Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE
Well, okay - so everyone was lethargic.
I don't know what the tally was on the attendance, but to say it was light would be really putting it mildly. Even watching the game was incredibly dull. A rainy day probably accounted for that a bit, but with a 2-4 team playing a 1-5 team, the quality of football just wasn't real high. This was your true definition of bad football.
The atmosphere and weather likely played a part in this, but the players really seemed to be going through the motions for the most part. Ray Graham and Rushel Shell had a modest 109 yards on 32 carries and Tino Sunseri threw for only 128 yards on 9-17 passing. I've spent much of the year praising him, but was pretty disappointed with his effort today. He missed a few guys on incredibly short routes and on a deep ball with Devin Street open by a good 5-7 yards, was woefully short on a pass. He made a few plays, and the weather clearly played a big part in things. But he really didn't have a very good day.
If you need a further indication of Pitt's ineptitude on offense, look no further than the fact that 10 of their 20 points on offense came as the result of short drives under 30 yards. After a miserable 13-yard punt by Buffalo, Pitt took over on the Bulls' 45-yard line. They moved the ball only 17 yards and a 45-yard field goal by Kevin Harper gave them their first points. In the second quarter, Jason Hendricks (who's having a great year, by the way), picked up his fourth interception of the season and brought the ball all the way to the Buffalo 27. Pitt's offense had to go only 27 yards to punch it in for a touchdown.
Pitt's defensive line also struggled. They didn't get very much pressure on the quarterback and gave up 169 yards on the ground. Fortunately for the defense, Buffalo's offensive play-calling was as bad as Pitt's was in the first half and the unit gave up only six points. The defense bent, but didn't break as well. The Bulls had six drives of at least 30 yards (compared to only three for Pitt) and moved the ball pretty well at times. But they also had to deal with some bad field position and didn't have the breaks Pitt did in that area.
This was an ugly game - there's no getting around it. Now, all of that said, it was a game Pitt sorely needed - and for that, you have to give them some modicum of respect. It's far better to win this type of game than to lose it. The win puts the Panthers at 3-4 and with a home game against Temple next week, Pitt (fingers crossed) could easily be back to .500 after that game with four contests still to play.
As bad as things have been to this point, a win against the Owls gives Pitt a solid chance to reach a bowl game - and after a 2-4 start, it's hard to ask for much more than that.