Sunday, September 25, 2016

North Carolina 37 - Pitt 36

So, I am watching the Pitt - UNC game yesterday, and Pitt is leading 33-23 early in the fourth quarter.  Their offense, which has been dominant throughout the game is marching into North Carolina territory, and another touchdown seems inevitable.  The ESPN announcers even say that a Pitt touchdown here could well be a knock out punch to the Tar Heels.   Lo and behold, the NC defense stiffens, forces a fourth down situation, and Pitt kicks a field goal to go up 36-23, and the game remains a "two score game" for NC.  On Facebook, I make the comment at the time that I hope that settling for three instead of getting seven doesn't come back to haunt the Panthers.

Regrettably, I believe I had that.  

You know what happened.  Pitt stopped playing defense, the offense didn't seem able to make a first down after that, and North Carolina began to play defense, and with :02 left in the game, NC scores, kicks the PAT, and wins 37-36.


For the second week in a row, Pitt's pass defense is torched for over 450 yards, and memories of how close the same thing happening in the Penn State game two weeks ago came to my mind.  A last minute interception by Pitt in that game is what stands between Pitt being 1-3 instead of 2-2 right now.

Oh, well, in year two of the Narduzzi Era, it is not the time to be hard on the coach.  I am sure he knows the shortcomings of his team better than any of us mokes out in TV Land do, and we need to give him the time to get the players and coach 'em up.  Next week is Marshall which should - should -  be a win, but in two weeks, Georgia Tech comes to Heinz Field and it would behoove Pitt to win that one and avoid falling to 0-2 in the conference play.

A word about North Carolina's Ryan Switzer.  I don't know if we will ever hear of this kid again, or if he will ever play beyond the collegiate level, but based on what he did against Pitt yesterday, he should win the Heisman Trophy, be the Number One overall pick in the NFL Draft, and be no less than an even money bet to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.  What a performance he turned in, and perhaps his best play, a long punt return for a TD was nullified by a penalty.  Wow!

In retrospect, we didn't know it at the time, but the absolute highlight of the day came early in the first quarter when Pitt kicked  FG to go up 5-0.  The ESPN cameras focused on the section of Pitt fans in the stands and the country, or at least the ESPNU audience, got a full glimpse of our own Dan Bonk cheering on his beloved Panthers.  Another fifteen minutes - okay, maybe fifteen seconds - of fame for Dan!

For those who don't know him, that's Dan in the blue shirt
 and cap standing with hands clasped and looking to his right.

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