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Panthers Look To Rebound Against Notre Dame

Posted By Michael Waterloo On Sep 20 2011 @ 8:13 pm In Pittsburgh | 1 Comment

“Who is Iowa anyway? Never heard of em”

Those were the words spoken by Pitt wide receiver Devin Street via his Twitter account Friday night before Pitt took on Iowa.  After the fourth quarter collapse by Pitt, I think Street and the rest of the Panthers know exactly who the Iowa Hawkeyes are.

Pitt (2-1) led Iowa (2-1) 27-10 going into the fourth quarter before Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg led the Hawkeyes to the biggest comeback in school history.  Vandenberg threw for 162 of his 399 yards in the fourth quarter en route to a 31-27 victory.  Redshirt junior Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri threw for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns and junior running back Ray Graham (the nation’s leading rusher going into the game) led the rushing attack for the Panthers with 97 yards on the ground.

Street did his best to back up his words with 7 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.  Unfortunately, the defense played with less intensity in the fourth quarter than they did in the previous three according to head coach Todd Graham.  Redshirt senior Max Gruder led the Panthers defensively with 14 combined tackles.

The loss to the Hawkeyes stunned a lot of fans who seemingly thought the game was over.

“In all honesty, I was watching the game, but seeing how it was 24-3, I changed the channel to Penn State and Temple because I assumed Pitt won.  I turned the game back on and I was in utter shock at the turn of events that took place,” Clarion University sophomore Ryan Troupe said.

While the loss was a tough one to swallow for Pitt fans, it is good news that the offense put points on the board against a tough Iowa team.  In their first two games against Buffalo and Maine respectively, the Panthers took awhile to get going and it didn’t look as if Tino Sunseri had a total grasp on the offense.  While Sunseri did silence some critics with his performance Saturday, not all are sold on him.

“Tino doesn’t fit the role of the ‘high-octane’ system that coach Graham wants to run.  I feel they should give quarterback Anthony Gonzalez a shot to run the team if they lose to Notre Dame this weekend,” Troupe added.

With the tough loss, how will Pitt come out against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (1-2) this Saturday at Heinz Field (12:00 p.m.)?  Notre Dame started off the season ranked #16 in the nation, before losing to University of South Florida and a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Michigan.  However, they came to play last weekend in an upset against Michigan State.

“Notre Dame is struggling just as much as Pitt this season, so I think it will be a pretty close game,” Clarion University sophomore Curtis Jones said.

Unless Pitt gets off to an early start and is able to contain Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees, I think Pitt is in for a long game Saturday afternoon.  Look for the fans to be screaming for a change at quarterback for Trey Anderson or Gonzalez as the Panthers fall to the Fighting Irish, 35-17.

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