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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Pitt 17, Syracuse 16

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to kickoff …

Game: Pitt (5-5, 2-4 ACC) vs. Syracuse (5-5, 3-3 ACC)

Time: 12:32 p.m.

Site: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.

TV, radio: WTAE-TV (local), ACC Network (national), ESPN3 (Internet), 93.7 The Fan, Pitt IMG Sports Network

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Pitt page. Jerry DiPaola is on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Drew71 says:

    Exactly the type of game pitt usually loses.

    Yes. Just like the last game, too.

  2. Drew71 says:

    Then watch. After losing to North Carolina and Syracuse, their pattern would be to pull the upset against Miami to become bowl eligible.

    Then get trounced in a December 17th bowl on ESPN 9 by a directional school from the Middle Mountain Western Desert Scholastic Conference playing a spread version of the Single Wing.

  3. Drew71 says:

    If I cared, I’d sigh now.

    Instead of laugh.

  4. Drew71 says:

    I’m sure Arriba cares.

    Sick freak.

  5. JoeyBats says:

    A.D. …..Steve P …..has this annual scenario “scripted” into his contract….




    …….get ready, cause HERE WE COME !!!

  6. Drew71 says:

    Ok. I’m done.

    Branching out and hitting the beach.

    81 / 66

  7. 21sthebest says:

    36/20. Gonna try to mow the leaves one last time.

  8. 21sthebest says:

    Michael Haywood’s lawsuit against Pitt has nene settled. Terms not disclosed.

  9. 21sthebest says:

    been settled.

    Anyone know why my avatar shows up when I’m on a PC but not from a mobile device?

  10. Drew71 says:

    Just like pitt.

    You don’t show up when you should.

  11. JohninOshkosh says:

    It happens to me, as well. I’m on my laptop now and it appears. My theory is that my gravatar account was set up under one of my e-mail accounts (which I use for the blog) but my smart phone is synced with a different e-mail account.

    That may account, so to speak, for it.

  12. 21sthebest says:

    Then we should call them sometimes smart phones.

  13. Good theory. It is actual fact. If you pull up your Gravatar account, it should show any e-mails you use and you can hook a different avatar to each one if you like.

  14. JohninOshkosh says:

    I hope Pitt shows up today and gets the “W”. It is important that they get bowl eligible. A bowl would mean additional organized practiced time. It may help a bit with recruiting. More opportunity to have television exposure. And, of course, more money for the program and conference.

    Always liked to see Syracuse get beat, especially since half of ESPN reporters and staff, it seems, went there.

    Glad the game is on television on here.

    BTW, 23/8 here.

  15. 21sthebest says:

    Thanks Lucky. Let’s see if this works.

  16. 21sthebest says:


  17. Drew71 says:

    Enjoy it. Probably the only victory we’ll see on the pitt thread.

  18. Drew71 says:

    I hope that’s celcius, Osh*tIt’sKoldKosh

  19. If Pitt wins, the Panthers will have once again become just barely bowl eligible, which is, I suppose, better than nothing. Anyhow, Malkin finally scored one last night, and Sidney scored the winning goal and the Pens beat the Rangers. Cheers to that anyhow!

  20. JohninOshkosh says:

    Drew’s in good form this morning. Must be his warm weather.

  21. Brandie says:

    That needs to change! I want my avatar back on my tablet!

  22. 21sthebest says:

    Snarky. Don’t change.

  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    “the game is on television on here.”

    Me talk pretty one day.

  24. Drew71 says:

    It won’t last. Only getting up to 71 tomorrow.

    Where’s my old parka when I need it?

  25. Drew71 says:


  26. The poodle uses it for a blanket.

  27. I’ve just heard that Todd Graham now says it was a mistake for him to have come to Pittsburgh, as if we needed to hear anything else from that SOB ever again.

  28. Dom says:

    Can you not see it?

  29. Thundercrack says:

    Did it take him this long to figure that out. I’m sure his wife told him that a long time ago.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    I still cannot get on to the blog via the Trib’s mobile app.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Thanks for the softball but that’s too easy.

  32. Sidney says that maybe the Pens shouldn’t have won last night but nonetheless, they won a much needed game, to say the least.

  33. Sarah says:

    They won in spite of
    Poor discipline

    Entertaining no doubt but if they try that in April they’re in trouble.

  34. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think they need to throw more bubble screens. Good Lord.

  35. Milo Hamilton says:

    A freshman has to call timeout to keep them from an illegal formation penalty. Game 11 and they don’t know where to line up.

  36. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Was thinking the same thing. 2 time outs on a drive in the 1st quarter is clear sign of poor coaching.

  37. J Walter Weatherman says:

    wow … great “block nobody at the goal line” play to lose 10+ yards.

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    1st and goal at the 2, refuse to run the ball once, and end up with a 42 yard field goal attempt.

  39. J Walter Weatherman says:

    The 2013 Pitt Panthers football in a nutshell.

  40. Drew71 says:

    First and goal on the Syracuse three after driving 70 yards, with some key in your face runs.


    Field goal

    No commentary necessary.

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    The last 30 years of Pitt football in a nutshell. :)

  42. Milo Hamilton says:

    When did Cardinal Wuerl buy North Catholic High School ?

  43. J Walter Weatherman says:

    to say Pitt’s o-line is a disaster would be an insult to disasters.

  44. Milo Hamilton says:

    They decided not to practice offense this week. didn’t they ?

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    But you’ve got to give this Syracuse defense credit. They only gave up 59 points last week.

  46. Milo Hamilton says:

    The bowls have voted & decided not to take the winner either.

  47. J Walter Weatherman says:

    It’s sad to see the greatness of Aaron Donald overshadowed by the ineptitude of the rest of the team.

    Imagine what this defense is going to be like without Donald and Hendricks next year. Now that is truly depressing.

  48. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Nice effort by Gordon on that tipped ball. not.

  49. Pat4Pgh says:

    Worst playcalling I have seem in a long time!
    Trying to give PC thebenefit of the doubt, but…….it is soooo hard to do so watching the play the last two weeks

  50. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the bowl scouts have left the building!

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    Their quarterback is getting killed. They’ve handed the ball to their running backs a total of 7 times. Any one see a correlation here ?

  52. J Walter Weatherman says:

    james connor sees the correlation.

  53. JRay3 says:

    Tough crowd today, Panthers playing with a ravaged o-line, Street only playing two plays before being lost for game. Defense battling after first Syracuse drive.

    Between all the coaching changes a very poor recruiting class in Graham’s one year, about 20 holdovers from the Wanstedt era and only one PC recruiting class that has seen quite a few major contributions from true freshman like Boyd, Connor, Orndoff, Blewitt, Ibrahim, Howard, Johnson I would say PC is doing all he can with a bare cupboard.

    Boyd and Connor both PC recruits putting SU on their heels as Panthers stringing another nice drive together, time to finish it off and put 7 on the board.

  54. JRay3 says:

    TD Pitt as Garner gives a great individual effort to reach across goal line and Panthers with 10 unanswered take their first lead of the game.

    Go Pitt!

  55. theplanisworking says:


  56. theplanisworking says:

    Einstein’s definition of insanity rules on this blog today.

    If you expect a different result after doing (seeing) the same thing over and over, well…………………………..

  57. Milo Hamilton says:

    It is great to “see” you again #3. Hope all is well with you & yours.

  58. J Walter Weatherman says:

    That was a nice drive. Connor and Boyd playing very well. Savage playing as good as can be expected, given that fact that he gets hit nearly every time he drops back to pass.

    They have some nice playmakers on offense. The problem is that they are mostly neutralized by an atrocious O-line. Until that is fixed, their offense will just be average.

  59. Milo Hamilton says:

    I do not expect a different result. Just reserve the right to _____ about it ! :)

  60. theplanisworking says:


    Great line, Milo !

  61. JRay3 says:

    Doing well thanks…hope your football season went well, I’m sure it is nice to get your Friday’s back.

    Now for the Buccos to give us some positive winter news. Always good to see you as well.

  62. Milo Hamilton says:


  63. JRay3 says:

    After getting a defensive stop and chance to run out halftime clock a turnover there is _____

    I don’t think I can find an acceptable word to use in a family blog. Need to hold this debacle to three.

  64. Milo Hamilton says:

    This team’s special teams are an abomination. Have been all year.

  65. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Is there any reasonable explanation why Boyd isn’t returning punts?

    What a well-played half of football by both teams.

  66. JRay3 says:

    Whew, really fortunate there….all considering, will take the one point lead into half. Going to have win it in final 30 minutes.

  67. Milo Hamilton says:

    This not having a special teams coach & having grad assistants handle it seems like a good idea to me.

  68. theplanisworking says:

    They are not special at all.

  69. Milo Hamilton says:

    The grad assistants that run the special teams must not think it’s a good idea.

  70. J Walter Weatherman says:

    hmmm, I don’t suppose you can “fire” grad assistants. Maybe give them an F?

  71. JohninOshkosh says:

    There are three essential elements to a football team: offense, defense and special teams. All are equally important to the success of a team.

  72. Milo Hamilton says:

    Are you at all concerned about the Golden Gophers today ? It’s been so long I think they need a GPS to find the axe.

  73. JRay3 says:

    I want to preface this comment with the fact that I, too, do not understand the lack of a true ST coach, and that I, too, think the ST play has been very subpar.

    However, I do find it ironic that it is because of a ST play, the blocked XP that Pitt finds itself up 10-9.

    Time for the defense to set the tone to start the second half. Come on Panthers the Military Bowl awaits.

  74. Milo Hamilton says:

    Coach Chryst says they’re “right there” as far as running the football & he thinks they can dominate in that department in the 2nd half.

    He’s handed it to Conner & Bennett a total of 9 times.

  75. Milo Hamilton says:

    In fairness this is nothing new. Wannstedt didn’t have one either. And I’m sure Chryst would love to have one, if it was in the budget of course.

  76. Milo Hamilton says:

    The drop off in production between Devin Street & whomever replaces him is stark.

  77. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! I think Paul Bunyan has forgotten how to get from Madison to the Minneapolis!

    I’m very concerned. Minnesota is a decent team. Kind of under the radar. I’ve seen the Badgers at Camp Randall the last two weekends against BYU and Indiana. Looked pretty solid both times. I think they should handle the Gophers OK but it’s really cold here in the Upper Midwest so turnovers will be a concern.

    Yesterday, at Camp Randall, my kids high school, Oshkosh North, played in the state championship. Two North players collided and two ambulances had to go onto the field. I think the kids will be OK. I thought about the announcers there, though. It was a pretty glum scene there for awhile and the announcers had to fill up a lot of air time.

  78. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey JohninOshkosh,

    Tell me about Taylor Mehlhaff.

  79. JohninOshkosh says:


    The Orange, with their bad ass helmets, hit pay dirt and lead Pitt 16-10

  80. JohninOshkosh says:

    He was good at Wisconsin. He was All Big Ten a couple of years, as I recall. I think he is out of South Dakota. He’s done some coaching as well.

  81. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh, I didn’t know he was there. Or at least I didn’t put it together! I know he takes the placekicking craft seriously. He has conducted camps and so forth. PC must have liked him when he was OC in Madison.

  82. JRay3 says:

    What is Pitt lacking? About 10 Aaron Donald’s on defense and about 10 Tyler Boyd’s on offense.

  83. Milo Hamilton says:

    Aaron Donald. That’s all.

  84. JRay3 says:

    I will say this, can not question Savage’s toughness.

  85. JRay3 says:

    Really like that Pitt is getting the TE involved and allowing Holtz to make some plays.

  86. JRay3 says:

    TD Panthers! Isaac Bennett gets the carry at the five and takes it in, huge drive by Pitt as they retake the lead 17-16.

  87. Lad 9 says:

    Touchdown Bennett! Nice drive. Finally made some adjustments against the blitz that were not bubble screens. Now wold like to see a turnover.

  88. Dom says:

    TD Pitt!!!

  89. JohninOshkosh says:

    + Now, the defense has to stand up.

  90. Milo Hamilton says:


    You beat me to it. And it’s not just today. Being at the home games, this guy seemingly gets hit on every pass play. He just picks himself up & trudges along. That is leadership.

  91. theplanisworking says:


    For all those who wanted Voytik a few games ago…….. behind this offensive line, he would go from 5′ 10″ to 3′ 8″.


    Savage is just a tougher QB.

  92. J Walter Weatherman says:

    Pitt has a ten minute advantage in time of possession, despite rushing for 100 yards less than Syracuse. Kind of odd.

  93. Dom says:

    14 minutes left. Who will be victorious?

  94. Dom says:

    Well Who?

  95. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m sure Groat is happy. Duke is 9-2.

  96. Brandie says:

    HIPPOSTER! Glad to see Pitt has some spark.

  97. Brandie says:


  98. JRay3 says:

    As Milo said earlier….Aaron Donald. That’s all.

    Time for the offense to gain a few first downs and salt this one away.

  99. The Meineke Car Care Bowl awaits.

    Seriously, they should get a decent bowl.

  100. Lad 9 says:

    BRANDDDIEEEEE! Hello on a college football Saturday.

  101. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I’m going to miss watching Donald play. I’m not sure where his draft stock is right now, but I’m crossing my fingers that the Steelers can get him in the 2nd round.

  102. JRay3 says:

    Has to be the most amazing story of this college football season.

  103. Dom says:

    BIG stop on 3-11. A little more than 4 minutes to go. Time to drain that clock.

  104. Brandie says:

    Aaron Donald…Hope he sticks around. I can definitely see him in the Black and Gold! He’s got talent and grit!

  105. Dom says:

    I know this might be a very stupid question but Donald who?

  106. Dom says:

    I am not a big college football fan. I’m only watching it today as I am watching it with relatives. Today is our Thanksgiving.

  107. JRay3 says:

    Aaron Donald the Panthers DT, and a true force on the line of scrimmage. #97.

  108. JRay3 says:

    Well going to need one more big stop. Up to Pitt D to finish.

  109. theplanisworking says:

    Brandimal and Laddy!

    Need to finish this off!

  110. Brandie says:


  111. JRay3 says:

    Wow, and Pitt escapes! The Panthers earn bowl eligibility for the sixth straight year! What a huge timeout by PC to preserve the game.

    Close out the regular season with Miami at home next week. Go Panthers!

  112. Dom says:

    Pitt wins!!!

  113. theplanisworking says:

    A win is a win is a win!

    Pitt now becomes bowl eligible. Not necessarily going to a bowl, but bowl eligible. The ACC will have many teams going bowling this year.

    Beats the alternative. Hopefully Pitt will upset Miami, and get a better bowl slot.


  114. Lad 9 says:

    Finished! Good catch by the special teams grad assistant… on the fake field goal. Got a win Hippo!

  115. J Walter Weatherman says:

    A Steelers-esque 25 carries for 25 yards for the Pitt rushing “attack”. But hey, a win is a win, right? Defense played pretty well. Offense made the necessary plays.

  116. Brandie says:

    Congrats JRay Tre! My school will not be bowl eligible for a while, I am jealous of even going to the Meineke Car Care Armed Forces Campbell’s Chunky Soup Chik-fil-A Target Hidden Valley Ranch Preparation-H Bowl.

  117. theplanisworking says:

    And that makes me a Happy Hippo. :)

  118. Lad 9 says:

    With ya. It will be worth it just to see Aaron Donald play an additional game. Go Pitt!

  119. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I had the game on mute and couldn’t listen the commentary. Wouldn’t the fake FG have failed anyway due to the holder’s knee on the ground when he caught the ball?

  120. theplanisworking says:

    Here is the potential problem for the Panthers………….

    Hope they make it.
    A win over Miami would be HUGE !

  121. JRay3 says:

    Too funny, hope all has been well with you!

  122. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I agree with this. He’s the main reason I try to watch their games. Not often do defensive players elicit that kind of attention.

  123. Brandie says:

    Jus so busy! Good to give you a laugh!

  124. theplanisworking says:

    Dont worry Brandimal…….. I had what you described for dinner last week……….. :(

  125. Brandie says:

    Good Luck in the Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallow Bowl!

  126. theplanisworking says:

    Good to see you in here today, Miss Muppet.

    I am off.
    Take care of yourself, Missy !

  127. Dom says:

    Thanks. I haven’t seen his name in a number of mock drafts that I have checked out.

  128. You left out the BVCAXEXYZ Compass Bowl, Brandecita

  129. Brandie says:

    HA! Hanging out on the Penn State Page all by my lonesome! :-(

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