The Panthers' stock is suddenly shooting upward after Saturday's victory over VT. (Photo by John Gichigi/Bongarts/Getty Images)
A hypothesis in financial theory is known as "The Random Walk" - basically, it's impossible to predict the price of a stock. After Pitt's truly stunning upset of Virginia Tech on Saturday, this is how I'm feeling about the Panthers. I mean, realistically who ever saw that coming? Just as Pitt appeared to have hit rock bottom, Paul Chryst's squad ran out of the Heinz Field tunnel with an entirely different look, and suddenly the season has hope. Tons of positives from this week's game, including Rushel Shell snagging National True Freshman of the Week and Tino Sunseri deservedly getting Big East Offensive Player of the Week. I could name probably 10 "bulls" from this week's game, but I can only pick one. Find out who after the jump.Bull (upward trending): The Offensive Line
Shell and Tino probably would not have been able to have their big games were it not for the tough blocking and solid pocket protection by the offensive line. The value they added to that victory really can't be understated. After wilting like a flower during weeks 1 and 2, the offensive line came to work on Saturday.
"They are taking ownership of it," coach Paul Chryst said. "They are enjoying every phase of what we are doing and what we are asking them to do. Not that they are always having fun when we are grinding on them on the field. But they know why we are doing it, and it’s a group that likes to work."
The results started to show Saturday when the offensive line helped clear the way for Pitt to reach a 12-year high in total yards (537) in a victory over Virginia Tech. Quarterback Tino Sunseri was sacked only once.
537 yards of total offense. That's tremendous. Mind-blowing, really. If the line, led by seniors Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley, hadn't turned out the stout performance it did, who knows how the game would've turned out. Shell and Ray Graham combined for 251 yards and Tino had ample time to find receivers. What a difference a good o-line makes. When Chryst came to Pitt, we knew he wanted to develop big, tough, powerful offensive lineman, similar to what he had at Wisconsin. Saturday's group looked very Badger-esque, if you will. And that's a good thing.
Bear (downward trending): Kicker Kevin Harper
There aren't many negatives from Saturday, so I'm grasping at straws a bit, but that's a good problem to have. Kicker Kevin Harper missed two short field goals during the game which I was terrified would come back to doom us in the end. Fortunately they didn't matter.
Harper is typically pretty reliable, and clearly has a strong leg, so most likely it was just a bad game. Regardless, the extra six points on the board would've been nice.