Morgantown, W.Va. - Two weeks of hype building up to this?
Are you joking me?
What we just witnessed was one half of really bad football.
I wish, I really do, I could write about great defenses and great defensive performances but let's be honest for a minute - this first half was all about bad offense.
On one side, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart seems to not have any idea what he really wants to do -- he goes for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and gets stuffed (instead of taking an easy field goal), he goes for it on fourth-and-9 (instead of taking a very makeable field goal) but then with eight seconds left in the half, he sends his specialists on to kick a 20-yard field goal on third-and-goal from the 3?
And on Pitt's side of things, Bill Stull just hasn't been very good. He has missed some very easy throws, a number of the ones he's connected with have been tougher catches for receivers than they needed to be and he looks a little bit confused by the Mountaineers 3-3-5 defense - that last pick he threw was an easy read that he failed to make and he should have either throw it out of bounds or thrown it up high and see if Baldwin could come down with it.
This hasn't been the finest hour for either team, to be honest, which means the second half should be extremely interesting because the first team to find its stride will likley be the team that wins the game.
Here are some things to look for in the second half:
* Dion Lews had 30 yards on the first drive - and we haven't heard from him much since. Pitt needs to get him into the game and get him going or they have no chance, especially since it looks like Bill Stull is a little bit off the mark tonight.
* Jonathan Baldwin is open down the field if Stull can connect on a few throws the big plays are there.
* Pitt's defense has played very well -- but the Panthers have missed a few tackles and this is the kind of explosive team that if you miss one tackle at the wrong time they can take it to the house.
* Aaron Berry is out for the game (shoulder) and injuries to the offensive line look like they are starting to mount up a little bit. So far I've seen Jason Pinkston, Lucas Nix and Joe Thomas all go down and were slow to get up. It will be interesting to see if any of these injuries force lineup changes. Dorin Dickerson has also been on the field sparingly so I don't know if he's been a little banged up or if it is just a matchups thing.
* Hopefully we see a few touchdowns in the second half but I have a feeling this is going to continue to be a grind. Go to your kitchen and get some caffeine because you might need it to stay awake for the second half.