The Pitt Panthers start the high-octane era under Todd Graham this Saturday, September 3rd, at Heinz Field. Taking on the Panthers, will be the Buffalo Bulls of the Mid-American Conference. Buffalo struggled last year as they went 2-10 win their loan wins coming against Bowling Green and Rhode Island. Pitt looks to put up points galore against the Bulls and show the fans what their new look offense is all about. On paper, it looks to be a lock that the Panthers will win against a lesser opponent, but fans and players alike, remember what happened just a few years ago.
“A few years ago we saw what happened when our focus wasn’t there when we lost to Bowling Green. All of the games are important to win. I want to go undefeated, that’s the goal. We want to win them all,” senior defensive standout Brandon Lindsey told me earlier this year.
With the group in tow, I don’t see focus being a problem at all.
Keys to winning-
1. Tino Sunseri – Sunseri enters his second year as the Panther’s starting quarterback. Sunseri had an up and down year last season and is looking to prove the doubters wrong this year. With the transformation to a no-huddle offense from the pro-style, look for Sunseri to improve dramatically as Pitt spreads out the field.
2. Get up early – When a team like Pitt plays a lesser team like Buffalo, it’s important to score early and often. Buffalo comes into this game looking to pull an Appalachian State type upset in the opening week, but if the Panthers can find paydirt to start the game, the momentum will swing the way of the home team.
3. Contain Marcus Rivers – The senior wide receiver led the Bulls is receiving last year with 50 receptions for 690 yards and 5 touchdowns, all which led the team. Rivers is the Bulls big playmaker and knows how to get the job down. He was a member of the 2008 team which won the MAC championship before losing to UConn in the International Bowl. Look for seniors Buddy Jackson and Antwuan Reed to contain Rivers throughout the game.
While the real display of the new brand of Pitt won’t be challenged until week 3, this will be a good tune up game for Pitt to work out the kinks. Look for Pitt to dominate the action, 48-17.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com