Sunday, November 14, 2004

Pitt 41, ND 38

Say what you want about this game. I'm just sick to my stomach for these seniors - on the field and off.

Quarterback: It was a decent day for Brady Quinn, all things considered. Quinn wen 15-26 (57.7%) for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had two interceptions - one his fault (thrown into traffic) and one not (tipped). He was sacked only once and had a key scramble late in the game.

Running Back: Well, when I'm wrong, it's not always a bad thing. Ryan Grant and Marcus Wilson had average days - 48 and 6 yards respectively. But, Darius Walker proved that Pitt still has no run defense. Walker had 112 yards and 2 TDs, and it looks like his ability to find the holes has returned.

Fullback: Josh Schmidt had a catch for 16 yards. Where have he and his great hands been all season? Rashon Powers-Neal also had a TD catch on a well-run play.

Receiver: OK, Matt Shelton was open across the seam for the entire first half - enough for 128 yards and a TD. I understand the running game was going well, but you still have to expect more than two catches for 10 yards from your leading receiver (Rhema McKnight). Maurice Stovall did add 23 yards and a TD on two catches.

Tight End: Anthony Fasano once again showed flashes of future greatness with 3 catches for 27 yards. Unfortunately, he and the other 5 tight ends showed no other flashes of present greatness, as this was the only productivity from that position on Saturday.

O-Line: 179 yards on the ground and only one sack against a team that likes to get in the backfield. Sounds like a decent day to me.

D-Line: Well, the D-Line got into the backfield. But, that can be a problem with a mobile QB - once the big guys get near him, he can just run around them.

Linebacker: Well, I would tell you what happened, but apparently didn't feel like posting the defensive numbers with the rest of the stats. Maybe they were trying to make a statement?

Safety: Again, no numbers, but I will point this out. Other than that fumbled snap, Pittsburgh flat out did not turn the ball over. That's how you win ballgames.

Cornerback: Sometimes I'll make guesses, then be completely right, and it will scare me. And, sometimes I'll be completely right and hate myself for it. In the first half, the secondary played a normal defense, and Greg Lee ran all over them. In the second half, they bracketed Lee, and the backs and tight end Erik Gill ran all over the Irish.

Kicker: DJ hit a 45 yarder in a key situation, which is all you could ask him to do. Apparently, he's also the only guy who can tackle on kickoff coverage, something he no doubt learned from Nick Setta.

Punter: DJ was once again consistent and respectable. Four punts, 3 inside the 20, with a long of 51 and an average of 42.

Kick Returner: Hey, we've finally found a kick returner - and a use for Carlos Campbell! What, we only have one game left in the season? Crap.

Punt Returner: There isn't a Notre Dame fan, player, or coach who wasn't trying to will Carlyle Holiday across the goal line on that one kick return. It was a bittersweet end for Carlyle - he shined one last time, but the team couldn't pull through.

Special Teams: They blocked well and they held Pitt to respectible returns. But, they can't do everything.