There are defining moments in every team’s season and this loss is certainly one of them for Pitt this year. Is it a program killer? No, of course not. It's not even all that big in the grand scheme of things for Pitt this season. I’ve long maintained that teams like Pitt that have no realistic shot (right now, anyway) to win a national championship need to win their conference. This was an out of conference loss, so it’s not disastrous.
That said, this was a total and utter collapse – there’s no other way to put it.
Pitt held a three-touchdown lead in the second half … something that should guarantee victory. Instead, the team did everything it possibly could to hand the game away and that’s exactly what happened.
The biggest problem, of course, was Pitt’s porous pass defense. Allowing James Vandenberg, an average quarterback, to throw for more than 400 yards is bad enough. But to allow him to complete pass after pass to wide open receivers late in the game is akin to repeatedly striking your face with a hammer and doing nothing about it.
Shame on the players for this loss and worse yet, shame on the coaching staff for failing to adjust to do anything about it. If Todd Graham wants to install accountability at Pitt, maybe he should start with his own staff. The defensive coaches did a horrible job in this one.
We’ll have more on this nightmare over at Cardiac Hill, SB Nation’s Pitt blog.