Maine Vs. Pitt: Panthers Again Unimpressive, Winning 35-29

Todd Graham knows the Panthers have plenty to work on in game against the Black Bears.

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Maine Vs. Pitt Football: Todd Graham Says Tino Sunseri Starter; No Quarterback Controversy

With the insertion of Trey Anderson in the fourth quarter, there was lots of speculation about Todd Graham’s decision at quarterback for the game next weekend at Iowa. Graham squashed any notion of a controversy, declaring Tino Sunseri as his starter:

“In all honesty the last interception that Tino threw was on us [the coaching staff],” Graham said. “We planned on putting Trey in anyway, it wasn’t that I pulled Tino, it was a planned deal, we were going to play [Anderson] anyway. I still have 100 percent belief in Tino and like I told you at the beginning of the year, he has a very difficult job, he has a lot on his plate and we’ve got to execute better at that position.

“But Tino is our quarterback and will be next week and we will move forward from there. I didn’t want to come out of this week, playing against an opponent we should totally dominate, and not get another quarterback any reps.”

I went over this on the Cardiac Hill blog, but I’m not sure this issue is dead. It may be for next weekend, but I think Tino will have a shorter leash.

Sure, Graham may have wanted Anderson to get some playing time, but the simple fact is that Tino didn’t play very well in the Maine game. It’s hard to be too rough on him because the offensive line didn’t help, constantly allowing him to be pressured. But the two interceptions were both poor throws into covered receivers and Pitt can’t afford those types of mistakes against better teams.

Anderson may not start next week, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play if Tino struggles.

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Maine Vs. Pitt Score: Panthers Struggle Again In Victory

Pitt won again to get to 2-0 on the season, but like last week, it was an extremely unconvincing win. The Panthers won 35-29, but there are going to be (and rightfully so) some important questions that arise this week.

The big storyline of the game isn’t so much that Trey Anderson got into the game, it was the time that he did. Head coach Todd Graham inserted Anderson on the next drive after Tino Sunseri’s second interception of the game. Sunseri started off fine and had a very good first quarter, helping Pitt to two scoring drives. But it went downhill after that as Tino went on to throw those two picks and really had trouble moving the ball much of the game.

Anderson responded in the way that he needed to. True, we didn’t see all that much from him as he converted on only a few passes, but he didn’t make mistakes and completed a big first down throw. So is there a full-blown quarterback controversy? Too early to tell, but it’s clear that Anderson could definitely be in the mix. Graham’s ‘problem’ is that Pitt goes on the road next week against a solid Iowa team, so I’m not sure if he’ll trust Anderson (who is a true freshman walk-on) with the keys to the car in that environment. Pitt’s season, though, doesn’t get much easier, so there isn’t going to be a chance at a real warm-up game against an easy opponent. One scenario we may see is that Tino gets the start, but with a short leash.

The high octane offense was, in my opinion, even worse than last week. They scored the same amount of points, but Pitt had unbelievable field position, starting in Maine territory an astounding four times, near midfield another time, and on their own 40-yard line once. To come away with 35 points in what is supposed to be a high-scoring offense is a bit of a joke … there’s just no other way to say it. Add in the fact that Maine is probably not as good as Buffalo and it looks even worse.

Pitt was again scored upon by a team moving the ball on short pass plays. At some point, the corners are going to need to move up and the linebackers will need to make more plays in pass coverage. Frankly, I’m surprised that Maine got away from that formula at times as it worked throughout the game.

Lastly, the Kevin Harper situation is something we’ll have to watch. He made two field goals, but missed a makeable one from 39 yards in the fourth quarter as well as an extra point after Pitt’s first touchdown. I really hate to say it since we’re only two games in, but this could be an ongoing problem this year. He’s now 2-5 on the season in field goals and already has the missed extra point to boot (pun intended). He’s got plenty of leg, but if Pitt needs to make a 30-yarder to win a game down the road, a lot of fans are going to be extremely nervous.

The game in a nutshell is that both the Panthers’ offense and defense struggled even more than last week and with the opponents about to get more difficult, that doesn’t bode well.

Check out SB Nation blog Cardiac Hill for more game analysis.

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Maine Vs. Pitt Score: Panthers Beat Black Bears By A Touchdown

The Pitt Panthers beat Maine by a score of 35-29 Saturday, and while the game wasn’t quite as close as the score indicated (Maine scored two touchdowns in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the game), the Panthers surely have to be alarmed at their performance against a lower-quality opponent.

Maine quarterback Warren Smith passed for 334 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. A lot of that production came in the second half with Pitt ahead, but still. Derek Buttles had 148 yards receiving for Maine. Pitt’s Tino Sunseri, on the other hand, was frustrating, going 21-for-35 for 224 yards and two interceptions.

Ray Graham rushed for 121 yards and had three touchdowns for the Panthers, and the Panthers did keep the Maine running game from being a factor, as the Black Bears had just 37 yards on the ground.

For more on the Pitt Panthers, check out Cardiac Hill. Anson Whaley will have more on the game later here at SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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Maine Vs. Pitt: Panthers Get Final Tune-Up Before Iowa Game

Todd Graham knows the Panthers have plenty to work on in game against the Black Bears.

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