Let’s Remember Good Times! Sun Bowl 2008

Another great piece from The Athletic magazine. You can see the deleted videos and photos here:

It was “the worst coaching job of my career,” says Dave Wannstedt, former Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Panthers head coach.

The game was a “snore-fest” and is “an ongoing joke,” according to former Pitt linebacker Scott McKillop.

And folks in El Paso still frequently bring up the 2008 Sun Bowl game — but mostly because of the halftime show, says longtime Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas.

The 3.5 million people who tuned in to CBS on New Year’s Eve that year watched an unwished-for piece of college football history: Oregon State 3, Pitt 0, remains the lowest-scoring bowl game of the last 60 years. And the 40,000-plus spectators at the picturesque mountain-draped stadium that day got to make their own history: The Village People led them in setting the Guinness World Record for the largest “YMCA” dance.

But those were just part of the story behind a largely forgettable football game that still managed to spawn some unforgettable lore, from an all-night El Paso bar crawl to quarterback-crippling winds to a team getting penalized for wearing the wrong uniform.

“I remember the sky (on game day) was crystal blue,” says longtime Pitt sports information director E.J. Borghetti. “But as beautiful as the setting and the day was, what happened between the hashmarks was anything but.”

While not generally held with the same prestige as the six major bowls, the Sun Bowl, played most years on Dec. 31, dates back to 1935, predating every other active bowl besides the Rose. CBS began airing it annually in 1968 and generally sends its top broadcast team, which in 2008, for the 75th edition of the game, was Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson.

Danielson opened the broadcast by saying of Pitt and Oregon State: “I think these are two legitimate football teams that can beat anybody on any field.” With good reason. Coach Mike Riley’s Beavers, 8-4, had upset No. 1 USC on a Thursday night early in the season, ultimately costing the Trojans a shot at the national title. Wannstedt’s 9-3 Panthers, led by future All-Pro LeSean McCoy and All-American linebacker McKillop, came into the game ranked No. 18. Their first bowl season in four years had unofficially begun a year earlier, when 4-7 Pitt shocked No. 2 West Virginia in the regular-season finale, knocking the Mountaineers out of the BCS Championship Game.

But these weren’t necessarily the same squads that played the regular season. Oregon State’s star tandem of brothers, wide receiver James Rodgers and running back Jacquizz Rodgers, were both sidelined with injuries. They’d accounted for roughly half the Beavers’ total offense. Pitt, meanwhile, lost All-Big East left tackle Jason Pinkston to a shoulder injury during practice a few days before the game, which would prove disastrous.

That wasn’t the only obstacle Pitt dealt with that week. Wannstedt called off the Panthers’ first practice early, because, well, the night before …

“We went out on Cincinnati Street in downtown El Paso … a lot of alcohol was consumed,” says McKillop. “The practice was awful. I was a senior on defense, and I remember (coordinator) Phil Bennett came up to me, and I was like, ‘Yep, it was a bad night.’ He goes, ‘Well, I can smell, it sure is!’” https://www.youtube.com/embed/mAmD4UkgHsw?feature=oembed

Both teams got introduced to a staple of West Texas that would end up playing an outsized factor in the game.

“We went out to a high school to practice and the wind was blowing — and it was blowing big time,” recalls Riley.

The official game book lists the wind as being only 8 mph at kickoff, but all involved swear there were 20-30 mph gusts all afternoon, uncharacteristic for winter there. This was less than ideal for both teams, but especially Pitt, which, to the continued bewilderment of Wannstedt today, went in with a game plan to air it out.

This despite having 1,400-yard rusher McCoy in its backfield, and despite the fact quarterback Bill Stull had a brace on his wrist.

“Because of LeSean McCoy, Oregon State was loading up the box with extra defenders to stop the run,” says Wannstedt. “So common sense coaching 101 says, throw the ball. You’ve got easy throws outside.

“Well, common sense coaching 101 does not take into account 30 mph wind.”

Common sense coaching also discourages burning timeouts unnecessarily, but Riley did just that — before the game ever started. Oregon State had been designated the visiting team but was insistent on donning its home orange jerseys, even knowing it would incur a penalty for wearing “unsanctioned” jerseys. A timeout was assessed as soon as Pitt’s opening kickoff went through the end zone.

“Shame on them,” Lundquist said sarcastically.

The Beavers’ opening series was a preview of things to come. Quarterback Lyle Moevao completed a nice 18-yard pass to Sammie Stroughter. But on the very next play, McKillop stripped running back Ryan McCants, the backup trying to fill workhorse Jacquizz Rodgers’ shoes. Pitt took over in plus territory.

On the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage, Stull uncorked a throw 50 yards downfield to freshman and future first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin. It flew over his head. The next play, Stull tried to throw a short out route to receiver Derek Kinder near the sideline. The ball sailed behind him, deflected off his hand and became an interception for Oregon State cornerback and future third-round pick Keenan Lewis.

“You know what’s happening?” Danielson said on the broadcast. “Both quarterbacks, when they throw the ball wide, the wind blowing right to left blows the ball away … If you’re going to throw the ball, you need to throw the ball north-south, not east-west in this wind.”

By game’s end, Moevao had gone 21-of-42 for 193 yards and two interceptions. Stull, who’d lost his grandfather less than two weeks before the game and was dealing with multiple injuries, endured a nightmare performance: 7-of-24 for 52 yards and a pick.

It didn’t help that the left tackle protecting his blind side that day was a fifth-year senior who’d never started a game. Oregon State defensive end Victor Butler, going against him, notched four sacks and four hurries and went on to become a fourth-round draft pick.

“It was extremely, extremely frustrating,” says Stull. “The only thing that I feel like gave us hope was, we’re not really doing crap today, but hey, neither are they.”

But it was a great day to be a punter, and Oregon State had a particularly good one: future L.A. Rams four-time All-Pro Johnny Hekker. After those initial turnovers, the teams combined for seven consecutive first-half punts, with Hekker pinning Pitt inside its own 16 three times.

“I do remember Hekker was loving it,” says Riley. “He was pumped with the wind.”

With 2:18 left in the first half, Oregon State kicker Justin Kahut hit a 44-yard-field goal for the first — and it turned out, only — points of the game. The Beavers got the ball back again with 1:22 left, at which point Moevao led the best drive of the game for either team (despite only having two timeouts to use), 61 yards in 13 plays.

“We made the best out of what we could,” says Moevao. “We were able to get a few passes here or there that luckily flew in the direction I was throwing them, every now and then.”

On second-and-goal from the 9, Moevao threw high to John Reese in the end zone, who appeared to come down with it over Pitt safety Eric Thatcher. Oregon State would have taken a likely insurmountable 10-0 lead. But officials ruled that the ball came out just before Reese bit the ground.

On the next play, McKillop picked off Moevao in the end zone.

“I know that people say it was a defensive game, 3-0,” says McKillop, “but it really wasn’t a defensive game.”

Before heading to the halftime locker room, Wannstedt, acknowledging the wind, told Wolfson: “We’re going to come out in the second half, and we’re going to run the ball. But we’ve got to make some plays in the passing game because those guys (Oregon State) are going to score some points.”

The Sun Bowl, which relies heavily on the local community to fill the stands, has a history of landing notable halftime acts — Los Lonely Boys, Lee Greenwood, pre-superstardom Rihanna. It wanted something special for the 75th anniversary game.

Olivas, the Sun Bowl’s executive director since 2001, is an El Paso native, but he’s also a big New York Yankees fan. In the summer of 2008, he attended a game at Yankee Stadium and took in the club’s tradition where, during the seventh-inning stretch, the stadium PA plays “YMCA.” Whenever the chorus comes on, the grounds crew puts down its rakes and performs along with the crowd. Inspiration struck.

Most halftime shows get forgotten about as soon as the second half begins. In this case, the game went down as an afterthought to the halftime show.

“Of course, I remember The Village People,” says Borghetti. “I remember watching and thinking to myself, how many of these guys were actually members of the original group? But I wouldn’t let that take away from the novelty of watching that performance.”

CBS’s Wolfson, contacted for her recollections of the 2008 Sun Bowl, responded, “Honestly, I think the only thing I remember is the Village People halftime show!”

“Every time I ask my fans if they went to that game, they say that was the most fun I’ve ever had at the bowl game — and it was a 3-0 bowl game,” says Olivas. “But they all remember the halftime show.”

According to a 2009 KVIA-TV report, bowl organizers had to submit “hundreds of photos shot of each section of the Sun Bowl, as well as video footage from 12 cameras” to the Guinness Records folks. It took more than 13 months before they officially decreed that the Sun Bowl Association held the new “YMCA” record: 40,148 people danced for five minutes and 34 seconds, shattering the previous record of 13,588. https://www.youtube.com/embed/8-iLwQjaFxw?feature=oembed

“The entire stadium — police officers, ushers — they were all doing the YMCA,” says Olivas. “Nobody left for the concession stands until after halftime.”

It might have been best for their sake had they not returned to their seats.

After combining for eight punts in the first half, the teams traded 12 in the second. As the third quarter wound down, an increasingly incredulous Danielson noted that both teams’ conferences, the Big East and Pac-10, were 3-0 in bowls to that point. “Maybe they want to tell those guys out there (on the field),” he joked.

Wannstedt made good on his word to try to run the ball more, but McCoy ultimately carried 24 times for a modest 85 yards. Oregon State coordinator Mark Banker’s defense, from which six starters were eventually picked in an NFL draft, did not allow a gain longer than 12 yards from McCoy all day.

“I really thought that at some point — because it happened every single game at some point — Shady is gonna break one,” says Stull. “I think we were all just banking on, ‘Hey, at some point Shady is going to get in. Let’s just keep doing our job.’ I was going to keep trying to spin it as best I could, but it was just obvious that it wasn’t working.”

Wannstedt finally and mercifully pulled Stull in the fourth quarter, a few series after he re-aggravated his wrist. Sophomore Pat Bostick entered with 4:38 remaining but didn’t have to do much initially as Pitt ran four straight wildcat plays with McCoy. In hindsight, Wannstedt wishes he’d done so sooner.

“I wasted no time during the course of the year going to the wildcat and saying, ‘That’s it, we’re done throwing. LeSean McCoy is going to get the ball the rest of the game,’” he said. “I mean, that was my thought process more times than not, and this is the one game that I should have done it early and I just didn’t. I should have given him the ball 45 times.”

But Oregon State again did a great job containing McCoy, and eventually Pitt faced a fourth-and-7 from the Beavers’ 41-yard-line with 2:08 left. Wannstedt had such little confidence in his offense, he sent out Conor Lee for a 58-yard field goal attempt. Even with modest wind, the kick sailed more than 60 yards — but too far to the right.

That was the last scoring opportunity Pitt would get.

Thus concluded the lowest-scoring bowl game since Air Force and TCU played to a 0-0 tie in the 1959 Cotton Bowl.

Oregon State covered the 2.5-point spread.

Oregon State, 9-4, finished No. 18 in the AP poll — the highest final ranking of Riley’s 14 seasons with the Beavers.

“I was just happy to win,” says Riley, “but for all of us, it was a really surprising score.”

Pitt still achieved the school’s first nine-win regular season since 1982, but the loss dropped the Panthers out of the final Top 25. But more gallingly, the Panthers somehow got shut out despite boasting six players on offense who went on to get drafted in the NFL, most notably six-time Pro Bowler McCoy.

“It’s still an ongoing joke, the fact that we lost 3-0 — amongst fans, amongst family members, even teammates,” says McKillop. “The only lower-scoring game could be a 2-0 safety game, which, I won’t say is never going to happen, but I highly doubt it.”

Stull, who would spend the next month getting injury treatments, took his role in the result particularly hard. “I personally was not in the best of mindsets. There were a lot of big-name people within the program who gave me a call to just check on me and make sure I was not down in the dumps for too long.”

But he’d ultimately have a happy ending. Despite losing McCoy and McKillop to the NFL, Pitt won 10 games the next season, capped off with a win over North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Star running back Dion Lewis earned MVP honors, but Stull, that season’s All-Big East quarterback, got to hoist the trophy.

“I was extremely, extremely happy, to say the least, that we were able to change that narrative of the ending of last season,” he says. “Being able to, not erase, but really put (the Sun Bowl) in the backburner parts of peoples’ minds and think of Pitt and us as winners — that’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Wannstedt was unexpectedly dismissed as Pitt’s coach a year after that, when the Panthers finished the 2010 season 7-5. After three seasons as an NFL assistant, he left coaching and joined Fox Sports as a TV analyst. His college football travels often take him to events like the Fiesta Bowl Spring Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., or conference media days, which many bowl executives also attend.

“We always see each other,” says Olivas, “and I always ask him: Why didn’t you run the ball?”

108 thoughts on “Let’s Remember Good Times! Sun Bowl 2008

  1. Was it right after this game or a few weeks later Nordy told Wannstedt his recruiting budget was being slashed?

    Good times, fantastic leadership.


  2. Hey it was a good day in one respect.

    Last live appearance EVER of the Village People.

    It takes a Village….NOT !


    1. not so fast…my wife and i saw the village people at a private event at the Fontainebleu in Miami. Have to admit i had so much fun i couldn’t remember it too well……..actually couldn’t remember to wake up and missed the plane home.

      funny story, was golfing that weekend and had to call the proshop and have them deliver a 12 pack of golf balls to the 16th tee……..so you guys don’t want me at any golf event……ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Wanny, the worst coaching job of your career was at Pitt from the years 2005 to 2007. You took over a team that went to the Fiesta Bowl my freshman year and they would not have a winning season the rest of my undergraduate tenure.

    I love that you are a Pitt man and you gave the program a great year in ’09, but I’ve never seen teams with such talent (Shady, Stephens-Howling, Revis, Blades, McKillop, Palko) underachieve in a conference against the likes of UConn, Rutgers, and South Florida.

    This sun bowl was a prime example of underachievement and helped coin the phrase SOP.


    1. We ain’t gonna lay SOP on Wanny.

      It was around long before he came back. Which was a good thing he did.

      Only 10 win season in 40 years before this season was under DW. As well as one of the few 9 win season in 40 years.

      His main flaw was being loyal with the Sunseri’s.


      1. He saved his reputation after the bonehead losses vs. WVU and Cincy with the Belk Bowl win. I’ve always blamed Wanny’s lack to big success on Pederson who seemed to want to undercut him and forced the football program to survive on a bare-bones budget, almost U-Conn like. Salaries for assistant coaches were lacking but Phil Bennett and Cignetti were two damn good coordinators.

        7-5 in 2010 was Narduzzi-like.


        1. Oh yea for sure. Power struggle between Wanny & Cornhole. Cornhole had Nordenbergs ear though and they were pals. So that was that.

          And the pals brought us the Heyward/Graham fiasco.


    2. Wannstedt took over the slowest team in possibly D-1 history that went 8-3 against an awful schedule.

      Kudos to Walt though. Chryst went 6-6 versus similar schedules.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I remember that….Wanny was asked at halftime by a sideline reporter…..What Pitt must do…in the 2nd half ?

        Wanny’s reply. ‘Run Faster’ haha


  4. Game wise, Wanny waited to long to pull Stull. Who’s flutter balls died in mid-air due to some wind.

    Pat Bostick finally got in and had almost as many yards passing in 3 plays(37 yards) as Stull had for the entire game (54 yards on a very bad 7 for 24 passing).

    Bostick really got d8cked over by Wanny and his local HS QB’s. One of which was avg (stull) and the other horrid (tiny).


  5. But Pat didn’t complain and got his reward. An easy gig on the radio for as long as he wants it.


    1. Recently watched Bostik vs. Notre Dame in 2008 at Notre Dame. Some very bad plays but managed to lead us to a quad-OT win. Also led the win over WVU in 2007 if I’m not mistaken.

      So, he was high recruited but was he that bad of a QB?


  6. The saddest part of this humiliating display of football was when Wanny tried to defend his friend Cavanaugh by saying “he’s forgotten more about offense than his critics will ever know”. Sorry Wanny, but you missed on that one too.


    1. He was also MVP of both the national championship clinching Sugar Bowl and the following years Gator Bowl.

      All Hail Matt Cavanaugh !!!


  7. In a more positive bit of news, it appears that Slovis the QB from USC will transfer to Pitt, wonder how long and how many of Pitt’s current QBs will be entering the portal now. If Patti/Beville/etc enters before the bowl game, I assume they(he) will not be permitted to play.

    Slovis has two years of eligibility.


  8. What prompted this Debbie Downer article any way. Revisiting the Sun Bowl of 2008 is like revisiting your Dentist for a drilling job ,,,fouled up.

    That link is behind a Pay Wall as well. lol

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Honest to goodness I was wondering the same thing. Why was that forgettable game revisited after PITT won the ACC? I would much rather discuss Joe’s poopy pants debacle.

      How about pistol Pete’s comeback?

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Wow….still remember watching that Pitt/WVU game at the Damon’s Ribs in North Hills.
        Was in town for Thanksgiving. Ran into a childhood friend of mine i hadn’t seen for 15 years
        and we had a blast….cheering Pistol Pete & the Panthers on.


  9. Notre Dame was the 1st school to contact Kedon Slovis about transferring.

    Would be YUGE if Pitt landed him !!!


  10. Well….you’d like to have a mobile QB. But the must is being able to Pass efficiently and hit long plays.


  11. I understand was a great athlete in HS in 3 sports FB, BB and baseball. And it was noted that he did run the 40 in around 5.8 seconds. He doesn’t need to be Pickett but he does need to get out of the pocket at times to extend the plays. An ability to hit secondary receivers early on is a key that many QB’s don’t possess.


    1. pleeeeease tell me you aren’t serious about that time in the 40

      i can almost run that now at an age way older than,,,, well, older than even Kenny Pickett 🙂


  12. I’d rather have Calzada than Slovis or Purdy. He did QB a win against Alabama, which says a lot. He also isn’t much of a runner.


    1. That he did do. However his overall..numbers aren’t great. 56% isn’t up to snuff.

      Against No. 1 Alabama, though, he was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the 41-38 upset. In that game, Calzada threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, he finished with 2,185 yards passing with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions as he completed 56.3 percent of his throws.


  13. Barstool Sports reports that third-year Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada will transfer to Pitt via the NCA transfer portal. Calzada will not play in the Tax Slayer Gator Bowl.

    So now we have report this guy is coming..and PSN thinks Slovis is Pitt bound. lol


  14. My concern with Slovis is that he seems to have regressed each year. You have to love the experience, but he needs to be fixed or you have another mediocre QB on your roster. Right now you don’t have a QB guru on staff.


    1. Stats wise…yes. But 2020 was a shortened season of 6 games. He still hit on 67% of his passes.

      This year USC was in total disarray as the HC (clay helton) was fired after the 2nd game and the team spun out of control. Plus he got injured in the ASU game and never played thereafter.


  15. My favorite was the January 1st Cotton Bowl, Pitt vs SMU, in the cold bone chilling rain in Dallas. That game was horrible.


    1. Pitt & Texas don’t seem to mix well. Armed Forces Bowel.

      The swinging gate was against A & M at Mustard Jar.

      We did beat them in Aggie-land though the next year.

      Princell Brokenbrough’s finest hours as a Panther ! Rockin Rod threw 5 TD passes, 3 to Fitz.


      1. I also went to the Armed Forces Bowl and it was raining but the Cotton Bowl was a disaster, for all the firepower Pitt had they couldn’t do anything all game and bumbled it away to SMU


        1. SMU had a pretty good team. The Pony Express with future NFL stars Eric Dickerson & Craig James.

          And it was a Home Game for them. Death Penalty was looming though. I was there too !

          Liked by 1 person

          1. In fact SMU was undefeated that year….a magical year for them. And they were higher ranked than us.
            So it wasn’t like we lost to ‘chopped liver’.


          2. I went to the Colton Bowl when I lived in Pittsburgh but I actually took a job in Dallas from 2009 to 2016, I liked living there.


        2. Yes no excuse for that loss. Wasn’t like SMU was impossible to beat only scoring seven points. A sad end to a season that started with a #1 ranking. And it was damn cold that day.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. The Armed Forces bowl loss at the last minute I lay at the feet of the coaches who couldn’t keep contrl of that team. Chryst was gone and Narduzzi was busy coaching Michigan State in the bowl game.

        Funny, isn’t it, Narduzzi defending Stull not playing in a bowl game while he stayed at Michigan State to coach in his.

        We’ll see typical half-detached Narduzzi coaching in this bowl just like vs. Navy, Northwestern, and Stanford. Sorry glass half-full fans, this has all the markings of a Narduzzi pratfall or Pittfail.


      3. As counterpoint, when Majors II brought Pitt to Austin we were leading late in the game but lost. Texas wanted Pitt in the Big 12 at the time and thought highly of our academics. I think that the was the best 2-9 team in the country.


  16. You know – you guys are so sensitive to Pitt football. Heaven forbid if anyone wants to have some fun with it. The Sun Bowl was a one-of-a-kind bowl game and we blew it! So – we shouldn’t talk about weird crap that happens with the program – only unicorns and rainbows?

    I’d say “Loosen Up” but then I’d be hypocritical regarding my comments about Pickett…but then again, at least I’d be admitting I’m hypocritical instead of half the commenters on here who think whichever way the Pitt winds blow it’s all great.

    Especially the fans who call for a 10-2 record every single pre-season and then when it happens they say “I told you so” without adding “…but I was wrong the other 10 times.”

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I wonder if Ricky Town and Max Brown were Slovis’ mentors while he was at USC? They could have briefed him on exactly what Pat Narduzzi wants in a QB.

    But how does a FR QB who threw for over 3,500 yards with 30 TDs to 9 INTs and a 167.6 QB rating transfer after that? His girlfriend must be top shelf. Hope he doesn’t take off if they break up. If not Ventura College is waiting…

    Just kidding guys – he’s the next KP (hopefully the 2021 version of KP though, the earlier ones we can do without).

    Get this: (Max) Browne is engaged to his fiancée, former USC volleyball player and mental health & body image advocate Victoria Garrick. What the hell is a “body image advocate”? Sounds like an unemployed guy drinking Iron City at a stripper bar shouting “Hey sweetie, You need a tighter body if you want to make the big tips!! C’mon, you can do it!”

    Here is the girlfriend…


    Keeps busy at least. Have to watch that TED talk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If we land Slovis….hopefully,,,the 3rd time will be the charm….with USC QB’s.

      LOL on the body image advocate and Iron drinker.


  18. I can’t get too excited about unproven QBs transferring in to compete with the 3 unproven QBs we already have. Not saying they aren’t welcome, just saying get to work and earn the job. Just like any other recruit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. U kidding. Slovis’s first 3 years were way better than Pickett’s. In his worse year he threw 17 TD passes and 58 TD passes overall and over 7500 yards.


        1. ^ So that was his first year as a Frosh.

          2nd year as a Soph (2020).

          For his play over the 2020 season, Slovis was named to the first team All-Pac-12 Team as voted by Pac-12 coaches, first team All-Pac-12 as voted by the Associated Press


  19. I remember feeling pretty down after the 3-0 loss but the basketball team was beating Rutgers at the same time on its way to a #1 ranking. The pain was short-lived.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. This guy is on the Market as well. Could be a Chaney/Peterman arrangement,

    Graham Stanton Harrell (born May 22, 1985) is an American football coach and former quarterback who most recently served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Southern California.


  21. Great pickup. We always do well with USC qb transfers. Back in the day, okay just a few days or years ago, we picked up a 5 star transfer who lit up the acc coastal……not!

    The reason for the article, and I actually thought about this a week or so ago, is when I heard the msu rb would not play and then the qb for us would not play. I says to myself, “self, who is going to score the rock, the pill, the pigskin”? And then I marinated on it a bit more. How bad could the offensive output be for these teams and poof, I thought of the sun bowl. Worry not my friends, the all-time low output score for a US Bowl is not in jeopardy…. or is it? The only lower score could be is 2-0.

    If I remember correctly, the wind was so harsh, that the flea would have gotten blown over.

    Agree that Slovis will not be the answer. Unfortunately I watched a lot of late night weekend games and usc seemed to be on many times. I think he is mediocre, but with our offensive guru nardstop to coach him up, i think he improves on his rushing stats by at least 20 yards per year. I don’t like any transfer qb at this point until i see our next OC! How can anyone get excited about a qb who may or may not fit a system that hasn’t been identified yet? Let’s relax for a bit here. Our offensive genius is on it, just ask him about the plays. Remember, he stated he knows diddly about offenses, except how to defend them.


    1. LOL @ Flea. Twig too !

      Neither of those other 2 USC QB’s were All-Pac 12 were they ? Town wasn’t even 2nd string I don’t believe.


  22. Because of Bill Stull’ Sun Bowl performance, he was loudly booed in the opener in 09 against YSU despite Pitt winning 38-3. Many were calling for his backup

    A few years later, they opened again against YSU and were soundly beaten 35 – 17

    Sent from my iPhone



  23. Going back to Pitt Women’s Volleyball team for a second, they finished fourth in the last AVCA polls of the season. This is the highest they have ever finished. I wonder where we would have finished with a healthy Kayla Lund or even the one that played against Penn State in the 2nd round of the tournament?


  24. My favorite Sun Bowl was the 1975 Sun Bowl..
    Kicked Kansas butt 31-19 and won the National Championship the next year.
    Paul Hornung announced the game…
    I still have the poster for the game in the Pitt Man Cave.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. The Jayhawkers had 2 players I remember. Nolan Cromwell the QB who played S for the Rams.
      And Laverne Smith a RB who became a Steeler.

      Pitt QB Bobby Haygood was the MVP.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Pitt got a lot of mileage with that win and started the 1976 season in the Top 10. Two ugly losses to Navy and WVU and that painful loss to Penn State in the Carson Long baby bowl. It was so damn cold drinking Jack Daniel’s was the only way to survive.


  25. My wife is a Prof at USC, so we’ve followed their football team pretty closely over the last 35 odd years. Slovis is certainly as good as Pickett was up until this year. Never quite adjusted to new OC, plus the O-line couldn’t stop a zombie this past Year and WRs couldn’t catch a cold after Drake London went down. He did Wally Pipp JT Daniels, so he can be very good. He could work out with an OC who runs the ball more and an O line that isn’t phoning it in.

    (aka LA Panther)

    Liked by 5 people

  26. I watched the Sun Bowl with a fellow graduate and best friend in a bar. We drank during the game and kept drinking well into the night.


  27. I hated that game. If I could have jumped through my TV screen and punched Matt Cavanaugh for the ridiculous fade pattern plays he was calling, I might still be in jail. That loss was… Wasnnstedtian.

    I remember thinking after the game, “God Bless poor Bill Stull.” They aren’t giving him plays to take advantage of what he COULD do and he didn’t have a cannon arm. Was thrilled to see how he finished his Pitt career with a coach who actually adapted to the talent instead clutching tightly to his system.

    Wondered how I was going to schlep up to Pitts burgh for games the following year with that OC and QB in place. Cignetti brought reason for hope… and he delivered.

    Reed – I swore I wasn’t going to read that article, but relented. It was a fair take on the game, but it really missed on the ridiculous pass plays that were called. You think that’s fun, huh….. I think you are sadistic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Maybe my memory isn’t the greatest but I didn’t think Max Browne was too bad and thought was going to be a decent QB for Pitt until he got hurt. He took his lumps against PSU, but I don’t think he got much (any) help from the OLine.


      1. You are right, ft dix, he got hurt vs Syracuse, but I was at the Happy Valley game and remember him having a tough time of it.


  29. OT — Tyler Boyd had a nice game yesterday – including a game winning 56-yard TD catch and run. Here are some details:

    “Boyd burned the Broncos for 96 yards on five catches, including his long TD, a critical 19-yard reception that set up a field goal as the first half expired and a 15-yard reception on third-and-10 from his 22 that allowed the Bengals to chew up more clock and yards and forced Denver to burn its last two timeouts before getting the ball back with a minute left.”

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. To balance….he had a huge drop on a 2 point conversion. Hit him right between the numbers. He wasn’t happy. Overall very good game by the clairton mighty might!!


  30. Couldn’t get myself to read the 3-0 Sun Bowl article.

    My most vivid memory of that game was watching Bill Stull throw deep balls down the sideline and then never seeing the ball land anywhere within camera view…. Sad stuff.

    Go Pitt.


  31. Dino Babers is targeting former Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae as the Orange’s new offensive coordinator and former UVA quarterbacks coach Jason Beck for the same role, Pete Thamel has shared and we can confirm.


  32. Remember that week-end well as me and JeanieB were in the Dallas airport awaiting a connection to a either Reno or Salt Lake City to go skiing when we ran into one of the PITT player’s parents- Malecki , I think wishing them well and just knew kick would kick “Beaver” in the Sun Bowl….what a shock when the game was played and we lost!!! Back in the day when BigB could do his best “Franz Klammer” on the big mountain… thin air, cold beer and a couple of shots of Jäegermeister cleared the 3-0 crappy post-game taste…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Luv the Franz Klammer reference. Became an Austrian national hero for winning the Downhill in that Olympic cycle. Innsbruck ?

      1976… so forever linked with Pitt’s last National Championship year and Carry On My Wayward Son !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. at least he wasn’t the agony of defeat guy……..vinko bogataj, who just celebrated the 50th year of the famous crash down the slope. Or, his protege’, eddie the eagle from great britain.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Innsbruck was the closest small town but mountains where events were skied were Axamer Lizum and another nearby, AL had the women’s downhill

        skied them and glacier in 1991, not very well 🙂


    1. He made that one really good TD run against Iowa (was it) and never played much again. Another Twilight Zone episode in Pitt football history.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Dino Babers is looking to hire former UVA coaches….amazing because Babers has a disastrous record in Orangeland. Babers has been able to hold on to his job with only 1 winning season in the last 6 years.
    The City of Syracuse is a disaster in many ways. The winter weather is brutal and I believe that Syracuse gets more snow than Rochester and Buffalo. The economy is horrible and the town is very run down. The Dome really is a dump and not a desirable place for a recruit to get excited about (a real understatement). The University does offer a good education, however, so do many other more appealing places to play football. How does Babers keep his job?


  34. It’s really quite amazing that Pitt is even in the conversation for the best transfer QB available. This is a good sign that Pitt’s national image is getting better. But a regression to 7-5 or even 8-4 next year would destroy any benefit gained from this year. One year won’t define the program long term.


  35. All the tea leaves are indicating PITT will use the portal for their next QB. OK, but I really want to see what Davis Beville can do. It’s hard to compete for a starting job with someone who has that kind of game experience.


  36. I don’t think you will see Beville much in the Peach Bowl either unless Patti either stinks or Pitt’s blowing out MSU in the second half. If Slovis commits to Pitt all 3 QB’s(Patti, Beville and Yellen) could go the transfer route. Yarnell will stick around with multiple years of eligibility available left.


    1. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth if Slovis commits today and our current QB group jumps to the portal before the Peach Bowl.

      Yarnell, (2) walk-ons and Jared Wayne would be our options for Hotlanta.

      A 2-0 score then comes into play. How could you not watch this game then if you are a Pitt fan?


  37. Any one seeing anything being reported on Pitt football practices for the bowl game?

    Anything in the evening news in Pittsburgh or in the newspapers?

    Or are the gates locked on the South Side facilities to where no one in Pittsburgh cares?

    I’d like to hear how our (3) RB’s are doing, that Jordan “Air” Addison is looking forward to breaking in a new QB and the D is healthy and ready to win this ball game.

    At the very least, show us some Aussie punts and that Scarton us practicing his kicks…

    Every night in Central PA I hear how great of a coach Franklinstein is and how he is preparing his team for their bowl matchup. Players are interviewed and a buzz for their cult is being created for next season already.

    I’m really glad the Partridge Family is staying in Pittsburgh.


  38. A few more thoughts about 2022 QB. I have to say I never saw 2021 KP coming. Four ok ish years with the occasional flash and flop. Then whoosh, straight up like a stomp rocket! (Sort of saw it coming in the 2020 GT game.) Half the season I was waiting for the crash and burn. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. Then after the Clemson game, I started believing with an odd sort of calm that we would win every game. Had the Old POVers collectively made a Faustian bargain just to recapture that ephemeral bubble of success that floated away so many years ago? Ok, there was an element of plain old hard work with Whipple, “luck” of a sort that Covid bought another year, and a bit more luck in that the rise of Addison more than made up for all the WR injuries. But reality is, we have no idea whether Patti, Beville, Yellen, Slovis or someone else will take off like a five star rocket or give us the kind of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Clemson and Miami and so many programs Including USC got from their top gun QB. So yes, I’d like to have had one more ride feeling invincible with Kenny at the helm, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing what emerges from this Peach bowl. I’ve got a good feeling about our program. I feel like they can find a way to own the costal and to have a puncher’s chance at the ACC championship almost every year.

    aka LA Panther CAS ‘73.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. I believe last week was a no practice week because of students finals.

    Max Brown was bad until his big game against a crappy 1-11 Rice team which gave up an average of 36 ppg on defense that season. Then he played an average game against SYR before his injury.

    Not a good choice for us really.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. As for what’s the point of the article, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. On the other hand isn’t it fun to remember how terrible it felt after the Sun Bowl, which then makes how wonderful it feels to win the ACC even better.

    Transfer portal QB or not, I hope it’s a legitimate QB contest in spring practice, since I think Beville and Yellen, and even Yarnell deserve a legitimate shot at the starting QB job. Sorry, but Patti feels like a one-trick QB . . . . good runner mediocre arm. Pretty sure we’ll see that play out in the bowl game.

    BTW, the bride and I are heading to Hotlanta for the game, does anyone know if there’s a bar where we can find like-minded fans in royal blue and gold?


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