I have no words to explain the debacle of blowing a 14 point lead against NC State, so I felt it best to leave the title blank.
Pitt looked sharp once again on offense. True, they did struggle some in the 2nd half and did nothing after they went up by 14. But 31 points should be enough to win against a mediocre team.
Yes, I'm not feeling terribly gracious about this one. It seemed like Pitt really had the game under control. They were the better team in the first half and went up by 14 in the second half. After that, it just seemed like they stopped playing.
I'm not going to say NC State is a bad team, but Pitt certainly should have wrapped that game up. Instead of going full throttle when they went up by 14, they allowed NC State back into the game with poor defensive play. And this one wasn't all on the secondary - NC State had a nice effort running the ball, rushing for over 200 yards. Yes, I'm sure they were tired after Pitt was unable to do virtually nothing offensively after taking a two-touchdown lead, but you can't allow three consecutive touchdowns to end a game. Pitt's calling card on defense has always been 'bend, but don't break.' Make some plays on defense and keep teams from scoring while allowing them to move down the field. Give up a field goal, not a touchdown. 21 unanswered points is unacceptable.
The good news for Pitt fans is that this wasn't a conference game and a conference championship/BCS Bowl is very much alive. The bad news is that it looks like the defense has serious issues and has a short week to solve them, playing another road game, at Louisville, on Friday.
One last thing - I don't want to hear anyone pinning this loss on Bill Stull or Dave Wannstedt. Stull played well - leading the offense to 31 points is about all you can ask of him. Yes, he did not play a perfect game, but he is what he is - a solid quarterback who is best at managing games. He did that extremely well. Similarly, I don't blame Wannstedt or the defensive coaches. There were so many missed tackles and guys in the secondary getting burnt that it made my head spin. This one is solely on the defense in my opinion.
Sure, you can argue that Pitt should have scored when they recovered the ball on the 8-yard line. And yes, the offense has to score in that situation. But, again, I think you've got to win that game when you score 31 points.