Tino Sunseri struggled. Tell us something we didn’t know. Sunseri went 12-23 for 137 yards and one interception in Pittsburgh’s 21-20 loss to West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl.
Not to beat the subject to death because he has always been heavily criticized in Pittsburgh, but it must be pointed out. The Panthers held a 36-23 time of possession margin, were +2 in turnovers and +46 in rushing, but there was one position they got defeated in – quarterback.
Sunseri held onto the football longer than he should have about a billion times, consistently causing the Panthers to settle for field goals, lose valuable field position and disallowing the Panthers to grasp momentum.
West Virginia muffed and got hit on punts and both times the Panthers jumped on the ball in Mountaineers’ territory. Six points were scored from Sunseri and the pathetic “high-octane” offense. Sunseri and the Panthers offense were 4-20 on third downs. About a third of those missed opportunities came from sacks.
Flip the script and Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith was good enough to get the victory. He went 22-31 for 244 yards and one crucial touchdown. He wasn’t great, but he played like an experienced quarterback by making as many plays as possible.
This game was horrible to be honest with you. It was mistake-after-mistake from both teams. From Sunseri holding onto the ball to West Virginia running out of bounds when Pitt had no timeouts with two minutes to play – it was pathetic.
It was a glaring example of how awful the Big East Conference truly is. These two teams were picked No. 1 and No. 2 in the preseason rankings. Pittsburgh is officially eliminated from contention after their third loss in the Big East and sixth loss of the season. West Virginia still needs help from Louisville. Yes, 7-5 Louisville – the same team that lost to 7-4 Florida International and 5-6 Marshall.
What is the most discouraging point in this equation is the fact that the Big East HAS to have a team to represent them in a BCS Bowl game.
Blowing up the conference in football can’t come soon enough.