Let's get it out there - Pitt deserved to lose this game.
West Virginia outplayed them and West Virginia looked like the hungrier team.
And that is surprising considering what the Panthers are trying to be this year.
It was also the first bad game we've seen from Bill Stull this season and it was also a tough night for the offensive line and receivers.
And while the defense did some good things - championship-level defenses don't allow a guy to run 88-yards without anyone laying a finger on him, championship defenses don't allow teams to drive right down the field to kick the game-winning field goal and championship level defenses come up with at least one turnover in a big game.
One other thing - West Virginia's freshman kicker was 4-for-4, Dan Hutchins was 3-for-5 though both of his misses were from long range. It is clear that kicking from 40 or beyond with Hutchins is going to be an adventure so what in the world went into the thinking on either a 46-yarder into the wind or a 53-yarder with the wind at his back?
At any rate, it is a good thing for the Panthers that they have another game to redeem themselves because this would have been an awful way to end the season.
Here are the notes:
** One guy who did show to play -- Dion Lewis, rushed for 155 yards and frankly was the only reason the Panthers had a chance. He now has 1,446 yards for the season - which is a Big East record for a freshman. The record he broke was 1,328 and was held by the guy he replaced - LeSean McCoy, who did it in 2007. But here is one of those little quirky facts - while it is a Big East record, it is not a school record as Tony Dorsett ran for 1,686 yards in 1973 when Pitt was still an independent. That means Lewis needs 240 yards against Cincinnati and in the bowl game to get the record. Lewis is also one touchdown short of tying McCoy's record for touchdowns and points by a freshman. Lewis has rushed for 100 yards in eight of 11 games.
** Pitt's defensive front was very active: Gus Mustakas had seven tackles, two for loss; Mick Williams had five tackles, two for loss. Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard combined for 12 tackles and a sack. The two sacks probably will be enough to keep the Panthers number one in the nation in that category.The Panthers entered the game averaging 4.0 sacks per game.
** This was only the third time all season the Panthers have turned the ball over multiple times in a game but both interceptions were killers as one came right before the half and enabled WVU to tie the game and one came late and enabled WVU to take a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter.
** Jonathan Baldwin was double covered a lot and Stull forced way too many throws his way -- particularly since they were bad throws and didn't give him a chance - but he still had 127 yards receiving and a touchdown. He is 33 yards away from having a 1,000-yard season. He has had a reception of 40 yards or more in seven of the Panthers games.
** Pitt's winning streak against the Mountaineers was snapped at two games.
West Virginia coach Bill Stewart -- "Dave Wannstedt was a real gentleman after the game and I appreciate that. I need to learn some lessons from some of those guys I am lucky enough to beat."
Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt -- "We weren't as physical as we needed to be on offense or what we had been. We had some opportunities for throws and catches that we didn't make like we had all year long. But we have high character kids that are highly motivated."
Pitt guard John Malecki -- "They had some tweaks in their defense that we did not expect and it took us too long to adjust to them."
Pitt linebacker Adam Gunn -- "They just outschemed us on that play [Devine's 88-yard touchdown run]"
Pitt defensive end Greg Romeus -- "We believed when we took the field we'd get the stop [at the end of the game] but they made the plays and we didn't."