Pitt came out and again served notice to the Big East that it can’t be counted out in the hunt for the Big East Championship, beating Rutgers 41-21 at home.
The first half was a perfect example of how a less talented team can win games. Rutgers was thoroughly dominated in the box score, but Pitt’s mistakes and some aggressive play by the Scarlet Knights kept them in the game. They came up with a tipped interception while Pitt was deep in Rutgers territory and had a blocked punt, which they recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Pitt led Rutgers in passing 157-57 and rushing 90-36, but the game was tied at halftime.
But in the end, Pitt showed what a team with superior athletes can do. WR Jon Baldwin had another breakout game -five catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Dion Lewis and Ray Graham combined for 186 total yards and two touchdowns. Lewis had 130 yards for his first 100-yard game of the season. Pitt had too much NFL-level talent on the field, and it showed.
And I say it every week, but Tino Sunseri continues to improve. Today he was 21 for 27 with 307 yards and three touchdowns. The lone interception he threw was a tipped ball and looked like it was caused by a bit of miscommunication between he and RB Graham on a short pass. Tino also showed some improvement on the deep ball connecting a few times with Baldwin. This guy is moving past the realm of good into ‘very good.’
And it wasn’t only on offense. You could argue that the defense played just as well. The team constantly had QB Chas Dodd constantly on the run. Pitt registered seven sacks and Brandon Lindsey had three while Jabaal Sheard had two. The team also forced a fumble and had an interception.
Pitt even looked much better on the penalties front, committing only four for 20 yards.
The team is starting to look like the team they were supposed to be. And that’s bad news for the rest of the Big East.