWN! Way to come up and make a play Zeke!
5:28 Pitt tries a fake punt and it’s stopped short of the first down! BIG TIME PLAY. Great job by Barry Gallup to come up with the tackle; if he wouldn’t have made the play Pitt would’ve picked up the first down. The Irish take over with GREAT field position at the 34. Come on baby, let’s deliver a DAGGER.
5:30 Three plays, one yard and the Irish waste an opportunity. Ruffer is going to attempt a 50 yard field goal.
5:31 RUFFER DRILLLLLLS THE FIELD GOAL! This kid is AWESOME! The disappointment of the failed drive is relieved slightly—that was a thing of beauty. That’s a career long and breaks Nick Tausch’s record of 14 straight field goals. Nate Whitaker: Go suck a lemon. Notre Dame 20, Pitt 3.
5:33 Pitt bobbles the kickoff and will start the drive at the 15. They’re just a calamity of errors.
5:34 Big run on first down right up the middle.
5:36 RJ Blanton blows up a wide receiver screen to Baldwin for a loss on 2nd down. What a great job shedding that pathetic attempt at a block and wrapping up. That’ll bring up a 3rd and 10. LET’S GET OFF THE FIELD BOYS.
5:37 THE IRISH SACK SUNSERI ON A JAILBREAK BLITZ. Blanton and Motta supplied the initial pressure but Freshman Prince Shembo is the one who will receive credit for bringing Sunseri down. That’s three sacks in two games for Prince. Not too shabby. Pitt punts and the Irish will take over at the 32.
5:40 Trevor Robinson gets flagged for holding right out of the gate to set up a 1st and 20. He’s having a shockingly sub-par year. I think it was most people’s expectation that he’d be the best lineman on the team but he’s been far from it.
5:40 Dayne has a nice little run on first down for 8 yards though it’ll still leave 2nd and 12
5:42 Dayne throws two straight incomplete passes—that’s six straight incompletions. These spurts of inconsistency need to stop. Irish waste another chance to bury Pitt and it’s time for a punt.
5:43 Ben Turk gets off a good punt and then flops Joey Hilbold-style which draws a 5-yard Running Into the Kicker penalty. The replay shows he was barely touched though at first glance it looked like he’d been taken down by a sniper. The penalty will be assessed at the end of the play and Pitt will take over at the 18.
5:46 Pitt is stopped short of the first down bringing up a 4th and 1. They’re going to go for it on their own 28—HUGE HUGE HUGE PLAY, this could be the end of Pitt if they don’t get it. Is this an example of confidence in their team or disrespect of ND’s defense?
5:47 Lewis rips off a 30 yard run off left tackle for a first down. DAMNIT.
5:49 Sunseri completes a pass down the left sideline for 21 yards and a first down inside the 15 yard line. This is an unfortunate and unwanted turn of events.
5:51 Touchdown Pitt. Blanton and Shembo bite on a play-action fake and Sunseri scampers in on a naked bootleg. Notre Dame 20, Pitt 10 with 3:12 left in the third quarter. The offense better wake up or risk letting the Panthers get right back in this game. Dayne’s smack dab in the middle of one of his cold streaks—he needs to snap out of it. I know he’s going to experience growing pains but part of the maturation process is eliminating the ones that happen week after week after week. He’s gone through these spells every game, it’s about time to address it. Sidenote: can we get back to the run game a bit?
5:57 Two plays and a quick first down for the Irish. Good start.
5:58 Huge play down the middle of the field for Michael Floyd but it’s coming back for holding. Jiminy flipping Christmas. On the bright side that was a great throw so maybe the cold streak is over, but that’s the only silver lining. 50 yard swing there.
5:59 Two completions to Rudolph can’t make up the 20 necessary yards and ND will have to punt.
6:00 BEN TURK BOOOOMS ANOTHER 51 YARD PUNT!!!!! Zeke Motta wrangles down the returner back at the 7-yard line and Pitt’s going to have a long way to go to get into scoring position. How about Ben Turk suddenly finding his rhythm!?!?! That was an absolutely GORGEOUS punt. It’s amazing what a good punt can do to subtly shift momentum. Now the crowd is fired up despite the fact we had to turn the ball back over. Come on, TURNOVER HERE BOYS!
6:04 The fourth quarter begins with a little pass to the running back that he takes for a big 17 yard gain. I have absolutely no idea what Darrin Walls was doing there. He never even made an attempt even though he should’ve had an angle right around the 10 yard mark. Has the shoulder injury been the main factor in this new tentative approach?
6:06 Pitt is faced with a big 3rd and 1 that Notre Dame STUFFS short of the line. The ball actually popped loose but Pitt jumped on the ball. That’ll force another punt. Great job there by the defense, it’s time for the offense to step up and put this game out of reach.
6:09 Dayne Crist had a WIDE OPEN Kyle Rudolph down the left sideline and just missed him. After further review though that wasn’t a bad throw—Rudolph is really limping and just couldn’t get to it. I don’t know if he tweaked his hamstring or if it’s something else but he should not be in the game if that’s what he can bring to the table. No offense to him at all, just reality.
6:11 Two passes to Theo Riddick, two first downs and the Irish are at the 41.
6:11 Check that, three passes to Theo, three first downs. He’s a one man wrecking crew.
6:12 A 13-yard pass to Michael Floyd for another first down. Dayne Crist is back in NBA Jam On-Fire mode right now.
6:13 Armando converts a 2nd and 1 after Cierre Wood set it up with a great 9-yard run on first down.
6:15 The drive stalls in large part due to a Rudolph drop on 2nd down. TJ Jones couldn’t reel in a pass on third down and went sliding into the cheerleaders. The way he was positioning his arm looked almost like he hurt his collarbone…man I hope that’s not the case. Ruffer comes out, splits the uprights, and it’s 23-10 Irish with 9:06 left.
6:18 ND surrenders a good return to Ray Graham on the kickoff and Pitt will take over with good field position at their own 36. The defense has come up big all game—they need to deliver for nine more minutes.
6:21 Two plays and eight yards for the Panthers brings up a big 3rd and 2 …COME ON DEFENSE.
6:22 Touchdown Pitt. First the defense bit hard on the play-action and then Sunseri hit a wide open Jon Baldwin when Jamoris Slaughter got drawn up thinking it was a quarterback run. The play went 56 yards and suddenly the entire Notre Dame fan base is going “Good Lord, not again…” Pitt cuts the deficit to six, 23-17. We NEED a scoring drive here boys.
6:26 First down is a nine yard pass to Goodman. Armando barely picks up the first down on the next play.
6:27 Armando picks up 8 yards on the next play but perhaps more importantly the play happens so quickly they can’t review the previous play which should’ve been ruled a fumble. HUGE bullet dodged right there.
6:29 TOUCHDOOOOOOOOOOWN IRISH!!!! MICHAEL FLOYD DRAGS ACROSS THE MIDDLE AND TAKES IT 44 YARDS TO THE HOUSE! Annnnnnnnnnd it’s coming back because of offensive pass interference. GODDAMNIT TO HELL.
6:31 Theo Riddick—the player guilty of the penalty on the previous play—drops a pass on third down and the drive comes to a screeching halt. Ben Turk gets off a good punt that rolls down to the 10-yard line. There’s an overwhelming sense of “Oh No” in the room right now. It’s up to the Irish defense to deliver a play to close out this victory. Can’t say I’m particularly confident. Prove me wrong.
6:34 First down is a short little run up the middle. 2nd and 7 coming up.
6:35 Manti Te’o ROCKS Lewis and stops him for a two yard gain. 3rd and 5. HUGE HUGE HUGE PLAY HERE. COME ON IRISH.
6:35 ROBERT BLANTON COMES ON A BLITZ AND KNOCKS DOWN THE PASS TO BRING UP 4TH AND 5. Pitt looks like they’re going for it from their own 15?!?! Here’s your ball game, STEP UP DEFENSE.
6:37 Pitt called a timeout, reconsidered, and punted it away. Irish ball at their own 35 with 3:15 left on the clock. Let’s bleed this thing out boys, don’t let them touch it again.
6:39 First down is a great completion to Michael Floyd for a 13 yard gain. Huge pick-up, we’re at midfield. Now we can bleed the hell out of this clock.
6:40 Hard six yard run by Armando Allen sets up a 2nd and 4.
6:41 Mike Ragone drops what was a sure-fire first down, stopping the clock and bringing up a 3rd down. Jesus Mike, that’s absolutely INEXCUSABLE.
6:42 An incompletion on third down brings up 4th down and forces another Ben Turk punt. Turk does his job and pins Pitt at the 6-yard line with 1:37 to go. People will lambaste Kelly for passing in that situation but that was hardly more than a shovel pass and it was absolutely PERFECTLY set up. A third-string high school tight end could make that catch and if he did he could’ve moonwalked for the first down.
6:44 SUNSERI SPIKES IT IN THE ENDZONE ON FIRST DOWN. THAT SHOULD BE A SAFETY, THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO ATTEMPT TO THROW THAT TO ANYONE. The refs rule that Graham was in the area—even though he was blocking—and therefore it was not grounding. Mayock blasts the call as well. ABSOLUTE GARBAGE.
6:45 Kelly challenges which is bizarre because despite how terrible the call was it won’t be overturned since it’s a judgment call. Second down will be coming up, COME ON BOYS.
6:47 INTERCEPTION HARRISON SMITH! BALL GAME! THANK GOD, WHAT A TERRIBLE, DUCK OF A PASS AT THE MOST WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL TIME!
6:48 Damnit, this is going to be coming all the way back because Smith bobbled it and it hit the ground. This is an absolutely perfect example of not closing out a team when we have the chance. That was a gift that we just squandered. It’s also another example of how the Irish let sure interceptions that should finish games slip through their fingers. It started with Pete Bercich against BC in ’93 and—with the exception of the ’02 season—continued pretty much straight through to today.
6:50 Overturned. Pitt faces 3rd and 10 at the 7 with 1:22 left. Terrible sinking feeling right in the pit of my stomach right now even though they have 93 yards to go. That’s not a good reflection of our defense, is it? Please finish them for the love of God.
6:50 Short completion brings up 4th and 4 and forces Pitt to burn a timeout. For the love of all that is holy, FINISH THEM HERE.
6:51 GARY GRAY BREAKS UP THE PASS TO BALDWIN AND THE IRISH FINALLY DRIVE THE DAGGER INTO THEIR HEART. BOOOOOOOOOOM BABY!
6:52 Victory Formation. Awesome. The Irish are back at .500 and poised to make a serious run at a respectable record over the second half of the season.
6:58 I’m in the middle of hashing out some post-game thoughts but this quote from Harrison Smith on how the victory felt bears repeating: “Anything feels good no matter how you get it.” That’s Ben Roethlisberger’s philosophy on life, isn’t it?
Five quick reflections:
1. Great job by the defense to come up big at the end of the game. They absolutely swamped Pitt on the Panthers’ final two drives which could have been game-winners. Pitt has a few All-American caliber playmakers in Baldwin, Lewis, and Graham so the fact that ND kept them in check for most of the game is a fantastic accomplishment. To me the biggest indicator of the improvement over last year is the body language of the team down the stretch. On the final two drives the defense was decisive and aggressive. We took it right at the Pitt offense, which is the polar opposite of the last couple years where we sat back on our heels and everyone held their breath waiting for the inevitable disaster to happen.
2. The offense still hasn’t acquired that killer instinct yet. This week it was little things where they shot themselves in the foot when a big play seemed imminent. Michael Floyd had two big plays erased because of penalties—one that would’ve been a touchdown—and that Ragone drop on the easy pass in the flat left the door wide open for Pitt to come back in the final minutes.
3. Can you remember the last time Notre Dame won the special teams battle so decisively? I’ve been extremely critical of Ben Turk so it’s time to dish out equal praise now that the light bulb appears to have gone on. Phenomenal performance from the sophomore to pin Pitt inside the ten for their final two drives—mentally it jacked up the defense and deflated the Panther offense a bit. Kudos to him.
4. David Ruffer deserves his own line. What a fantastic find this kid has been. That 50-yard kick was absolutely drilled as he cemented his name in the Irish record books for the most consecutive field goals made. The difference in the game turned out to be the execution on field goals: Ruffer split the uprights on all three and Pitt came away empty-handed on two different attempts. Like I said earlier: Nate Whitaker, you are not needed/wanted.
5. It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but it’s a victory nonetheless. A 3-3 record at the midway point is certainly not ideal but it’s not an abject disaster either. Each week little things start to come together. The improvement hasn’t been as fast-paced as many (including myself) had hoped for (at least secretly if not publicly) but each week little things have started to come together. Hopefully after fattening up on a couple of cream puffs the next few weeks we’ll get into a solid rhythm on both sides of the ball before going into our last trio of games against what could be a Top 10 Utah squad and the Trojans of Southern Cal.