Backyard Heartbreak: Pitt Falls to WVU 21-20

I have no words for this. Are we surprised at this point? That the offense collapsed after a big lead? That the defense allowed West Virginia to score the go-ahead touchdown...AFTER LEADING 20-7 IN THE THIRD QUARTER?!

Stop me if you've heard this one before. This was a tale of two halves. Pitt dominated the first half, taking a 17-7 lead into the break. Yes, Tino threw that one pick, but the defense followed that with back-to-back sacks of Geno Smith. Other than that, the offense was rolling, the defense hadn't allowed West Virginia to convert a third down, and Pitt seemingly was unstoppable.

And then the wheels started falling off.

The injury to Zach Brown was bigger than I initially thought. Yes, he was technically the starting RB, but Isaac Bennett had played well last week at Louisville when the two split carries. Without Brown, the Pitt offense sputtered. The offense seemingly reverted to their performance in the Utah game throughout the 4th quarter. Had they even been able to get a touchdown after recovering the ball inside the red zone, Pitt would've won.

The key play that ultimately led to Pitt's downfall was the 4th and 6 from inside Pitt's 40. Had WVU not converted, Pitt may have held on. You could also point to Aaron Donald's personal foul call. Pitt had WVU stopped, but a stupid and careless penalty allowed the drive to continue.

We all kind of knew that Tino was not capable of leading PItt to a come from behind victory. And the last drive proved it. How can you take two sacks with no timeouts left in arguably the biggest game of the season? That was all Sunseri and the fans will only be yelling louder now for Tino to be replaced come next season. Especially if this is the final Brawl to be played for some time, it was an awful way for Pitt to potentially end the series. Of course, it could mean that Steve Pederson is more willing to schedule the Mountaineers for next season should they and/or Pitt leave for their new conferences. It has been rumored that Pitt would prefer the Notre Dame series over the Brawl while WVU is obviously very much in favor of continuing the series.

We play for our bowl lives next week against a 5-5 Syracuse team. Forgive me if I'm not that excited about it right now. For now, grab a drink (or 10) and wallow in the misery that is Pitt football.

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