The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 9, 2013

Pitt puts one-sided loss behind it

PITTSBURGH — Pitt’s inaugural season in the ACC is all of a week old and already the 41-13 thumping at the hands of Florida State appears to be a distant memory.

“It seems like it’s a long time ago,” coach Paul Chryst said. “I think part of that’s because as a team we’ve got to turn the page.”

The lengthy layoff after the Seminoles provided a reality check after months of anticipation allowed Chryst and his players to regroup and realize that as lopsided as the score appeared, there were some positives to build on heading into Saturday’s game against New Mexico.

Nearly a dozen true freshmen played, including wide receiver Tyler Boyd. Quarterback Tom Savage hung in there despite being battered in his first live game action in nearly three years. And as ugly as it appeared late, the game was competitive for lengthy stretches.

Chryst and his staff spent the down time reminding their players that for all the emotion spent in front of a sold out Heinz Field on national television against the class of the ACC, it only accounted for one loss. Eleven more chances for the Panthers to prove themselves remain.

“We don’t want to let Florida State beat us twice,” offensive lineman Matt Rotherman said. “So, in the bye week, we got back to the basics, kind of like camp-mode again. And we can concentrate on New Mexico now.”

And get into a bit of a normal routine. Pitt spent nearly 24 months dealing with the buildup to its first game in the ACC. That cloud is now gone. It’s back to football for a team that would like to build some confidence heading into a stretch of three straight conference games looming.

“That was a big stage last week, so it was good for all the guys to experience that,” tight end Manasseh Garner said. “But we had some guys who never played a game like that before and some other guys, like myself, who hadn’t played a game like that in a while. So, now that we got it out of the way, we have to treat this week’s game like any other game on our schedule.”

Chryst praised the Panthers for their resilience. There appeared to be no discernible letdown in practice. Pitt seemed to understand it was soundly beaten after the Seminoles provided a template for what it takes to rise to the top of the super-sized conference.

“Everyone owned that game,” Chryst said. “If you do that, then you have a chance to move forward and get better. We have specific things that each guy needs to work on.”

Like knocking down a pass or two. Though Pitt’s offense moved the ball at times, the defense served as little more than bystanders at the coming out party for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. All the freshman did was complete 25 of 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns while running for another.

Getting immediate results in the pass defense might be tough against the Lobos, who throw only when absolutely necessary. New Mexico uses an old-school option attack that serves as a throwback to a simpler time. That’s fine by Chryst, who figures keeping it simple will be a good way to get his team’s attention.

“At some point we’re still going to have to tackle,” Chryst said. “At some point we’re still going to be in a situation where we have to make a play.”

It would help start the healing after perhaps Pitt’s most anticipated opener since Dan Marino was wearing No. 13. The crowd won’t be nearly as electric on Saturday. That might not be a bad thing as the Panthers try to generate some energy of their own.

“With some guys out there, that was their first start,” Rotherman said. “They know what to expect now. So, we should take off from there.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Pirates cut down by Reds’ Cueto

    April 23, 2014

  • Penguins 0422 Blown leads are troubling trend in series

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sunnehanna makes changes to tourney week

    April 22, 2014

  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sitting Bulls bring home national sled hockey title

    The Johnstown Sitting Bulls disabled sled hockey team recently won a national championship.
    The team, comprised of disabled athletes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties, finished first in the Youth B Division at the USA Hockey National Disabled Hockey Festival held April 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

    April 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 21, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marathon.jpg Marathon men’s winner has names of victims on bib

    The winner of the Boston Marathon men’s race had the names of last year’s victims written in marker on the corners of his race bib.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014