Eric Wassell’s article about the lead up to 13-9 generated quite a lot of buzz.  I was going to wait until next week to publish part II, but instead I decided to keep the momentum going.  

Also note that there are many articles about this topic and Eric has pulled quotes from a lot of them.  He has also pulled some quotes from what is considered the definitive work on this topic, Chris Peak’s “13-9, The Story of a Game, a Season and a Team that Never Quit”, which can be purchased here.  

PART II, 2007 BACKYARD BRAWL : “IT WAS JUST A NIGHTMARE”

Did Pitt have a chance? Obviously the team and the coaches believed. Beyond that, maybe about two Pitt fans.

“Not a chance. Not even if WVU turns the ball over 6 times and
Pitt Dresses Dan Marino in Pat Bostick’s uniform”

Rich Walsh of WPXI TV, answering the question of whether Pitt had any chance to win, when asked by Post-Gazette Pitt Football Beat Writer Paul Zeise in the press box prior to the game.

Unlike most away games, which typically involve flights, Pitt headed to Morgantown on a bus on the afternoon of December 1, 2007. Typically Pitt stays in a hotel near Washington, PA, which is roughly halfway between Pittsburgh and the WVU campus. So the trip to Morgantown was a brief one, yet not uneventful. As one might expect, the Pitt buses were not greeted warmly upon their arrival in Morgantown. Accounts differ about what was being thrown at the Pitt team buses, but all involved have reported over the years that things were hostile.

“ We drove up, and people were throwing full cans of something at us.
I remember Shady McCoy ducking down because he thought it was
coming through his window.”

Pitt Special Teams Coordinator, Charlie Partridge, remembering the circumstances of the team’s arrival in Morgantown on the day of the game.

West Virginia had everything to play for in the game. At stake for them was a berth in the BCS Championship game. With a victory over Pitt, they would have secured that berth and gone on to play a beatable Ohio State team for the right to claim ownership of the school’s first National Championship. While Rich Rodriguez has since been quoted as saying his team was focused and had a great week of preparation. Pitt players and coaches observed something different in pre-game warmups.

“I swear West Virginia didn’t warm up for that game. They were just dancing around. It’s like everyone was already celebrating because they were going to the National Championship.”

Pitt Kicker Conor Lee, on observing the disinterest of the WVU players in pregame warmups

Things didn’t start out very well for the Panthers. A 12 yard run by LeSean McCoy on the first play from scrimmage set Pitt up with a first down near midfield. On the very next play, Pat Bostick underthrew a pass down the right sideline, which was easily intercepted by WVU defensive back Antonio Lewis, who returned it to the Pitt 27. Bostick made was a bad decision to throw it and also a made a poor throw. After this early mistake, it became clear that Dave Wannstedt and Offensive Coordinator Matt Cavanaugh did not have any confidence in Bostick or the passing game. The remainder of the half would become a steady dose of McCoy and Dave Brytus, the Pitt punter.

“I think we won almost despite my play…. I was just above the threshold of the QB losing the game, and I didn’t quite go past it”

Pitt Quarterback Pat Bostick, years later, assessing his performance in the 2007 Pitt-WVU game

One thing that allowed Pitt to be so conservative on offense, was the play of the Pitt Defense. After the Bostick interception, West Virginia moved the ball to the Pitt 6 yard line. However, on third down Jemeel Brady shed a block from Owen Schmitt and forced WVU QB Pat White out of bounds at the 2. WVU settled for a 20 yard Pat McAfee field goal attempt. Rich Rodriguez took an intentional delay of game penalty to better the angle of the kick for McAfee, but Wannstedt declined it. McAfee missed.

“He was more distraught than anybody after  the game”

Pat McAfee’s father, Tim, on his son’s reaction to the WVU loss to Pitt

The misery of the Mountaineers was just getting started, as was the Pitt Defense.

On its next four offensive possessions, the Pitt offense went three and out. Very minimal efforts were being made to pass the football. At the end of the fifth drive, Bostick was 1-4 for zero yards and an interception. McCoy had yet to get on track. The offense had gained a total of 22 yards and one first down. I remember thinking to myself at the time, “We aren’t even going to try to score tonight”. Also, by that point in season 3 of Dave Wannstedt’s tenure as Pitt Head Coach, I had already started to question his coaching acumen. Nothing that was happening in this game was doing anything to change my opinion.

However, West Virginia was getting nothing from its punt return team, Pat McAfee missed another Field Goal (he had only missed two the entire season), and the defense recovered a fumble after a sack of Pat White. As would later be discussed as one of the keys to the victory, Pitt seemingly did not miss a tackle all night (Various reports would later reveal that Pitt actually missed only two or three). As it was, tacking was a primary focus of the defense in the week leading up to the game.

“Dave, if we don’t tackle these guys, its not going to make any difference what defense we run”

Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads to a concerned Dave Wannstedt, explaining why his pre-game preparation was focused on tackling drills and not on a game plan.
“We ran one and only one defense the whole second half.  We had one adjustment based on where the running back lined up. I was thinking, ‘Are they ever going to pick up on
this?’”

Pitt Linebacker Scott McKillop, our years later, discussing the basic defense that Pitt used to dominate the Mountaineers.

Pitt’s sixth possession of the game started with some promise. McCoy fought for a first down on third and short. Later in the drive on yet another third down, Matt Cavanaugh dialed up a slip screen that netted another first down. Shortly thereafter, Bostick would throw his second interception.

“ I was so dam mad.” “I said, ‘That’s it. I’ve seen enough. I  don’t care if Shady carries the ball 50 times’.”

Dave Wannstedt, citing his reaction to the second Bostick interception, and his telling Matt Cavanaugh that he wanted to go exclusively to the Wildcat formation.

But Pitt had eaten up nearly 5 minutes of clock, and the interception occurred deep in WVU territory at the 26. With 7 minutes left in the second quarter, we remained tied with the second ranked team in the Country.

WVU finally got its offense on track during the ensuing drive and drove 74 yards for a touchdown. The drive was aided by a phantom call. On third and 12, Pitt stopped WVU, holding them to an apparent field goal attempt. However a weak personal foul penalty against Pitt Defensive lineman Tommy Duhart gave WVU new life. This would be the first of a few very questionable calls against Pitt on this evening. (Paul Zeise would later say that one of his most vivid images of the evening was seeing Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese after the game, “looking like he lost his dog”.)

More significant, during this drive, Pat White injured his thumb and left the game. He did not return until late in the fourth quarter. It remains a huge debate as to whether this impacted the outcome of the game. On one hand, White had been playing horribly up to that point and the Pitt defense arguably would have stopped Joe Montana that night. On the other hand, White was a Heisman Trophy candidate and the best player on arguably the best offense in the country.

White’s backup, Jarrett Brown, scored on a 6 yard rush to put WVU ahead with just over a minute thirty left in the first half. The WVU faithful were able to exhale for a brief moment. Little did they know that the WVU offense, averaging over 40 points per game, would not score another point for the remainder of the night.

Considering the poor play of Bostick, it was not surprising to see Pitt run the ball upon receiving the kickoff with just over a minute left in the half. They ran the ball three consecutive plays, seemingly content to reach halftime down only a touchdown. However, when McCoy was able to gain 18 yards on those three runs, Pitt was set up just shy of midfield with 26 seconds left.

I believe that the next play might in retrospect be considered one of the most important plays for Pitt football in the last 35 years. Pat Bostick completed an 8 yard pass to Oderick Turner, and a 15 yard personal foul penalty was called on West Virginia. Simply put, it was a bad call (stay tuned: the zebras would try to make up for it on a couple of occasions in the second half, perhaps after having a private conversation with Comissioner Tranghese, who desperately wanted to see WVU win). On the last play of the half, Conor Lee would kick a 48 yard field goal, his career long, to give the Panthers some momentum going into intermission.

“That was the biggest moment I’d kicked in. It was a great thing going into halftime too. I
remember people being pretty amped up.”

  • Conor Lee on the impact of his field goal just before the half

“Halftime you make adjustments. We didn’t make any.  We might have made minor ones, but obviously they weren’t the right ones.”

Owen Schmitt, former WVU fullback, on the adjustments made by the WVU coaching staff at halftime

The shift in momentum carried over to the Third Quarter. The first few minutes of the second half, combined with the field goal at the end of the half, proved to be the difference in the game. Lowell Robinson forced a WVU fumble on the second half kickoff, and Pitt recovered it near midfield.

Pitt continued its conservative play calling, and came up short on third down. Dave Brytus came on to punt on fourth and one. Except that in one of the few memorable and gutsy calls that this Pitt fan can recall during his tenure, Wannstedt dialed up a fake punt. The ball was snapped directly to Shane Murray, who carried it for a first down. After two more runs, Pitt faced a third and 9. Bostick completed a 17 yard pass to Oderick Turner which set Pitt up inside the 20.

“This crowd has gone completely silent”

ESPN game announcer Mike Patrick, after Oderick Turner’s 17 yard reception

After two more McCoy runs put the Panthers on the one yard line, Bostick punched it in with a quarterback sneak. Pitt took the lead 10-7 and the defense did the rest.

Continuously in the second half, the defense turned WVU’s high powered offense away. The next WVU drive was a three and out.

“The WVU fans are really getting nervous and upset”

Mike Patrick after the three and out by the WVU Offense

Pitt kept its offensive momentum going on its next drive. Starting at its own 36, the running of McCoy, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Conredge Collins combined to move Pitt down the field. ESPN color analyst Todd Blackledge noted late in the drive that Pitt had run 21 plays in the third quarter, while WVU had run only 3. Pitt moved the ball inside the 20 and on 3rd and 5 from the 14. McCoy ran it in for the Touchdown. Unfortunately for Pitt, the fix was in and a phantom holding penalty was called on Oderick Turner. The Touchdown was taken off the board and thereafter Conor Lee missed a 35 yard field goal.

Regardless, Pitt had sent its message, and was in control of the game as the third quarter came to a close.

The offense of WVU continued to sputter in the fourth quarter, as backup Jarrett Brown remained in the game. A punt on one possession was followed by a fumble on the next, the latter being recovered by Pitt Defensive Tackle Tommie Duhart at the West Virginia 17 yard line. The Pitt defense just continued to dominate.

“There is a sense of doom in this stadium, and rightfully so”

– Mike Patrick following the Duhart sack and fumble recovery
The Pitt offense moved the ball to the one yard line following the fumble, but could not punch it in. Dave Wannstedt elected to kick the 18 yard field goal (Cue Ike here: “Narduzzi was roasted for doing the same thing against Penn State last year”. Big difference in the situations though, Ikester). The lead was now 13-7, with just over 6 minutes remaining.

Despite mostly everything going Pitt’s way, a touchdown by WVU would put them in the lead. The next Mountaineer drive got a huge boost when Noel Devine returned the kickoff 47 yards to set WVU up at the Pitt 32. At this point, Pat White returned to the game. While it appeared that he was in quite a bit of discomfort on the sideline, one of his teammates would question his toughness years later.

“I’ll say this. If he wanted to fuking play, he would have played.. It was for the national championship…Quite honestly, you’d have to rip my fucking head off and take my heart out of my chest”

Owen Schmitt, questioning the toughness and heart of WVU quarterback Pat White, who reportedly had dislocated his thumb in the first half

On the first three plays of the drive, the WVU offense netted seven yards, bringing up a fourth and 3. Once again, McKillop was up to the task and dropped Slaton short of the first down, after White made the wrong decision to hand the ball off rather than keep it. Pitt got the ball back with just over 4 minutes left and looked to seal the victory.

And Pitt might have done so had it not been for the referees. After McCoy and Collins runs netted 6 yards on the first two plays of the possession, McCoy ran for 7 on third down which would have given Pitt a new set of downs. However, another phantom holding call on Turner negated the play. On the repeat of third down, a pass was directed at Turner, who was clearly held and/or interfered with. No call was made. Pitt was forced to punt. Mike Tranghese was smiling.

WVU had one final chance, and got the ball back with three minutes left. On the first two plays of the drive, WVU gained 32 yards and moved the ball to the Pitt 21. Two incompletions brought up a third and 10. White recovered his own fumble when trying to avoid the rush and lost 7. On 4th and 17, White threw incomplete, and the victory was sealed.

“This will be the biggest disappointment in WVU football history”

-Mike Patrick, stating the obvious after Pitt had sealed the win

All that was left to produce that iconic 13-9 final score was Dave Brytus running out of the end zone, giving WVU a safety on the final play of the game. Final: Pitt 13, WVU 9.

There could be a whole other article written on the impact this game had on college football. Does Rich Rodriguez leave for Michigan if he wins? Does Terrelle Pryor go to WVU instead of Ohio State? What about Les Miles and LSU? As Pitt fans, we didn’t and don’t care about any of that. We simply enjoy the knowledge that we prevented WVU, one of our two most bitter rivals, from winning the National Championship.

“ The worst football memory I’ve had is the Pitt game…It makes me want to throw up. I was so bad in calling that game. We made some mistakes we never made. I played it too close to the vest. There’s a lot of things I would do over. I try not to think about that as much. But I try to think of the good things as opposed to that one terrible night.”

Terrible is in the eye of the beholder, Rich.

And finally, my very favorite part of the game. Hail to Pitt!

166 thoughts on “Guest Article: Coronavirus Lockdown Pitt’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, pt II

  1. Thanks so much wlat

    If anyone doubts wlat’s assertion about phantom calls, I dare you to find a write-up of the game that didn’t mention questionable calls. Even NFL writer, Peter King, wrote about it.

    That morning, ESPN reported that LSU HC and Mich alum, Les Miles, had agreed in principle to become the new Mich HC since Lloyd Carr had announced his retirement 2 weeks earlier, (of course, both parties denied it right away)

    Going into play that day, both the AP and BCS Poll had Missouri, WVU, and OSU as 1, 2 and 3. LSU was 4th in the AP but 6th in BCS. But the unthinkable happened …. yes, Missouri losing to OKlahoma wasn’t that big of an upset … but a 28 point underdog playing an away game? And LSU beat Arkansas in the SEC championship, setting up the OSU-LSU title game.

    Les said he was staying at LSU …. so of course, that paved the way for RichRod to escape from his alma mater and head to Ann Arbor, which never did work out

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  2. Wow! Great article, Eric/Mike. Especially loved the bookends to this post: WVU player sitting, dejected, in the end zone ( only the 2nd time all night they got a player in the endzone!) – GOOD; Richrod trying to stumble thru the post game interview – without saying anything about the defense he just faced! PRICELESS

    (Good luck, Michigan, hiring this bum!)

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  3. Getting ready to watch game all I was hoping for was a good game and not a butt whuppin’ of biblical proportions! And as usual with a big Pitt victory it was a nail biter and probably all of us were just waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Great set of articles.

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  4. Yepper….I was expecting a Hoopie blowout….one of the …

    BEST
    GAMES
    EVER
    !

    Thank you for an awesome recap guys.

    H2P!

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  5. Great job Eric, this never gets old. Really what college football is all about.
    It is almost inexplicable what happened that day.

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  6. I find the comment by McKillop about playing just one defense interesting. I remember Wannstedt being interviewed about 7 or 8 years ago and the topic was defending the spread … and the fact that even Alabama was having issues (they had lost in non-title bowl games to Boise and Oklahoma) the previous few years) His response was to not overthink …. play fundamental defense and let the talent take over, especially a team like Bama which had great players. He thought it was more important to have players to be playing confidently, and not be caught up in decision making

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    1. Pitt tackled extremely well in this game. They were disciplined and played with fire. Wvu was unprepared and soft. Much like the entire state.

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  7. If you can’t get fired up after reading WLAT ‘s writing, and watching Dr Tom’s post, there is no hope for you!

    BTW, after we win our next National Championship, should we change H2P to ……. H1P??

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gosh Eric, that was really terrific! A riveting read. i hope you will consider wirting another classic game piece again.

    A couple reflections from it….

    What a backfield Pitt had that night with Shady, Stephens-Howling and Conredge Collins. Too bad for COllin as he might have been a featured back on another D1 team.

    Owen Schmitt – that guy lives with the pain of that loss and his hate for Pitt to this day. Tempted to pop in his bar while heading back to Pgh sometime, but would imagine a Pitt fan will get a less than friendly welcome. Tough guy, hard-nosed.

    As for the Eers….this may not sit well with some of you, but I wish they had been brought into the ACC instead of Louisville. I fully appreciate that the school does not enjoy the academic reputation of the other ACC schools, but believe the rivalries with Pitt and Va Tech would have made for some great games. I think it would have been better for ACC TV ratings as well…strengthening the East Coast viewing market, even if giving up some of the Ohio Valley market (meh) in the process. Obviously would have been good for basketball as well.

    Again, thanks for a great diversion, Eric!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. WVU would have been better for fans but Louisville supplies the bigger tv market. Both are academically challenged schools though. There still might be a chance when the college football landscape realigns once the tv contracts expire. Rivalries are what make football.

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      1. I was thinking the same … acc went for TV footprint. I also agree with Joe – the Pitt, WVU, VT triangle would have been pure gold from a rivalry standpoint

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        1. Was a bit surprised that ACC didn’t go get Rutgers before the B10 grabbed them. Aside from ND, Rutgers is the lead college TV draw in the NYC market and it has a good academic reputation. And with the Scarlet Knightrs on the schedule, less need for OOC rent-a-wins (giggle).

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          1. Hah. I think that was the motivation for the big 10. “Oh so everybody except Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana can get a guaranteed W and it saves us all $900k a year? DO IT!!!”

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          2. Rutgers was a mistake for the big 10 and it would have been one for the ACC. The loss of Maryland really hurts. That could have been a nice rival for Pitt. Better than Syracuse.

            I still think you’ll see an eastern football conference in 5 years. The conferences as we know them will be no more.

            Wvu
            Pitt
            Maryland
            Virginia
            Rutgers
            Syracuse
            BC
            Wake
            Duke
            Temple
            Navy
            Nc state

            I see NC, Louisville and VA Tech being invited to the semi pro conference

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            1. Clemson is a given.

              UNC will never move away from Duke. Ever. They value basketball over football and the crosstown rivalry is too big. ANd I doubt the President/Chancellor would ever agree to move away from them – or UVA.

              NC State on the other hand is the red-headed step child in that bunch and really has more of an SEC-like atmosphere than UNC could ever hope for.

              Louisville is certainly a possibility.

              I doubt Va Tech would go – the Hokies have wanted to be with the Wahoos, Heels and the like for decades. And the governor would have a say in that matter as well.

              I probably should have led with this comment though – I love the idea of truly regional conferences and love the idea of an Eastern one. But the chance of schools breaking away from conferences when they have essentially signed away their TV rights to their conferences makes much movement unlikely in my view – could be wrong but I believe that assignment of rights extends beyond the expiraton of the contracts you’ve been citing.

              Will be interesting to watch in all unfold in a couple years, Tex.

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    2. JoeL – I thought I read sometime in the last few months that Owen Schmitt’s bar has closed. (and not due to the virus.)

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      1. You are correct. Looks like it closed in 2018. Said he was going to get into bbq. Perhaps we should have him cater a Red Lot 5A gathering (haha).

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  9. I have been to WVU FB and BB games and witnessed burning couches, people riding on school buses, street fires, avoided flying objects, coins and fish on the court, etc.

    I doubt the above will change in upcoming games. Proceed carefully.

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    1. I think covid is the game changer and will speed up the break up of conferences. The NFL also needs a reliable minor league for quarterbacks. College doesn’t provide them with the right feeder system. Tv contracts will expire particularly the sec. that’s when things go into motion. The top 30-40 schools with the largest fanbases and best brands. Those that will sell their souls for more than $100 million per year and damn the student athlete model.

      It will be interesting how politicians try to save rivalries. But this one is just for football. Basketball and other sports will be as is today.

      I see NC being invited. Maybe va tech. Maybe Louisville. Two of them are cheaters so makes perfect sense. They’ve already sold their souls.

      Pitt doesn’t have enough fans. Isn’t a national or even regional brand. And the BoT won’t allow any violation of the mission statement.

      I’m fine by that. Would love to compete against like minded schools on a level playing field defined by geography. Pitt players would still get drafted by the nfl. Pitt just wouldn’t see any 4 stars. What else is new?

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  10. Just a super job Eric. Thanks so much for putting so much thought and work into these two great articles. Keep em coming.

    BL from Savannah: You ever been to B’s Cracklin Barbecue? Sow on a food show and looks dam good

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  11. I might have to quarantine for 14 days if I come back to PA this Fall. Texas better shape up. Basically we’ve been told to shelter in place by our governor. I’m at Walmart right now. But with a mask on.

    Tex who has issued a travel advisory to Texas.

    Drink Corona the beer. Stay healthy my friends.

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    1. I’ve never had a Corona beer that wasn’t skunky. There’s a reason they want you to put a lime in the bottle. Stick with Dos Equis

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      1. Ike – My oldest brother was in the Peace Corp in the early 70’s. He told me after Corona became a trendy beer in the U.S. that Corona was a working man’s beer & the lime was to keep flies from landing on the beer rim.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Ike – I have eaten his BBQ. It is excellent! It is 30-45 min away, and I haven’t been there in quite a while. Thx for the reminder. I’ll speak to Dianne – she’ll love the idea.

    Tex – slaw on a BBQ sammich is very good. May not be “acceptable” in TX, but this ain’t TX! 😉

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    1. I know. I actually like a vinegar slaw on mine. But in Texas the slaw and sauce is always on the side. And we’re more about beef briskett and beef sausages. And our chili has no beans. Remember that. Just like the Alamo.

      Tex

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    2. Remember a barbecue in western Pennsylvania was Isaley’s chipped ham cooked in Heinz barbecue sauc?! To me that was a waste of ship camp!

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  13. We did not go up to the game but watched it at home. The game we went to that year was the Virginia game. As was noted in the previous article that game was a debacle. We stayed until the bitter end of that game and were the only people in a huge part of the Pitt section of the stadium.

    Given the mindset of seeing the debacle in Virginia, I remember sitting down in my chair at the beginning of the game just waiting for our collapse. The longer the game went on the more tense I became. I was not and still am not impressed by Wannstedt’s game coaching. With West Virginia having the ball almost until the very end there was a very good chance we would lose. Without a doubt only two factors saved the game for us, the Pitt defense and Shady McCoy!

    Thanks for the two great articles. The only game I can compare with this game was being at the Clemson game in Death Valley.

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  14. I am going to try this again. The first attempt seems to have disappeared into the ether of the Internet.

    I vividly remember watching this game at home. We usually go to one away game during the season and one home game as we live so far away. This year though we skipped going to a home game because the away game we went to was at Virginia. Yes that debacle of a game! We stayed until the bitter end of that game and were the only people in a very empty Pitt section. By the way, if you have not been to Virginia yet to see a game, go. It is a great stadium and the fans are friendly. We took a tour of the campus in the morning before the game found it informative. But I digress.

    As I sat down to watch the game in real time, I thought “Well I’ll watch this for a quarter or so until it gets out of hand. It never happened much to my amazement. While some will say they had a good feeling as the game progressed, I was not one of them. With West Virginia having the ball deep in our territory at the end of the game, I thought for sure they would pull it off. After the incomplete pass by White is when I finally felt comfortable. Wanny did make one excellent call at the end having the punter run out of the end zone for a safety. The refs could not call any phantom calls on such a play that would change the score of the game.

    Of all the Pitt games I have watched or attended only the Clemson game in Death Valley comes close to this. That one is one I attended and is the best game I ever saw Pitt play in person.

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    1. I don’t know what it is about you SC guys but seems like you are the only ones who’s posts get stuck in spam. Gotta love wordpress

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was not signed in and wrote my comment along with my e-mail and handle. When I posted it asked that I sign-in with my password which I did. Apparently Word Press does not retain the comment but “cleans the slate” as if you are just starting a comment when you log in like that. Given all that is happening these days I think it is a very, very minor problem!

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  15. Really nice series of articles. Wlat (Eric), thanks for the time & effort you put into this project. Enjoyable read & well researched.

    I think I watched this game at home by myself as my wife had her eyes glued to whoever was playing in the SEC championship game..

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    1. You are welcome Richard. Glad that you enjoyed it. Could you keep the Covid under control down there? I’m coming to Hilton Head in three weeks.

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      1. Eric – Isn’t it a great feeling to see your work in print. Especially proud of your articles as it kept the Covid talk to a bearable amount.

        I seeded the lower half of South Carolina to “John in South Carolina” for Covid coverage. He lives in Aiken near Augusta Georgia. I’m doing the upstate & midlands.

        Enjoy your HH visit.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Never watched Mr. Rogers but recently a black male who played a character on the show said he was afraid to come out of the closet at the time of the show. So Mr. Rogers was a racist and homophobe? Yeah right, he gave him a rolt. The Brits at Yorktown played The World Turned Upside Down – plus ca change. Guard that statue Ike, the whole world done gone crazy. Ike, I will defend you with the last drop of Eminem’s, Tex and UPitts blood. Never got into the slaw on BBQ but if drunk enough, sure.
    Wanny hated Bostick for all three years for his first training camp time off – probably a panic attack at coming to the big city with hordes of reporters. Bostick could turn over the ball but also could come through in spite of to make big plays. An asset to Pitt now.
    Wlat thanks for two great articles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully it’s a 4 star since Pitt is ranked number 49 in Rivals based on average star. Pitt has quantity but the quality is lacking.

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      1. Throw the rating out the window for any D line recruit. Otherwise I agree would like to see a 4 star

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  17. fwiw Tex, I too am a vinegar slaw fan. The Gandy Dancer at Station Square used to have a killer vinegar slaw but haven’t been there for 15 years … may not even be open anymore

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  18. Eric — excellent article. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. The details are maddening – like Shady’s TD run being called back. I remember that run.

    A vivid memory I have from watching the game on TV was the young WVU fan with the “Go Eers” sign, or whatever it said. In the fourth quarter the camera finds this kid leaning over the railing and holding his sign. Just as they pan to him, he drops the sign and it disappears into the bowels of the stadium. It was so emblematic of the night the ‘Eers were having.

    I wish someone could find that clip and post it.

    Go Pitt.

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  19. Great set of articles. I watched the Rich Rod post-game presser during lunch today. Gave me as much joy as it did the night of the game. Worked all afternoon with a smile on my face 😁. Thanks for a happy walk down memory lane!!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. With Covid cases growing exponentially in the South and Southwest with no stay at home and little social distancing or even mask wearing we may have a greater problem than no football this fall. Cases jacked up in NY, PA and Illinois yesterday as well. The EU considering a ban on Americans. What a disaster.

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    1. It’s not yet as bad as it looks. If in two weeks fatalities spike then we should be worried. If fatalities hold or go down then it’s simply the increase in testing that’s driving the case spikes. I’m a big believer in data and in this case we’ll have more data over time .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. a little over a week ago, Allegheny County had 0 new cases … now, it has had 45 new cases each, the last 2 days. The good news is that it is mostly young people so the survival rates should be good. However, of course, if they spent any time with their parents or grandparents, that may be bad.

        And of course, for the people worrying about finance, the treatments of Cobid19 is not cheap

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      2. The data is already there Mike, percentage of positives are way up. Mortality rates may not be as high due to better treatment protocols and more younger people with the disease, who will survive. What we don’t know is what long term effects will be on the survivors. We also know that what slowed it to a near stop on the east coast is not happening in the South or Texas and Arizona. California following all the rules is now exploding as it tries to re-open.

        While no one knows for sure what will happen, the data is heading in the wrong direction.

        Like

        1. And don’t know morbidity rates. The long term health consequences are still unknown. But if this virus leaves your lungs scared, there are some significant health issues for survivors.

          Like

      3. The scientists have said more testing is not the primary reason for the spikes. Think about it. We have a hockey stick curve in Texas. Almost exponential like New York was. And the testing rate is still the same. Texas didn’t just suddenly ramp up testing. But Texas did open up suddenly. The virus never went away.

        Our governor now even admits we opened too soon and too fast. The positivity rate of those tested is high here. That’s something to look at. As well as hospitalizations. Texas towns are coming close to running out of beds.

        Now I have to quarantine for 14 days if I want to visit friends in New York. Americans will soon be banned from traveling to the EU.

        And this is still the first wave? I’d hate to see the second one. Wasn’t the second one for the 1918 Spanish flu far more deadlier.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Even if a vaccine is ready for early 2021, it will take months to manufacture it and then widely distribute it. Mass production of any vaccine is very complicated.

      Think about it this way. I can make some fantastic ribs to serve to about ten people. But I can’t replicate my success if I have to now serve 100 people. The vaccine has to serve ten billion people.

      With our luck, the Russians will find the cure and the Chinese will manufacture it. We’re last to receive any supplies.

      Like

  21. the pro golf tour had o positives the first tournament, 1 in the 2nd tourney, and as we enter this 3rd week which begins today …. 4 players have dropped out so far. A couple because of their caddies

    Like

      1. The problem is travel as well. Not playing or practicing in a bubble environment. Teams go on the road. Think of how many people are involved in the logistics. Think of the contact made with people outside the program. Basic everyday contact that doesn’t involve tackling.

        The pros can all pick a city and play their playoffs…see nba and nhl. Any league beginning their season like mlb will have these logistical challenges. And I’d think schools would care more about the health of their students than an owner with highly paid professionals.

        More I think about it – 80 percent probability football season begins. But 20 percent chance it’s a complete season

        Like

  22. UConn just cut 4 sports programs and slashed their budget by 15 percent for starters.

    Covid will impact that $30 million ACC check along with game day revenues. Pitt is not immune.

    Academic programs are also not safe since there will be fewer students enrolled and more taking online courses which are price discounted.

    Universities have high overhead…staff and facilities.

    Universities will be forced to divest, reorganize and cut.

    Like

  23. Yet we hire an image guy for a couple hundred k. Heather spends like a drunken sailor.

    The protests/riots were 2-3 weeks ago so of course numbers are jumping up.

    In addition to that, I didn’t see a ton of masks in PA either on my trip there. It was about par with Texas.

    Like

    1. while I agree that protests may have contributed, I saw a UPMC Dr on the local news attributing it to younger people in confined environments, like bars. In Florida and Texas cases both are spiking …. and it wasn’t due to massive protests/riots

      Like

      1. Yes while the protests will have some impact, they happened everywhere and the spikes are in the South and Southwest. Going to bars and other indoor activities are the biggest culprits.

        Like

  24. Heather is going to have to cut the operating budget and probably cut some programs.

    She does spend like a drunken sailorette. And yet she still goes to the academic general fund each year to help balance the books.

    I see covid impacting Pitts top line revenues by at least $10 million. Time to start cutting heather. She should take the lead by taking a 10 percent pay cut.

    I’d be worried if I was on the cross country or gymnastics team. That’s maybe $3 million in savings right there.

    Like

  25. Just tried to post an article about the NFL tarping lower parts of the stadium…did not copy to the blog….now where have we heard about tarping before…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tarping yes!

      And don’t forget those cardboard cutouts of season ticket holders. They are doing this in European soccer leagues.

      To offset Pitts budget shortfall, pitt could raise revenues by selling your body pic for a cutout at Heinz. I’d start the bidding at $50 bucks. Might generate enough interest to save the gymnastics team.

      Like

        1. So you could set up cameras in certain sections. And then live stream the game right. So a ticket holder would be viewing the game just like they were actually there during the season but enjoying the experience in the safety of their home.

          Another money opportunity for pitt.

          Like

    2. There will be no tarping this year IF there is a season. As wrote on here before, the oversized Heinz Field may come in handy this year. That said, I highly doubt there is going to be a full season and most likely not one at all. SOP luck strikes again.

      Like

      1. But is it even worth having venues at 20-30 percent capacity. Is it worth having 10,000 fans social distance in a 70k stadium. The stadium will still be dead. And those attending might be dead in less than 30 days.

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        1. quick answer…… NO! Just another reason why there will not be a football season this year.

          BTW, The Mr Rogers statue still sitting on the park bench today and the Roberto Clemente statue better go unblemished.

          Liked by 2 people

  26. Hey, we have 2 legs of the Triple Crown to look forward to…..that Belmont winner is a Stud…He could “go all the way!!”

    Like

    1. Big B: An attorney I have known for years was part of a consortium of people who own the winner of the Belmont (Tiz the Law?). He’s had the horse racing bug for years and has never invested in a horse that amounted to anything. So finally he and his group have a stud, and the attorney drops dead of a heart attack this past winter.

      Like

      1. Susie Cartwright, studied at Western Kentucky University
        Answered January 2, 2020
        No, no horse has beaten Secretariat’s record or records. He won the Kentucky Derby and was the first horse to win in under two minutes. Monarchos later ran under 2 minutes, but, he didn’t beat Secretariat’s time. Next he won the Preakness and that record has never been broken. Finally was the Belmont Stakes, that was the finest record ever, Secretariat ran every quarter of a mile faster than the one before. That race was one and a half miles. His record will stand forever, it was a World Record too! I love to watch his three Triple Crown races, when I’m sad he cheers me up! I live in Kentucky and of course loved his Kentucky Derby. But through the years I learned to love the Preakness almost as much. Watch it, the horses walk to the gate and you’ll see Secretariat almost put himself in the gate! After the break the track announcer is calling the race and he says “Secretariat is last” twice!! It’s as if he heard that and didn’t like it. I wish the film was clearer so you can see how he puts his head down and is moving so fast, it was a sight to see! So no, his records haven’t been beaten. I hope they never will be! But as I explained, no horse will ever beat his Belmont record

        Like

  27. There use to be a local carnival that came to town called “Red Devils” and always near the entrance was a pinball game with maybe 15 seats in a row. Each seat was assigned a former Kentucky Derby winner’s name. A bell would go off and you would start shooting the pinball and depending which hole it would go in your horse would advance that many spaces on the big board in front of all the players. Oh the owner of the trailer would MC each race. “and they are off” It was really very cool and always packed. I blew many allowances there.

    Like

  28. and none of these horses, even Secretariat, could come close to beating a Cheetah or Gazelle (of course, you would need really small jockeys)

    Like

    1. from wikipedia concerning the ’82 Sugar Bowl …..

      Twenty-two Pittsburgh Panthers were drafted over the next four years by the National Football League. Six of them were selected in the first round, including Marino, Jim Covert, Tim Lewis, Bill Maas, Chris Doleman, and Bill Fralic. Marino and Doleman were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

      Like

    2. Read once after the game Sherrill locked the doors to Pitt’s locker room and Bozik wanted in and was pissed. He and another Pitt administrator, maybe the chancellor, looked pissed Off. and unhappy standing around while everyone else was happy after the thrilling victory.

      Those two sure destroyed Pitt, a week later as Sherrill bailed on 01.08.82 IIRC.

      Like

  29. the new Pitt commit is 3-star FL LB Deverron Maxwell-Black. Also, J Twyman is 1st team and Paris Ford is 2nd team pre-season Sporting News A-A

    Like

  30. An undersized linebacker with weak offers.

    Pitt needs to beat va tech and North Carolina for recruits. Not Tennessee state and Austin pea.

    Like

  31. Thanks for this wonderfully written article, Eric. I hung on every word. When I saw MM’s perfect title picture, I knew I was in for a treat.

    Like

    1. Tex – don’t bury the lead…this could result in some interesting moves by the ACC.
      Will be interesting to see who the school Presidents choose as his successor.
      Does the epicenter of Tobacco Road shift as a result…gosh I hope so.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Sounds like a typical PITT recruit that goes on to be named to the All American list. Patrick Jone II was 2* and Twyman was a low rated 3* by some scouting services. Twyman is now a first team all American.

    Like

    1. Ike – pitt has so few all Americans. Why. Because it doesnt recruit the elite athlete. This recruit is no bigger than me. He’s Tennessee state material and not pitt. He is a far reach. You really think our linebacker coach can make this low 3 star into a 4-5 star? You think other P5 programs are less smart by not offering. This is why Narduzzi is nothing more than a polished turd.

      Like

      1. I just gave you an example Patrick Jones who was a 2* so yes, Narduzzi can transform lower rated players into NFL draft picks. The amount of PITT players picked in next years draft will blow your, speaking of transformed, Texas mind.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pitt may have 5 players drafted. What good is that if the turd can’t win ten games with all that high end talent. He should be on the first bus back to Youngstown.

          Tex who has free bus tickets to Ohio.

          Like

          1. Slam dunk players drafted barring injury. Twyman, Jones, Weaver and Camp. Also Ford, Hamlin and Morrissey should be drafted. Throw in Pickett and that’s eight players I predict will go in the draft next year. Maybe Pinnock and Mathis with big years.

            Like

          2. What if the turd wins ten games, should you be banished to Lubbock? 🙂

            ike who has free bus tickets to Lubbock.

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            1. My son would have gone there if tech gave the money that Texas did. He really liked the campus.

              I’m making fried green tomatoes right now. Gonna use them for a BLT. I luv the South. The tartness is a reminder of SOP to me.

              Like

  33. My belief…the virus isn’t going away until there is herd immunity whether through infection or a vaccine.
    We can all go back into hiding and guess what, when we come out the numbers will spike again. Can’t shut down the country to wait for a vaccine. This thing is unstoppable. Of course, science has to figure out if having the virus once prevents you from having it again. That story has changed several times.

    I am not a conspiracy guy, but I could buy that that Clemson football team will have herd immunity before football season starts and it won’t be by accident, lol.

    Like

  34. I really enjoyed your two-part write up, Eric. Thank you. Rewatching the game a few weeks ago on the ACC Network, I was surprised by how egregious the phantom call was against WVU. Made me think the bad calls are more incompetence than conspiracy. Just wish they hadn’t skipped so much of the game action in the rebroadcast. Could have deleted the Blackledge ramblings and showed more plays.

    Like

  35. Being retired and bored I have started watching Pitt football games from The 1976 – 1984 period on YouTube. Right now I’m watching the 1979 Fiesta Bowl with a young (18 years) Danny Marino. Lots of Pitt stuff on YouTube. Takes me back to better days (of Pitt football anyway). All those Panthers that made it to the NFL.

    Like

  36. The NCAA has extended the dead period to Aug 31. Could this push a few local kids to just commit and get it over with? If Donald doesn’t pull the trigger to PITT soon, he never will.

    Like

  37. where have you guys been? There are no guarantees any more. Consider ….

    –. in 2010, after Pitt’s best season in the last 38 years, Wanny was unable to reel in Dieffenbach and Ricketts, both local 4-stars with definite Pitt connections

    — in 2013, Robert Foster told his parents the night before his announcement that Pitt was it

    — in 2013, the No. 1 Pitt OL priority of Pitt’s best recruiter who had attended the same high school, yet DJ Johnson attended a weekend at PSU and immediately committed, only to rescind after the sanctions were announced

    — in 2014, 4-star Troy Apke who parents were Pitt athletes and high school coach was on the Pitt staff, decided on PSU who was still under sanctions

    — in 2016, Donovan Jeter was regular at the Pete to watch his older brother play basketball and most of the s0 called experts had him as at Pitt .. he visited a Notre Dame game and immediately committed

    back in the late 90, Lavar Arrington and Brandon Short didn’t even consider Pitt. Same goes for Steve Breaston five years later, and Terrell Pryor and Sean Lee ten years later. I blame the 90s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kids are going to make their own decisions for a million different reason. My hope is that we hold on to the ones that verbal after they have great senior seasons and become in greater demand. Times have certainly changed, pretty sure we would have no chance with a Dorsett, Marino, Green or Fralic these days.

      With Donald how much of his rep due to his cousin vs. his own abilities?

      Like

    1. If I came in contact with a known positive at work, I’d be forced to quarantine for 14 days…with pay of course. I look forward to that 14 day paid vacation.

      Tex

      Like

  38. Well I think Eliott Donald is a little bit different than even those players. Having an uncle that played at PITT and donated over 1 million dollars to PITT and has a weight room named after him should be a slam dunk. Although I see your point and also, he may want to pave his own path due to the pressure of his uncles legacy.

    Like

  39. I vividly remember that Pitt’s only Heisman winner was set to commit to PSU until JoePa told him he would start him off at safety ….. ironically because PSU’s only Heisman winner was the starting RB in 73. Speaking of changing history?

    Btw, East Brady’s Jim Kelly tells the story that JoePa recruited him as an LB which is why he chose Miami, And the QB that beat him in the 92 Super Bowl, Jeff Hoffstettler, transferred from PSU to WVU because of ‘unfulfilled promises’

    Like

  40. Again I go back to what Jackie said. Some kids don’t like concrete under their feet and prefer grass. A urban campus isn’t for everyone particularly athletes that went to suburban schools.

    And of course some kids just want to get out of Dodge. And some kids are getting paid under the table. And some kids want that special treatment. Pitt will treat you more like a military school. I’m fine by that.

    You don’t hear me complaining about lack of 5 stars. All I want are high end threes…5.7 rated. And 3-4 legit 4 stars each year.

    Tex whose 1994 vintage Piss and Vinegar is aging well

    Like

    1. Fully agree, Tex.

      If we got three to four 4 stars and high threes on average, no one should be complaining. (Some will of course). And we’d be in very good company – certainly good enough to be a Coastal contender every year, which is goal number 2 (after winning 6+ games/yr minimum). But with that level of recruiting, we’d have a chance through good coaching, strategy/play-calling and some off years for Clemson to win the conference. Its a reasonable expectation.

      Maybe a 5 star decides he want to come to Pitt…in which case good for us. But I don’t think we should expect that.

      Question – anyone know how many 4 stars are out there each year on average? And what would be the size of the pool of competitors for those kids?…Top 2/3 of the P5 + the top 4-5 G5 schools?.. with that, what would the average # of 4 stars per school in the group be? (sounds like a task for resident statistician/former accountant Richard).

      Like

      1. Bigger point though JoeL is how many 5* players are from the WPA area? And even then you have to wonder who is willing to pay them for play and are big time famous schools. I will never expect a 5* player from any other state to even give PITT the slightest look. BTW, Rivals only have a certain number of 4* players allowed, which makes no sense to me. I think the number is 250 so who do they differentiate between number 250 and 251? and so on. It’s arbitrary and subjective and shouldn’t be consider the football recruiting bible.

        Like

        1. Agree mostly, although a kid from Cumberland, MD area, northern panhandle of WV….maybe even on the other side of the river in places like Stuebenville, etc – and don’t forget Youngstown – might give Pitt a long look as its “local”.

          Like

            1. My next door neighbor is from Wellsburg….I call him homie (he’s a Mountaineer though and so sometimes I call him hoopie). Brooke High School (which attracts whatever kids are left in places like Follansbee, Archer Heightsd, East Steubenville and Beech Bottom), has had some excellent teams in the past. Wheeling Park and Weir High flanking it.

              Like

          1. I consider most of those places WPA JoeL… lol.. Cumberland Maryland not so much. What do they call Steubenville… the burb of the burgh?

            Like

            1. Steubenville….home of Steubenville Big Red, a real player back in the day. Harding Stadium on the hill over town (just like Aliquippa) was sold out for years and getting season tickets was as valued as getting Steeler season tickets. Big time HS football (which is not a cue to hear about Texas HS FB please).

              Home of Dean Martin, Jimmy The Greek and Traci Lords 😉

              Like

            2. I see what you did there JoeL… haha.. you want to know if I know who Traci Lords is.. No never heard of her. 😉

              Like

  41. I wonder if having a world class medical facility next door is enough to swing some players our way in the age of Covid? Lot’s of schools with few health resources near by.

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    1. Take the kids that didn’t pass their physicals at Pitt, would their lives have been endangered at some other schools. How much of a value was UPMC to James Conner?

      Like

  42. Look, no one is saying Elliot Donald should come play for PITT for any other reason then he wants to. The question… why wouldn’t he want to. Now Tex lays out many different reasons as to why but PITT fills the bill on most examples. That’s without saying he most likely has little financial worries as well. I brought him up for the one reason and that is, he won’t be allowed to visit a school until the end of August. There comes a time.

    Like

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