The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

November 19, 2012

Pitt faces do-or-die bowl situation

PITTSBURGH — Regular season play is almost over for NCAA football, and Pitt is still clinging to its hopes of making a bowl appearance this year.

Before the Panthers can do this, they must win out their last two games of the season. Their first challenge is upsetting a red-hot 18th-ranked Rutgers (9-1) in Pitt’s last home game of the year.

At this final home game, the Panthers will say goodbye to their senior players, many of whom Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said he will miss.

“There’s a group of them that I really enjoyed being around and respect and understand,” Chryst said at Monday’s weekly press conference. “They love the game, work at it, prepare and then go out and play the best they can.”

“I’m looking forward to our seniors hopefully playing a great game.”

This week, the Panthers had some extra time to prepare for their opponent. They are coming off of a bye week, but may still have the bad taste of a recent 24-17 loss to Connecticut lingering in their mouths.

Pitt’s Week 11 opponents, on the other hand, only have one loss during this entire season.

That 35-23 loss happened two weeks ago when Rutgers faltered to Kent State.

Although this is their only recorded blemish, the Scarlet Knights are still the only undefeated team in the Big East conference.

Pittsburgh sits on the other end of the spectrum with only a single Big East win this season.

That came in the form of a Week 9 beating of Temple,

47-17.

Pitt has struggled to find its identity throughout the season.

Its journey might be called a tale of two teams, further emphasized in their weekly game pattern.

Out of the gate, the Panthers lost their first two games. They bounced back to win their next two. And then, the pattern continued on: Two losses, then two wins.

Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said at this point he actually hopes the pattern continues. If it does, the Panthers would be on track to win their final two games of the season.

All joking aside, Chryst said Pitt’s rocky path hasn’t been as simple as correcting one thing and being perfect.

He said his team has been consistently inconsistent, and emphasized that each game is a lesson from which that he and his players must continue to learn.

“We’re in the process of creating a culture,” he said. “And we’re here to make players the best they can be and to represent the university the best we can.”

Pitt also goes on its Thanksgiving holiday break this week. Students are able to travel home and see their families for the holiday.

But just because the university is on break does not mean its football team is. Chryst pointed this out, stating that football preparations remain the same over the break.

“Everyone who’s around football knows that you’re still in season,” Chryst said.

“The biggest impact that it has is that without school we can kind of adjust the calendars a little bit.”

“Nowadays, even a lot of the high schools are still playing through it.”

Long days of practice might make it tough on certain players who are unable to travel back to their hometowns for Thanksgiving dinner. Luckily for his team, Chyrst said it still balances out pretty well.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who are from here,” Chryst said. “Those guys, from my understanding of the past, will bring other guys with them (to Thanksgiving dinner),” he said. “They’ll have a chance to be around their families, but we still don’t have to skip a beat in preparation.”

Two brothers who are unlikely to pass the turkey this year are Pitt tailback Ray Graham and Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene. The New Jersey natives will find themselves on opposite sides of the field on Saturday, battling it out.

Graham, Pitt’s leading rusher, is just 165 yards away from the first 1,000-yard rushing season of his career.

But not if his brother has anything to do with it.

Greene is one of the Big East’s best defenders, leading the league in tackles and averaging 10.7 stops per game.

Fans will see which brother gets a win in Saturday’s post-Thanksgiving game at noon.

 

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide