Bob Smizik

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Pitt put up 20 points in regulation against the No. 2 scoring defense in the nation.

It would have won the game were it not for a phantom pass interference call that allowed Notre Dame to score a fourth-quarter touchdown.

It should have won the game in overtime if its kicker made a 33-yard field goal.

And who are many of the football geniuses blaming for this 29-26 triple-overtime loss to the No. 4 team in the country? Quarterback Tino Sunseri, of course.

Pitt scored more points against Notre Dame than any team had all season, and that includes four games against ranked opponents. The Irish were allowing an average of 10 points a game and Pitt doubled that in regulation.

And the Sunseri boo birds were in full voice.

In the familiar word of the late Beano Cook: ``Unbelievable.’’

The Pitt offense and Sunseri did its job yesterday. It helped produce a 20-6 lead. The Pitt defense could not hold that lead.

How does this defeat fall to Sunseri?

I know, I know, he didn't produce any fourth-quarter points. He should not have had to after leading the offense to 10 third-quarter points, which gave Pitt a 14-point lead.

There's no shame in failing to score in a quarter against one of the best defenses in the country. Of the 32 quarters of football Notre Dame played before yesterday, the opposition was scoreless in 19 of them. The Irish outscored 12th-ranked Oklahoma, 17-0, in the final five minutes of the game.

This is not to suggest Sunseri covered himself in glory. He did not. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked five times.

He’s an adequate quarterback who would been highly instrumental in one of the biggest upsets of the year if his defense didn't blow a 14-point lead; if the refs didn't choke on a pass interference call; if Pitt didn't miss a 33-yard field goal.

Pitt was oh, so close to beating the No. 4 team in the country. That it did not does not fall to Tino Sunseri.

Comments (73)Add Comment
written by Retire#21, November 04, 2012 - 04:43 am
Bob, I'm pleased to see that you are holding the officials accountable on that ridiculous pass interference call on that 4th down play.

The only thing worse than that call in Pitt history, by my memory, was the clearly blatant attempt to get WVU to the BCS game by the Big East officials late in the 4th quarter of the 13-9 game at WVU.

Pitt was robbed yesterday and it was not by Sunseri. Chryst had a role in it too with his play selection with less than 4 minutes to go (and at the end of the half but he got away with that).
written by fried003, November 04, 2012 - 04:55 am
Agree with this analysis - a great effort overall ruined mostly by the bad call.
written by msb46, November 04, 2012 - 05:01 am
A few thoughts on the game:

I agree that in a team sport like football it is unfair to pin a loss on one player. However, maybe I'm used to watching Big Ben, but I had zero confidence that Tino was going to scramble and make a big play in the 4th quarter or the overtimes.

After Pitt intercepted the ball in the end zone in the 4th quarter they needed to do two things; give the ball to your best player (Graham) and take some time off the clock. They did neither. I blame that on Chryst.

The pass interference call on Williams was one of the worst calls I have ever seen. A little bit earlier, the NON pass interference call against the Notre Dame defender in the end zone, I think he was guarding Shanahan, was horrible as well. The defender had no idea where the ball was, and he face guarded. I thought that was text book pass interference.
written by mflajnik, November 04, 2012 - 05:07 am
Heckuva game--most entertaining NCAA tilt of the year

Big-screen TV broken by vase after the 'pass interference call.' Golden Dome bad stuff.
written by 123, November 04, 2012 - 05:08 am
99.9% of the time when one cites a play that won or lost a game, it's a gross exaggeration. You can usually say that about ten different plays.

Not this time. Given the gift of a fumble in OT, Pitt misses a short field goal to win. Now you can dissect that series. After a couple of nice runs, Graham cuts outside instead of inside on third down to try to get the first and comes up short. That does make the the angle tougher.

I had written the season off anyway after the Y'State game. Why go to a BCS game your lame duck year in the Big East and get crushed anyway.

Good to see Graham maybe help himself with the draft on a national stage in front of the scouts. Not so Shananhan.

written by mew15522, November 04, 2012 - 05:24 am
Bob, I partially agree... The points you made were valid, but incomplete. During the 4th quarter - virtually no time was eaten by the offense. Points werent required, but a few first downs would have made all the difference. Punt game also fell apart.
written by csf, November 04, 2012 - 05:25 am
The winning QB had substantial time to look over the field and go thru his progressions, and in the OTs, pretty much just handed the ball off.

When in the the 4th quarter of the past 2 years has the Pitt QB ever been afforded these luxuries?
written by Mr. Pitt, November 04, 2012 - 05:29 am
Tino shouldn't get all the blame, but he does deserve some. His body of work is large enough to see that he has had similar end game performances many, many times with different OL, coaches, WRs. Many sacks, fumbles, interceptions. Not many completions, TDs, etc. I get no pleasure in writing this because I want Tino to have that break through. I was hoping last night was his time. Last 18 plays netted 4 yards, I heard.

Other game thoughts:

1. Chryst by now should know his personnel and not put the game so much in Tino's hands. He is playing well, but he is not clutch. At some level I respect Chryst for believing in his player, but I still think it was a bad move. Run the ball.
2. Our DBs are really good.
3. A win would have been big. I could imagine plausible scenarios where the Pitt team could have represented itself MUCH, MUCH worse than it did. That's what many expected.
4. Good job by the team and coaches in general.
5. That pass interference call was criminal.
6. No reason we should have lost the game. That field goal opportunity was, for lack of a better word, golden.
7. Not sure why so many dislike the D coordinator, Huxtable. Pitt's defense has improved quite a bit over the season. They were on the field for over 100 plays, and never quit.
8. Was really concerned when we didn't score the TD after the first and goal from the 2.

written by rochestermark, November 04, 2012 - 05:30 am
Loss? What loss? I dont call that a loss.

Sorry -- maybe too much of a Pitt homer but I was proud to be a Pitt football fan once again. My prediction 3 years form now when Pitt is hoisting the ACC trophy on its way to a BCS game, they will look back at this past few weeks and this game especially and call this "the Turnaround". To me, they looked that good with a "work in progress with holes" squad that we have this year.

Pitt looked like a top 10 team Saturday. Could you have seen them with a more experienced and "prototypical" D1 QB and maybe a LB (Mason?) and maybe one "sick" WR? They looked that good to me Saturday. The run backs on kicks were especially exciting to see.

I admit that ND was probably a tad overrated, especially on offense, but they are clearly a top 8-10 team this year. And we were thiiiiiiiiiis close.

No way am I blaming Tino for anything -- relatively speaking he is having his best year -- and good for him as a senior. I dont see how he or any of them play any better (except maybe making that field goal---DRAT! -- they would have partied in Oakland like it was 1999 -- DOUBLE DRAT!!!)

Hopefully, we play with this intensity and enthusiasm the rest of the way, go 7-5 into the bowl season and take full advantage of the extra practice time.

Chryst was worth every penny this week and hopefully some Grade A recruits were watching and want to play in games like was played Saturday.

Sweet Caroline!
Hail to Pitt!
written by bleedsblackandgold, November 04, 2012 - 05:33 am
Sorry, Bob, I just can't agree. Playing well for three quarters simply doesn't make up for poor decision-making and inaccuracy in the 4th and overtime periods. He stunk.
That's not to say that I pin the loss as a whole on him, I thought the line fell apart at the end, the play-calling was questionable, and you can't beat the refs and ND in South Bend. But the fact remains that Tino Sunseri is incapable of winning a game when it's important.
written by Mr. Pitt, November 04, 2012 - 05:35 am
Let me echo rochestermarks enthusiasm for the last 3 games. 6-6 should, should happen. I like the chances at 7-5 with the Rutgers game at home.
written by Brant, November 04, 2012 - 05:37 am
You hit the nail on the head late in this piece, Bob, when you said Sunseri is an "adequate" quarterback. But sometimes, especially when playing one of the best teams in the nation, a team needs a quarterback who can rise above mediocrity. Sunseri is not capable of that. He wilts when the pressure is on against quality competition. Every. Damn. Time.
written by OneLittleVictory, November 04, 2012 - 05:40 am
1.) The refs gift-wrapped at least 7 points for Notre Dame. That pass interference call was just awful.

2.) Late in the 4th, Pitt could have put the Irish in a real bind with little time left to tie the game. All Pitt had to do was run "up the gut" 3 times. Instead, they threw quick incompletions to help ND's cause. Poor clock management.

3.) The kicker did his best - he made a lot of other field goals - but after recovering that fumble in overtime, he HAD to make that one. Opportunities like that only come around once.

What a shame. All I kept muttering afterwards was, "I can't BELIEVE Pitt lost that game!"

written by pitt77psu82, November 04, 2012 - 05:51 am
Great effort by the Panthers. Nice to see them so close to winning! I expected ND to roll over Pitt and the Panthers showed a lot of heart. Pro kickers miss 33yd field goals frequently. I think the coach has them headed up! Folks need to get a's a game, remember it is a game.
written by csf, November 04, 2012 - 05:54 am
on the final drive last night, AJ McCarren was given plenty of time to deliver the ball to an OPEN receiveron the 1st 3 plays, his primary reciver each time. On the winning play, Bama seemed to know a blitz was coming and called the perfect play.

On the Bama possession before, McCarren overthrew a wide open WR over the middle, again with plenty of time ... one of mayh misses last night. The fact is that I can't rememberone pass that tino missed when given the time to throw .... not one.
written by davey boy, November 04, 2012 - 05:57 am
Maybe I'm grasping at straws, but this game had a bright silver lining.... Recruiting. Pitt played with heart and the recruits were watching on the national stage. It wasn't the WVU game, but pretty close.

Chris Dokish reported that both Robert Foster and Shai McKenzie weighed in on the game and that is huge. If indeed Pitt is going forward, then players will want to be on board because of the allure of early playing time. A program on the rise is a good selling point. The Panthers took a big step forward. Hail to Pitt.
written by heartbeatsings, November 04, 2012 - 05:58 am
Pitt was playing not to lose and they did. You have to give Tino credit for not making the huge mistake that would have killed them. On the other hand, he had plenty of oppertunities to make plays that would have killed Notre Dame and he didn't.

Another person who refuses to accept the reality that an average or adequate quarterback is not going to have much success against one of the best defenses in the country. -- Bob Smizik

written by Hanover Bill, November 04, 2012 - 07:01 am

The bottom line is that Pitt finds ways to lose games like this, instead of doing what good teams do, and that is finding ways to win games like this. Until they are able to turn the tables they will remain a very mediocre team.

As to Tino, unfortunately for him he has set a "precedent", a word I know Bob doesn't care for, in playing poorly for several years leading up to this season, and thus the slightest reversion, or step backwards, brings out the critics en masse, be it fair or not.
written by Reed, Jr., November 04, 2012 - 07:01 am
The loss was scripted when it was first and goal at the five and only three points ensued. A high snap on the 33-yard field goal attempt sealed it.
I thought it was a great overall effort by Pitt.
written by Comatose, November 04, 2012 - 07:04 am
I'm pretty sure the Pitt offense had ONE first down in the 4th quarter and beyond. That is absolutely pathetic, not matter how good the defense you are playing against is. Pitt's defense got FOUR turnovers and that should have been enough. If you can't keep your defense off the field for at least a few downs then you aren't doing your job as an offense and that falls primarily on the QB.

written by csf, November 04, 2012 - 07:09 am
Comatose why does it fall just on the QB? Isn't the Oline accountable? don't the receivers have to get open?

In the 4th quarter, ND switchd from mostly zone to man-to-man .. apparently made a big difference in the receivers etting open

written by bobbyg16148, November 04, 2012 - 07:10 am
With Pitt up 20-6 in the 4th quarter, Pitt ran 14 plays on offense during the 4 times they had the ball. ONLY 4 of these were runs and 10 were pass plays, for Tino. The game was loss right here.....

The playing calling was questionable, the refs were near criminal and the Pitt finish was as usual.
written by Max, November 04, 2012 - 07:17 am

The Pitt defense could not hold that lead.

You heard it here first:

written by Max, November 03, 2012 - 09:53 PM

I watched the game when I wasn't handing out candy. Looked like Pitt adopted the Dick LeBeau defense philosophy in the second half and gave up too many yards.

written by Rittersdiner, November 04, 2012 - 07:20 am
Make the d--- field goal and we're talking about a win. But this is Pitt. It snatches losses from the jaws of victory. Oh, and Sunseri doesn't deserve such criticism.
written by Max, November 04, 2012 - 07:22 am

if the refs didn't choke on a pass interference call;

Funny how the refs are a factor. When Max points that out in a Steelers game, you don't seem to agree.

written by Retire#21, November 04, 2012 - 07:24 am
msb46, just so you know, the pass interference rules for college are different than they are for the NFL. The NFL has a faceguarding rule, college football and high school football do not. You can faceguard all that you want below the NFL level and so long as you do not touch the receiver with your hands while the ball is in the air, it is legal to faceguard.
written by pitt9094, November 04, 2012 - 07:24 am
Never would have thought Pitt would play this well ater the YSU debacle.

Good sign that Chryst has them playing better as the season goes on and that he didn't lose the team.

Should provide a boost for recruiting.
written by SonnyDrysdale, November 04, 2012 - 07:49 am
The facts are that ND played a bad game, everyone nationally said it would happen. They letdown a bit. Until the 4th quarter. That's what great teams do, they win games that ordinary teams don't. Alabama did the same thing last night.

Blaming Tino or a kicker is ridiculous. Several things that Pitt did determined the outcome. They couldn't take advantage of a gift fumble by Ciere Wood as he crossed the goal line. I saw several missed calls by refs on both sides.

But we have witnessed this all before when Kelly's Cincinnati team came back to beat Pitt a couple of years ago.

The better team won that day and last night. Pitt simply isn't good enough to beat a really good team.
Even when that team hands it to them on a silver platter.
written by tbfoster, November 04, 2012 - 07:52 am
Many things to be positive about in the tough loss for Pitt, but when you get so close to such a big win....Wow! Positives are Pitt has a number of good players that will get better with Chryst and his staff the rest of this year and the future. Chryst will get better in big games as well.
The only criticism I have is the play calling got conservative in the fourth quarter when they were up by 14 points. They tried to stay in the middle of the field as opposed to the sideline plays that worked earlier in the game. You felt like the coached were trying to avoid mistakes rather than move the chains and control the clock. They had three 3 and out offensive series; just one that would have made first downs and the game would have been won in regulation.
As for Tino, he tries; he has given his heart and sould to this team for a few years under as we know very trying times. He has improved this year in terms of ball responsiblity, execution but he still has no pocket awarness and waits to move when the defense is on top of him. He also doesn't keep his eyes downfield when that happens and goes right down in a heap. You certainly saw that happen yesterday.
But remember the drop by Shanahan and the bad coverage by Hendricks on the 45 yard pass to the Pitt 5 that set up the final regulation TD. More that just Tino.
Big game, big stage, big moments. Pitt just needed one more for one or two players and they would have one. But there is much to like about how they played yesterday to be encouraged for the future of the program.
written by the earl of balmoral, November 04, 2012 - 07:57 am

Adequate? It is defined as being satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity.

For a quarterback to earn this designation, one would have to be able to move in the pocket to avoid sacks, lead his receivers with passes that allow yards after catch, hit the occasional deep pass to loosen up the defense and so forth.

Using this term to describe the quarterback play at Pitt over the past several seasons would be an inadequate use of the term.
written by JerseyD, November 04, 2012 - 08:01 am

I agree w this to a certin degree. Tino does have an inferior line in front of him, & there are many replacement on that line too. With that said, I believe he's playing in a sensory deprivation suit, cause he feels no rush all the time. He's lack of improvement in pocket presence is God awful. More so, there is no one to challenge him, so Pitt is stuck with him. The only place Tino is going is where the D Lines send him.

written by Darkhorses, November 04, 2012 - 08:06 am
"He’s an adequate quarterback who would been highly instrumental in one of the biggest upsets of the year if his defense didn't blow a 14-point lead; if the refs didn't choke on a pass interference call; if Pitt didn't miss a 33-yard field goal."

All the talk about Sunseri and Pitt's offense against ND's top defense but not a word about Ray Graham. Sunseri was adequate, Graham was brilliant. Though I would have liked to see Schell bang it in on the last score where we settled for a FG.

In fairness to the defense, one TD was a gift from the officials and 3 turnovers one of which was in the endzone, another setting up a score.

I have a fanatical Pitt fan of a friend who compared our current kicker to Carson Long. Yikes

Shanahan was terrible yesterday.

written by Rich W, November 04, 2012 - 08:10 am
From Trib:

Sunseri was blunt with his criticism.

“We missed a field goal. That’s why we lost the game,” he said. “It came down to a special teams play, we didn’t make the play. Give credit to Notre Dame for being able to finish it off.”

After talking with a university spokesman, Sunseri addressed the media again.

“A team has to be able to make the play. A team has to be able to finish a game off. A team has to work together to win a game,” he said. “It’s not one individual’s fault. It’s a team game. It’s a team loss today.”

Read more:

Excusable for a frosh or maybe even a soph redshirt not used to dealing with media. But not excusable for a senior.

Followed by these Tweets from Sunseri:

There was plenty of game left after the missed FG.

Helluva clubhouse leader.
written by mars, November 04, 2012 - 08:11 am
This is hard to believe but Tino is blaming the kicker. What a shame! Follow link to espn story. http: //
written by icechips, November 04, 2012 - 08:12 am
Put Pitt with the Pirates. Chokers and gagers. I been told something by people alot smarter than me. Cream floats to the top.Pitt any cream.I remember when the Steelers were 3 bricks shy of a load. Pitt is a wheelbarrow shy.
written by Joe Lawrence, November 04, 2012 - 08:13 am
Thanks for taking this subject head on, Bob. I fully agree.

Just a couple of other reactions the myriad posts focused on what we didn't do or PC's game day decisions:

- PC going for it on 4th and short near the end of Q2. It's funny how everyone had a problem with the Stache's "play not to lose" philosophy. PC goes for it and it doesn't work, so he's a moron. If the play works, he's a genius, Brian Kelly-like. Amazing.

In a road game we were expected to lose badly, we find ourselves with a small lead and all the momentum (remember that word 'momentum') late in the half - and with the ball first after the half. PC wants to put our foot on ND's throat and yet some of yinz think he should play it safe.

The decision was a huge vote of confidence in his kids, which I think was a great message to give them. Again, if the play works, he's a genius.

- the blown PI call by the refs was THE turning point in the game. We hold and ND is frustrated, confidence shaken - and most importantly, denied 7 points. Meanwhile, our confidence soars, and we have the ball.

INSTEAD - they get the score AND the "it ain't over yet!" feeling takes hold. On our side, its "oh no" or "we got screwed." It's a huge shift in momentum and confidence. The ND defense is no longer on their heels and wakes up. From there the game becomes a toss-up and the home team found its game.

I just don't understand why some of yinz don't get that and instead want to find individual culprits.

And those of you who think that only wins and losses matter should really give up watching collegiate athletics. You don't get it. Stick to the Steelers and Pens.

written by AlvinOnealMcbean, November 04, 2012 - 08:18 am
I thought Tino stood up to that beastly defense pretty well. He showed a lot of toughness. No, he didn't make the game deciding play a big-time QB does at crunch time. As Bob said, he's just adequate. Which is pretty much what the program is until Chryst can land the franchise quarterback.
written by cfd, November 04, 2012 - 08:19 am

I agree,Sunseri played fine. A typical "phantom" South Bend officiating call went against the Panthers. Clearly, inspite of a below average 4th quarter and doing nothing in 3 O.T.'s ,Pitt would have beenthe victors but for a missed 33 yard fieldgoal. Coach Chryst did a very fine job with an under manned squad.... I mean who was #53?.......he played like Joe Schmidt and Dokes pushed his guy all over the stadium. No ,I have hope......Coach Chryst can "coach'em up".....he needs better players and I believe he will secure them.

Today,I am quite proud to say I am a Panther fan!!

Hail to Pitt!!

written by kennedy6500, November 04, 2012 - 09:10 am
Tino is far below average or adequate. He's never once come from behind to win a game. He has blown a handful of games on his own. And the rest of the time he's just so worthless and limited that the offensive coaches have to game plan with the Tino Factor in mind.

You know he's going to take a bad sack on a critical down. You know he's going to throw a ball or two into the dirt a yard shy of the receiver. You know he's going to fumble a snap or two, drop the ball, stumble over his own two feet, call a bad time out, not call a good time out. This is what you KNOW he's going to do. That's what factored in. Additionally, he might throw a pick, wildly overthrow the receiver or blow the game in some unconventional way. This is The Tino Factor. And you must account for it if you're Paul Chryst.

Pitt fans are not all over him because of yesterday. He did EXACTLY what we all expected him to do: not make a single play to help win that game. Not one play. No deep ball. No great scramble. Not one key third down conversion. Nothing. That's what Tino has given us over his long, awful 35 starts. Absolutely nothing.

It's not his fault. He is in way over his head. It's not personal, but come on, the guy is brutal. I'm sure he was a good high school quarterback, but he shouldn't be starting at a Division 1 college. He does not have the head for it. He does not have the arm for it. And it's insane for any Pitt fan to give him a pass. Chryst made a big mistake not bringing in someone else to start this year.
written by kennedy6500, November 04, 2012 - 09:18 am
Let me just add I'm not putting the whole loss on Sunseri. Shanahan was a brick-handed choke monster and the kicker Harper was a pathetic bag of gagging nerves, too. And Graham went outside on that third down, which is the one thing he couldnt do on that play. You can't, however blame a 5'10 DB for not being able to cover a 6'5 TE one on one, which Pitt allowed to happen way to often yesterday.
written by PittofDreams, November 04, 2012 - 09:24 am


The fact is there has been much more criticism of Chryst for the playcalling at the end of the game than there has been of Sunseri.

Yes, it can be argued to run the ball on first and second down with the lead and three minutes left in the game.

But, who's to say that would have been any more successful than the pass plays that if carried out according to plan could have put the game away?

Had Chryst played it safe you can bet that he would be getting roundly criticized for being no better than a previous coach named Wannstedt who made it a practice of "playing not to lose" only to lose big games too often.

Reason would say there's not much room for criticism of a first-year head coach leading an injured team with three star players on the police blotter to three overtimes against the best Notre Dame team in years.

But, you are right that the loss cannot be pinned on Sunseri. The biggest reason for this is also Chryst.

Despite the ridiculous criticism from the serial Pitt pessimists, he is proving himself to be both the offensive mastermind and the gambler that Wannstedt never was.

Take your pick.
written by bngfan95, November 04, 2012 - 09:28 am
Like others, I thought it was a good day o be a Pitt fan. They held up for most of the game against what is acknowledged to be a BCS championship caliber team. A few thoughts:
- gr8 to see Graham coming along. Hopefully his confidence continues to build and Pitt can get on a bit o a roll to close out there BE time.
-LB from ND is overrated. He continually was sucked up in PA. I hate the Heisman, but no way does he win that.
-Don't get what the deal is with PA coaches and lack of respect on the 4th and short situations. Think Chryst and O'Brien are legit, but sometimes even a 30 yard punt is worth playing smart.
-Can't blame Sunseri... Play calling left a lot to be desired late. With 2 minutes left, they ran around 30 seconds off the clock. That is just not acceptable. Play calling through most of the 4th was just odd.
written by bngfan95, November 04, 2012 - 09:30 am
Forgot to add that Pitt really missed Mason. Even recovering from the horrid knee, he is more instinctive than the ND kid.
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 09:35 am
As expected, whatever the reasons or who is to blame, Pitt screwed the pootch again as per normal.
WHEN are they going to get their heads up out of their you know whats and get back to playing smart Football? WHEN WHEN WHEN....
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 09:37 am
Chryst's play calling in the 4th Q made Wanny look like Albert Einstein. Come on...the dude is supposed to know football. That was horrid.
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 09:49 am
Recruiting? Yoi. The wrap on Chryst was that he didn like to recruit. Kiss of death in college football.
Not sure if I was a recruit Id want to go to Pitt when they cant fight their way out of a paper bag.
With Wanny we had a guy who at least could reel in 4 and 5 star kids.
And go to speech class dude...You know, you know, you know....NO I DONT know...
written by bradthedad, November 04, 2012 - 09:49 am
That would, shoulda, coulda crap is for losers. The fact of the matter is they went on the road for a national game in a full house against a team bigger, faster, stronger, and deeper than they. They ALL and I mean ALL did themselves proud.
written by AHab35, November 04, 2012 - 09:49 am
I agree that Sunseri was not the only reason Pitt lost and he should not be singled out. He was PART of a 4th quarter and OT collpase that included all three phases and the coaching staff.

The defense got shreaded on the last two drives and also an overtime drive. They were simply lucky that ND had two very bad turnovers in the end zone.

That said, I'm not impressed by Sunseri. He is, in my opinoin, not a #1 QB at the division 1 level.

I do not watch Pitt every week, maybe 3 to 4 times per year. But I see the same things every time they play from the QB going back three years. He has zero feel for pass rush and a slow release. He takes way too many sacks, reminiscent of David Carr in the NFL. His arm is erractic and there is no consistency on longer throws.

It was also very obvious that the coaching staff is managing him during the game and they did not have the confidence to have him let it fly at the end.

Pitt did not just struggle to put up points in the 4th quarter. They could not move the ball at all and/or burn clock. I believe somebody posted they had about 40 total yards in Q4 and overtime. That's not good enough...period.

There were other issues as well...numerous illegal procedure penalties or fumbled snaps. Graham appeared to make two bad decisions, running out of bounds on one play and not cutting to the middle in overtime to place the FG. What I saw was a team that came unglued under the pressure...QB and all.
written by AHab35, November 04, 2012 - 09:54 am
When Pitt got the ball back after the interception in the end zone there was about 3 minutes and 45 seconds left and ND had all 3 timeouts. By that point ND was focusing defensively on Graham.

If Pitt runs the ball three times and does not get the 1st down, ND calls its time outs and gets the ball back with over 3 minutes to go.

Which means that Pitt could not simply run the ball and try to grind the clock. They needed to throw in that situation. I do not blame Chryst for calling pass plays in that situation.

That's a situation where your offense has to make a play in the passing game. ND was not going to let Graham beat them there.
written by Darkhorses, November 04, 2012 - 09:58 am
The loss cannot be put on Sunseri. But you always look to th QB to win te game like the one yesterday. Anyone watch Alabama in the final minutes of the 4th quarter last night?
written by CliveJameson, November 04, 2012 - 10:01 am

Sunseri is and was the best quarterback option for Pitt over the last few years. Yet bizarrely Pitt fans complain unceasingly. Keep waiting.

The change in college football fans saddens me. We root for the players because they play for our school. We don't hope for better replacements, we hope that they get better and represent our school well in the future.

written by Wexford Wag, November 04, 2012 - 10:19 am
Tino is what he is--we can't change it. He hasn't yet, and will not in the next three contests, win a game that falls on his shoulders in the fourth quarter. At least this team now shows a competitive pulse, which will soon turn into a strong heartbeat as the program rebounds. Great effort Panthers--Hail to Pitt!
written by bpn8pitt, November 04, 2012 - 10:20 am

I dont think yesyerdays loss was on Sunseri. Considering the amount of coaching turnover he has faced in his career, I think hes played well as a senior.

Never would I have thought, PSU would have had a better record than Pitt, 9 games in. Good for them.
written by Pensin7, November 04, 2012 - 10:28 am
I got rip roaring drunk in the hopes that it would erase my memory of the 4th quarter...

... it didn't work.
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 11:17 am
Hey I know this is a brilliant question but where was SCHELL when we needed to bull for those short first downs...or why not put BOTH of them in the backfield together so that ND couldnt concentrate on just Ray Graham back there? DUH.
written by the earl of balmoral, November 04, 2012 - 11:30 am

It would be great if Pitt had got adequate quarterback play over the past several seasons. Their record would have been much better if they had.

Unfortunately that hasn't happened and apparently if it is going to happen next season the quarterback will being doing it without the benefit any practical D-1 game experience from this season.
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 11:51 am always...the coaching staff in their great look ahead fails once again to build something for the future. They missed their shot at salvaging this season...PLEASE start looking to next year.
On the job training in 2013 for a new QB will not lead to a successful year.
Give Voytek some games THIS year and lets see what potential he has or hasnt got so you know if you need to recruit other QB prospects.
written by Dan1283, November 04, 2012 - 11:58 am
Everything that happened after the PI call is irrelevant. Yes the playcalling was bad on Pitt's next "drive." Yes Harper missed the easy kick - though he stinks and we've seen that before and everyone who has ever seen him play and gag a big kick knew he was gonna miss that one. And yes they could've scored an actual TD in overtime.

But this was a 4-4 team on the road against the undefeated Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. That call changed everything. First, if it's not made, people start heading for the exits. But the refs HANDED Notre Dame a touchdown. They took a two score game and made it a one-score game, and we all know how differently one-score games play out. Sure a good team can overcome that call, but Pitt ISN'T anything more than what their record says it is. You just can't blow a call that huge and expect the resulting momentum swing that goes in the better team's favor not to matter.

When are we going to get replay of officials' calls?
written by hugegreen, November 04, 2012 - 12:00 pm
Pitt was oh, so close to beating the No. 4 team in the country. That it did not does not fall to Tino Sunseri.--Bob Smizik

That's right, Bob. NO WAY was it Tino's fault Pitt lost. NEVER is it Tino's fault.

And, Tino told us who's fault it was--Tino blamed the kicker.

"We missed a field goal; that's why we lost the game," Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri said. "It came down to a special teams play, we didn't make the play. Give credit to Notre Dame for being able to finish it off."

written by Dan1283, November 04, 2012 - 12:17 pm
- the blown PI call by the refs was THE turning point in the game. We hold and ND is frustrated, confidence shaken - and most importantly, denied 7 points. Meanwhile, our confidence soars, and we have the ball.

INSTEAD - they get the score AND the "it ain't over yet!" feeling takes hold. On our side, its "oh no" or "we got screwed." It's a huge shift in momentum and confidence. The ND defense is no longer on their heels and wakes up. From there the game becomes a toss-up and the home team found its game.

written by Dan1283, November 04, 2012 - 12:20 pm
People are getting on Shanahan for his hands, and that's fine, but his run-blocking left a whole lot to be desired too. A guy that big should be bulldozing people. He just didn't look very interested in that part of the job and was giving half-hearted efforts and not finishing his blocks. I was a little embarrassed for him.
written by jayh63, November 04, 2012 - 12:23 pm
If Pitt runs the ball three times and does not get the 1st down, ND calls its time outs and gets the ball back with over 3 minutes to go.

And if you throw incompletions and get sacked you give the ball back at midfield with over 3 minutes to go and leave them a time-out to work with. I would prefer to play the percentages, gain 5 to 8 yards on 3 runs (instead of losing 6 yards), make them use all of their time-outs, punt and force them to drive 70 yards instead of 50. And if Graham breaks one run and gets a first down, game over.

The other coaching mistake was not putting the ball in the middle of the field for the potential winning FG. A QB sneak to the left on 3rd down lines it up for a much easier kick. I knew he was in trouble when I saw the angle.

But Pitt played a good game and gained a lot of respect around the nation. Now they need to follow it up by winning out.
written by Dan1283, November 04, 2012 - 12:30 pm
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 12:17 PM

Hey I know this is a brilliant question but where was SCHELL when we needed to bull for those short first downs...or why not put BOTH of them in the backfield together so that ND couldnt concentrate on just Ray Graham back there? DUH.

I heard a little of this "Where's Shell?" crap yesterday and that's just what it is - crap. I applaud Paul Chryst or having Graham on the field all through the 4th quarter. First, if he puts Shell out there and Shell happens to fumble, we all kill him for putting a freshman out there in a tight 4th quarter of a huge game and counting on him to not gag one up. It's too big of a risk. But more importantly, it was Graham's show yesterday. He earned the opportunity to be on the field and try to help close the game out, to finish what he started.

written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 12:38 pm
My real point Dan was this...if you know ND is gonna be all over Graham..why not put them BOTH in at the SAME time to prevent that and hopefully spring one of them...both are capable of breaking one or at least going for that one crucial first down! Not saying Schell should have replaced Graham in the game...but could have been used on the short yardage tries...and at least somewhat to COMPLIMENT Graham and give him a breather once or twice. Plus we are supposed to be trying to win the game...not showcase Graham for NFL scouts.
written by Dan1283, November 04, 2012 - 12:44 pm
I think that would be turning their playbook upside-down, Pendulum. They used to do that with Stephens-Howling and McCoy but that was under a different coordinator. I havent seen Shell and Graham together in the backfield all year.
written by Hell Unleashed, November 04, 2012 - 12:49 pm
The loss may not fall to Sunseri, nevertheless I will not be Sunsorry to see him go at season's end. Pitt needs better quarterbacking.

Pitt has had a string of great running backs, some good receivers in recent history, but QB has been lacking.

I'm not sold on the HC yet. Stupid strategy at the end of the 1st half. Should have punted. Did not get to see the rest of the game.
written by michaelg, November 04, 2012 - 01:11 pm
On a brighter note, Arizona State lost its third straight last night and is now 5-4 with a trip to USC coming up. If the schedule plays out as expected, it will be up to RichRod's Arizona Wildcats to make the Toddster no better than 500.
written by luv da show!, November 04, 2012 - 04:00 pm

After reading his hateful comments the past 2 days, I now know that ThePittandthePendelum is not a Pitt fan at all. He is to Pitt threads as Steeeelva is to Steeler threads.

written by davey boy, November 04, 2012 - 07:39 pm
@PittandthePendelum....There are three quarterbacks that will compete in 2013. Tom Savage, Chad Voytik, and Travon Chapman. In 2014, Chandler Kincaide comes in. Your rush to play Voytik shows me that you are unfamiliar with the program and it's players. Your analysis of Paul Chryst is petty and immature. This very well could be a statement game for Pitt. Your vents,in my opinion, seem unproductive and inappropriate. Hatred is not much of a trait. Have a nice day.
written by PittandthePendulum, November 04, 2012 - 09:34 pm
Davey then just be content to continue to endure the losing and the underachievement that is self evident in this program then. I for one am tired of it. And am voicing my displeasure.
And honestly, I dont care what YOU think of it.
written by wee willie wallace, November 04, 2012 - 10:14 pm
Bob -- In all seriousness, what are your thoughts on Sunseri's post-game comments blaming the missed kick?

Pitt had exactly one first down in the entire 4th quarter and 3 OTs combined.

I have refrained from criticizing the kid, because he is an amateur, but as someone else noted above, real nice leadership.

This guy does virtually nothing to help his team win, and he has the kahunas to call out the missed FG???

Pretty weak for a fifth year senior.

From what I've seen and read, he made a pretty stupid remark. I've also seen where he's attempted to apologize and/or explain it.
If I'm not mistaken, he passed them down the field for a touchdown, so I'm not quite sure he's done ''virtually nothing to help his team win.'' -- Bob Smizik
written by Swift Eddie, November 05, 2012 - 08:42 am

Yeah, Tino choked a bit from the 4th qtr on, but so did the entire team.

On the plus side, Pitt had one of the country's top teams on the ropes for three quarters of football, on the road in an extremely hostile environment.

Right now, the Panther squad and coaches lack the "eye of the tiger" - that killer instinct - to put away a top team that they have on the ropes. They're only a few bricks shy of that load, and it will eventually come.

The question is: When?
written by billkaib, November 05, 2012 - 11:56 am
Anyone know why Rushel Shell didn't play? First and goal at ND 2 and maybe he powers it in.

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