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Utah Vs. Pitt: Panthers Die Slow Death In Homecoming Debacle

Pitt's special teams only positive in a lackluster homecoming effort.

Pitt fans may not have been expecting a win on Saturday against Utah, but it's hard to imagine they expected this. The wheels have come off the track and a once-promising season is now looking more like a rebuilding one.

In the worst display of offensive ineptitude seen this year, Pitt failed to score any offensive points in its 26-14 defeat at the hands of the Utes. To say the Panthers' offense was abysmal would be a gross understatement. On top of that, the game plan to defeat Utah may have been even worse.

Ray Graham, one of the top rushers in the nation, ended up with a total of only 12 carries for 46 yards. Along with his three receptions, Graham had only 15 touches in the game - approximately half of what head coach Todd Graham has previously used as a benchmark.

Sometimes, the speed and score of a game will dictate what a team can do on offense, but that wasn't the case here. Had Pitt been down in the entire game by a large margin, the excuse could have been made that more pass plays were needed. But the Panthers led in a large part of the game thanks to two special teams touchdowns and even when behind in the second half, the score was close enough that Graham could have received significantly more carries.

To not utilize one of the best offensive players in the country in a close game throughout is inexcusable. Todd Graham may point to the fact that Utah's defense was keyed in on the rusher, but eventually (as he showed on a few occasions), Ray Graham is bound to break through with a nice gain. Pitt simply showed no faith in the rushing game, and that made little sense because the passing game was horrendous.

Tino Sunseri struggled for a second straight game and we also got a heavy dose of Trey Anderson. Unfortunately for Pitt, neither was very good. Check that - neither was any good. Sunseri was only 4-for-11 for 38 yards and a lost fumble, and Trey Anderson was 5-for-19 for 12 yards and two interceptions. Anderson had the final cracks at trying to bring home a win as Pitt was within five points on their final two drives, but those ended in a turnovers on downs and interception. It's hard for the team to get behind either when Todd Graham himself doesn't even know what to do at that position.

If you need any indication of just how badly Pitt's passing game struggled, look no further to the fact that Devin Street and Mike Shanahan, the Panthers' two top receivers, failed to catch a single ball.

The problem for Pitt is that there's no end in sight on offense. The team is clearly struggling right now and with few options at quarterback. Anthony Gonzalez, who looked like the backup coming out of the spring, has been moved to the H-back (where, by the way, he's made little impact). Mark Myers is still there as a third quarterback, but if he hasn't played yet, it likely means he's nowhere near being ready to play.

The good news (well, other than that basketball season is just around the corner) is that Pitt gets some extra time off until their next game on October 26 against UConn.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.