UC-Pitt Rock `N Roll Party|
Nov. 23, 2008
(12:04 a.m.): Well, things got crazy on the field afterward. I don’t know if you saw it or if you were part of it or if you were getting trampled by it, but damn, that was quite a show in the final few seconds of the game. Fans running on the field, fans running back off, the goal post coming down, the goal post going back up, the final play where people were on the turf as Pitt tried to lateral its way to a last-second touchdown. The craziest scene I’ve ever seen/covered was a few years back when Georgia beat Tennessee at home for the first time in forever. Fans rushed the field with about 1:14 to play, and it was just insanity. Tonight reminded me of that. I’m just glad I didn’t get trampled.
The highlight of the night for me was watching one of the cheerleaders run onto the field, and almost like a cartoon character who was trying stop her momentum, she stopped and went the other way. I can’t do it justice with the written word, but if you see me around, ask me to do the impression. The look of panic on her face was absolutely hi-larious. Hell of a scene, though (if you weren’t here, oranges filled the air at least 20 minutes after the game was complete).
“It was awesome; it was crazy,” Connor Barwin said. “I didn’t even make it back to the locker room to hear what coach Kelly said. I was surrounded by people. I couldn’t even get back. People wanted pictures, to shake your hand. It was awesome.”
And nutritious, apparently.
“I picked up (an orange) and ate it,” DeAngelo Smith said. “It tasted pretty good.”
BK, though, provided a voice of reason.
“The way I look at it, for me as the head coach here, you don’t enjoy the ride until you get there,” he said. “We want to get to the Orange Bowl. We want to get to that destination. You don’t enjoy it until you get there. I’m going to get up early tomorrow and start working on Syracuse. We have plenty of time to enjoy it later.”
“One of the things that we thought he needed to do was keep his eyes downfield,” BK said. “Sometimes a younger quarterback will lose his vision, look down, lose the coverage, lose the receivers. He did a tremendous job of keeping his eyes downfield and sensing and feeling the pressure. As he’s become more comfortable in the spread offense, he knows how he’s protected. He knows where he needs to look. He’s got a pretty good understanding of where our guys are. We could have thrown for as many yards as we wanted if we kept throwing the football.”
Pike, as he likes to do, credited his offensive line. And as patchy as it was early in the game, the line really played well the final half of the game. Pike’s explanation:
“Coming into the game, we had a gameplan for everything they were going to do,” Pike said. “They were coming off a bye week so they were going to have a bunch of different answers for us. The biggest thing was they were anticipating our snap count real well and they were able to get off the line and almost be upfield before I was getting the ball in my hands. We went through a couple different options with that, as far as delaying a little bit on the snap. It helped with them not being able to pin their ears back. And it helped with the quarterback runs and regular runs to keep them off balance.”
Pike also led the team in rushing with 33 yards on nine carries. Normally, that’s not a great thing, but tonight it worked.
“We moved Stull a lot,” BK said. “We got him to move his feet. That was so important. When he sets his feet, he can rip the ball down the field and he’s got great receivers that can go up and get it. The key for us was to keep McCoy under wraps. He didn’t hurt us until the end.”
BK said Mickens will be reevaluated Monday and his status for Syracuse is questionable.
The bad stuff: Not too much stuff to pick from. The 41-yard touchdown pass from Stull to Dorin Dickerson with 1:22 to play that cut the lead to seven won’t make the UC highlight package. The running game wasn’t all that great. But other than that, not too much to complain about.
The semi-important stuff: Actually, this was pretty important – how the defense stopped Pitt after Mardy Gilyard’s first-quarter kickoff return fumble gave the Panthers possession at the Bearcats 34. “That was a huge momentum turn for us,” BK said. “If Pitt goes in there up 14-0, our guys are pressing a little bit.”