Ron Cook was thinking what most Pitt fans probably felt :
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said something late yesterday afternoon that was unimaginable a week ago, a month ago, certainly 9 1/2 months ago when his Panthers defied incredible odds in the worst way to be shut out in a college football game, 3-0, by Oregon State in the Sun Bowl.
"Offensively, we were able to carry the load today. That's a nice feeling."
Can you believe that?
Can you believe Pitt spanked Buffalo, 54-27, here yesterday?
I watched it and I can't believe it.
I would have told you before the game that Pitt couldn't score 54 points combined against any four opponents on its schedule, outclassed Youngstown State aside. Of course, I also would have said no four opponents could score a combined 27 points on Pitt's alleged great defense.
Dorin Dickerson finally 'broke out' and had the type of performance people at Pitt have been waiting for since he arrived on campus:
Dorin Dickerson was the prize of the Pitt's 2006 recruiting class, but, for the first three seasons of his Panthers' career, he was mostly a non-factor.
Yesterday, he showed why he was such a prize catch. Dickerson caught eight passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns as Pitt (2-0) stampeded Buffalo, 54-27, before a crowd of 21,870 at UB Stadium.
Of course, as the Buffalo News points out, some of those points came as the result of miscues:
But the Bulls committed four turnovers that the Panthers turned into 27 points. Before the offense even took the field, UB was down, 14-0. That made for a long day in a game where the Bulls were clearly under the spotlight, hoping to shock the Panthers from the Big East.
Pitt (2-0) is the lone Bowl Championship Series program on the Bulls' schedule and a win over the Panthers could have propelled the program closer to the Top 25. Instead, with the spotlight glaring, the Bulls (1-1) forgot their lines.
"It hurts, it really hurts because we thought we had a shot to go out here and beat a BCS school and that was one of our goals this year," said senior free safety Mike Newton, who led the Bulls with 10 tackles. "We have to come back and rebound from this."
That Newton guy seemed to be around the ball quite a bit.
Even the defense got in on the act scoring-wise.
Oh that defense. There were a couple of downers...
Paul Zeise breaks down a few things and says what everyone should be thinking - you can't give up 500 yards in offense to Buffalo.
Uh, yeah - what he said.
And while we're on the subject of downers, Pitt got some bad news when they found out safety Andrew Taglianetti is lost for the season. Elijah Fields should assume the starting spot. Definitely some bad news, but Fields should be a capable backup.
My thoughts on the game:
- Bill Stull's leash has probably gotten a bit longer with two solid games thus far. He played better in this one and the play-calling has been excellent - good mix of pass vs. run, extensive use of the TE, and keeping Stull within his limits. Yes, the deep play probably will not be there all that much under his reign - even with Baldwin on the team. But he's been accurate thus far on the shorter passes and as long as he doesn't lose games, he could do an accurate job. Even if he remains the starter all year, I hope that Sunseri still gets some reps to get him ready for a competition with Bostick next season.
- Yes, Buffalo was no match for Pitt's offensive line, but man can Dion Lewis run. He looks real solid and Pitt's running game hasn't taken even a small step back from last year so far. The road ahead will be the true test, but so far, so good. Some people might be surprised that Graham hasn't gotten more touches so far, but really, there's no been no reason to give him any with the way Lewis is playing.
- Two missed extra points in a game? I hope that gets fixed soon. Dan Hutchins' punting was, again, pretty good, however - averaging over 47 yards a punt.
- With Stull effectively having trouble going deep, I think it may be another year until we see Jonathan Baldwin possibly have a real breakout season. Maybe not, but it's looking that way so far.
- Slightly irritating, but I AGAIN saw Stull look to only one receiver again on a short pass play. Can't remember if it was Baldwin or Dickerson, but it was a 3rd and 4, I believe, in the 2nd half. They didn't convert and it was a bad play all around. I have seen him look for other receivers on other plays, but sometimes he gets so locked onto one guy that it's not healthy.
Did you miss the game? I think it can still be seen on ESPN360.com as of the time I'm posting this assuming you have Verizon or Comcast.
Looking forward to Navy next week - especially since it's a night game.