I said that I just don't see us winning the game. I was wrong. The team played great.
On offense Stull made great key throws. Baldwin was given a chance to show what he can do and he certainly came through. Kinder is Kinder. He is consistent game in and game out, we are very lucky to have a wide receiver like him around. Dorin had a nice end around and gave us a critical 3rd down conversion. Lastly I want to mention Oderick Turner. I have been one of his biggest critics and was very happy to hear that he was going to have limited playing time due to his poor play. He, like the rest of the team proved me wrong. He had great catches, fought for yards, and looked like a completely different player. I said that his freshman year showed what it took for him to play well. He is the type of guy that needs to feel pressured to play well. Last year and this year he had one of the starting spots just handed to him and he didn't produce. This game he had to fight with Porter, McGee, and Baldwin for time and he showed that he can be a good player when he wants to be.
Shady deserves a paragraph all to himself and I'm sure he'll get full columns about the way he played today. The fumble he had early on really killed our momentum at a critical time. Instead of dwelling on that and pulling out some "Poor-me" attitude, he went back out there more determined than ever and played the like the back we saw last year. He carried this team tonight. He fought for the hard yards and did what it took to convert third downs. Shady was the all star and he deserves major credit for this win.
The defense did a great job today as well. Minus that drive where USF ran all over us, they played a great game. The line looked like the guys we hyped up all season. The linebackers were in position all game long. McKillop had 14 tackles today and gave the Panthers something to brag about as our All-American linebacker played like an All-American.
Conor Lee should get Big East honors again. He is the most clutch kicker we have ever had since I've followed Pitt football. When we talk all time great Pitt special teams players, Conor Lee and Andy Lee will be the top two that always come to mind.
The main people though who deserve some praise is the coaching staff. This is the type of game that fans were calling for all season. A game plan like today's would have beaten Bowling Green, and would have allowed for 14 or more point victories against Iowa and Syracuse. I don't know if Cavanaugh called the plays he wanted or if Wannstedt wanted an open, unconventional, unpredictable offense. Whatever the case, it worked and we need to stick with it. Phil Bennett also showed the defense I thought we were getting when he was hired this off season. Our blitz packages were effective all game long. We can't play afraid anymore. We know that when we take chances we will be successful and we will win.
Overall it was the best play calling we have seen from this staff ever. They trusted the players, and the players came up big when they had to. Kudos to everyone.
Like I said before, I was wrong, I am glad I was wrong, and I hope you all let me know that I was wrong.