PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Paul Chryst, despite the tale of the tape from Cincinnati, believed redshirt senior quarterback Tino Sunseri gave his team the best chance to win. Both were vindicated in a 35-17 upset of former No. 13 Virginia Tech Saturday, the first victory for the new head coach.
Sunseri was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week after he connected on 19 of 28 attempts for 283 yards and three touchdowns against just one interception and one sack, outclassing his much-hyped counterpart, Logan Thomas.
He gutted out Pitt’s final meaningful drive of the game through an apparent ankle injury, winding valuable clock and sealing the win with a touchdown toss to Mike Shanahan.
“Tino is smart enough to know a lot of other guys are banged up. Mike was pretty banged up too. A couple linemen were banged up…that’s part of the game, and that’s what you respect about the guys that play it,” Chryst said during his weekly press conference on the South Side Monday afternoon. “I thought he did a lot of good things and he’s no different than what we talked about with the others, where the exciting thing is he can still get better.”
There’s an element of unpredictability in college football that makes the sport so frustrating, and yet, so fun for its fans. That element was certainly active at Heinz Field last Saturday.
But the sobering season-opener against Youngstown State is still fresh in his mind, and since then, we’ve seen Colorado and Colorado State lose to Division II schools, and UL-Monroe stun top-ten Arkansas in overtime, so Chryst isn’t looking past Gardner-Webb, another FCS visitor.
“One thing is that you approach it like we have every week and we will continue to approach it as long as I’m here every week,” he said of Pitt’s upcoming opponent. “Do we need to address it? Maybe we do. It’s not like they’re getting hit with it every day, but if you’re a player and you respect your team and appreciate your team, there is absolutely no way you don’t respect your opponent.”
Furthermore, Chryst discussed the balance he found with his running game, and the play of the offensive line:
Kickoff between the Panthers (1-2) and Bulldogs (0-3) is set for 3:30 Saturday, with Panther Gameday with Gregg Giannotti getting underway at 1:00, on your flagship home for Pitt football, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.