One of the few bright spots. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Maybe the rebuilding job was bigger than we thought.
In a weather-delayed and rainy game, Pitt's defense played like they were in a fog for most of the game. The Youngstown State offense did what they had to do. They took advantage of a young Pitt front seven and simply beat down this defense. Even the secondary, the supposed strength of this defense, had its moments of weakness against the Penguins. When Pitt needed a stop, they couldn't get one. The defensive line was for the most part dominated by YSU's offensive line, the linebackers were just awful. It's bad - really bad.
The offense on the other hand was fairly decent in the first half. Tino had a good showing, especially in the first half. He finished 19-30 for 239 yards with a touchdown pass to Josh Brinson. Ray Graham and Isaac Bennett had good showings, with Ray rushing for 71 yards and Bennett scoring once on the ground. The second half saw this team die a bit offensively and the two fumbles were bad, but this loss can't be placed on the offense.
This loss doesn't mean Pitt can't accomplish the goals they set for this season. Pitt can still win the Big East and go to a BCS bowl. Nothing I saw from them today would suggest they can, but it's still possible.
Programs go through bad losses like this all the time. In 2007, Michigan won 9 games after losing to Appalachian State. Virginia Tech went undefeated in ACC play and appeared in the Orange Bowl after losing to James Madison in 2010. So feel free to freak out over this loss - I know I am. But also realize that it's not a season killer and Pitt can still have a successful season.
More to come on this later. But for now, this sucks. It absolutely sucks.