Pitt Loses At UConn 30-28

The Pitt Panthers went to Rentschler Field at UConn with the hopes of taking a commanding lead in the Big East Conference in to their last three games of the season.

Rather, UConn (5-4, 2-2 Big East) ran all over the Panthers and sent Pitt (5-4, 3-1) home with a ton of questions moving forward. Here are the five things I took away from the loss…

#1: Special teams play is a big problem

Pitt’s special teams unit was responsible for a total of 17 points at UConn Thursday night. At the end of the third quarter the Panthers allowed a kickoff return go for a touchdown just after grabbing a commanding 21-13 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Dan Hutchins released a punt that went all of 29 yards. UConn took the next drive for a field goal and a 23-21 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Ray Graham fumbled and the Huskies recovered at the Pitt 21. Two play later UConn had a 30-21 lead and all the points needed to win.

It’s not just this game, either. Hutchins has struggled kicking field goals all season — having made 14-of-19 field goals. Cam Saddler hasn’t been at all what many had hoped as a returner and the coaching staff has made odd choices on both punts and punt returns within games.

It must be fixed.

#2: Pitt can not win on national TV

Pitt has failed four different times this season at impressing a national audience — at Utah, at home against Miami, at Notre Dame and Thursday night at UConn. The last time the Panthers won on national TV was last year’s Meineke Car Care Bowl against North Carolina.

And even then, Pitt lost the previous two games of 2009 — Cincinnati and at West Virginia — which were both on national TV. It can’t help. I’m not saying it’s hurting Pitt, because the Panthers still pull in very good recruiting classes. But from a respect standpoint in a conference that can’t catch a break it doesn’t help.

#3: Coaching is now in major question

Coach Dave Wannstedt has had many critics this season and they will no doubt be out in full force after this loss. A 9-3 season and BCS bowl would still have seemed like a good year for many. That would have meant the Panthers went undefeated in conference play.

That is now out of the question.

The offensive play calling in the first half at UConn was questionable, given how much the Panthers passed and how weak UConn’s rush defense has been all year. Also, watching Jordan Todman run up and down the field seemed a little rediculous, considering Pitt knew it was up against the nation’s fourth-leading rusher.

Every game has its question marks, but Pitt has had quite a few of them in most of its games this year.

#4: The Big East looks more like a long shot now

It’s amazing what one loss can do to a team. Originally, it appeared Pitt would beat UConn and take almost complete control of the conference. Now with one loss and South Florida, WVU and Cincinnati looming, the road ahead and chances at a BCS bowl seem much more difficult.

#5: It’s officially basketball season for Pitt fans

While I hate to say it, it’s hard for me to believe Pitt fans are going to stick with this team the rest of the year. It doesn’t help that the No. 5 team in the country is on campus at the Petersen Events Center and blowing teams out by 40 or more points.

I fear a lot of blue and gold from West Virginia will make up Heinz Field the day after Thanksgiving for the Backyard Brawl.

Chris Gates | Area 4-1-Zoo Blog


One Comment

  1. Bro, Rhaan W. says:

    Dave Wannstedt sucks as a head coach, and always has.

  2. Stephen John Kovalchick says:

    tough koss for PITT Sorry Coach W Next time

  3. NDG says:

    Awful loss by Pitt. They make too many mistakes. This was a good article with good perpective – Thanks

  4. 2059 says:

    Pit will always be a bottom feeder among BCS teams. Jon Baldwin wasted a wealth of talent playing for Pitt.

  5. Z Dub says:

    Just because he had one year as a IR inthe pros dosent make Dave Wannstedts a coach the only thing that guy has done is ride on someone elses shoulders USC 1987?, 76′ Sugar bowl. Loosing record with da bears, had a winning record at Miami but his last season what was he 1and 8 then comes to PItt to grace us with his almighty substandard performance with what is it now only 2 winning seasons in 5 maybe if were lucky we will pull something out of our rearends this year hopefully. but then again we got this joker till 2014 awsome! thank god for JoePa in this state. hey Wannstedts your messing up the field conditions for the Steelers! Terrible just Terrible

  6. class of 1980 says:

    SOP Every year it’s an end-of-season collapse and hearts broken again. Coach W just cannot take this program to the next level. If the quarterback was any good he’ld be playing for his father! If they blow this two game lead in the Big East with four games to go, I know one 30 year season ticket holder that won’t be back! I guess I won’t need that parking spot that the athletic dept took off of me after 30 years.

  7. class of 85 says:

    Same old story.

  8. Ed Ross says:

    As long as Dave Wannstedt is the head coach…the other team is always in the game. Its a shame, Bo Pelini wanted to be the head coach at Pitt…and we settled for this out of work bum at the time…and now we have him till 2014. Good thing Penn State is still a viable option as far as local college football is concerned.

  9. Carlos says:

    Joe Paterno is so old he has no idea who he is or where he is …. but he is still a better coach the Wannstadt will ever be.

Comments are closed.

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