Pitt Vs. West Virginia: Panthers Again Wilt Under Pressure

Look, as frustrated as you may be after the Pitt/WVU game beatdown, Bryan over at Pitt Script had a really good point on Twitter about not being too hard on college athletes. It's easy to forget that sometimes these are, after all, still kids. And just like the Cincinnati game last year, as much as you might not want to, you've got to simply keep things in perspective. They get (most of them, anyway) scholarships and college paid for so I don't mind criticizing a little bit, but in general, you just can't go overboard.

So onto the recap.

Pitt really looked awful today (how's that for a lack of criticism). There's really not much to say. The sad thing is that had they limited the turnovers, it's anybody's game. West Virginia got fat off of Pitt's mistakes. That's no shot at WVU - you've still got to capitalize on turnovers and the Mountaineers did that. But this was the ugliest Pitt game I've seen in a while.

Interception to start off the game, fumbles everywhere. And it wasn't just the turnovers. How many passes could Pitt drop today? Sunseri didn't have a great game, but he was far from the main reason Pitt lost. He made up for that early interception with some incredible runs and showed a lot of poise under pressure at times. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Tino is going to be fine and I think he looks like a leader out there.

You just can't keep turning the ball over against a good team and expect to win. The miserable thing to think about is that Pitt actually put up pretty good stats otherwise. 20 first downs to WVU's 13. Total yards were basically even (Pitt 362, WVU 360). Pitt had about 70 more passing yards and about 80 less rushing yards...product of how the game went - Pitt passing to keep up, WVU rushing to keep the lead.

Pitt has no one to blame but itself for a collapse that began with the UConn loss a few weeks back. Once that happened, it put Pitt into must-win mode ... and we've seen before how Pitt reacts in those types of situations. Pitt really could not afford to lose to UConn or South Florida because to force them to win this game was a lot to handle.

But when it comes right down to it, Pitt just had a miserable year. They started off slow and peoplle like myself just kept saying, 'Yeah, but their early losses were to non-con opponents, etc...' Pitt then won a few games early in the Big East while others struggled and by default had suddenly become something they never were - the best team in the conference. A few games later and Pitt had a 'huge' two game lead, as if that were somehow insurmountable. Then came the UConn nightmare, but a win at USF gave everyone hope once again. But as Pitt proved today, whenever there's an ounce of pressure on the team, that always seems like an ounce too much.

The season for Pitt, as well know it, is virtually over. In order to win the conference Pitt needs not only a loss to UConn, but a loss by WVU against dismal Rutgers.

Good luck with that.

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