Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Passing Game Still Inconsistent Pitt's Run Attack Pays Price for It

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Passing Game Still Inconsistent Pitt's Run Attack Pays Price for It

Article excerpt

EL PASO, Texas - Almost a month has passed since Pitt's 42-10 loss against Clemson in the ACC title game, but when you don't have any games to play in between, disappointment can fester.

That might not be the case for Pitt's offense and those associated with it, but from an outside view, the Panthers haven't had a chance to atone for that performance yet. It's one that sits in something of a strange place; after all, it came in the conference championship, so offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and his group had to be doing something right throughout the season, but it was also the second of back-to-back anemic games, especially through the air.

"We just did not play our best that game," Watson said Thursday at a news conference to preview the Sun Bowl.

"The thing we've got to do is - I've got a great group of guys. They are really prideful people, and they want to get that taste out of their mouth and get back to business with how they see themselves, how they see us playing."

On one hand, that might be difficult to do against a Stanford defense that has a strong defensive line (34 sacks). Then again, 10 points, 8 yards passing and 199 yards of offense makes for a low bar to clear for improvement at 2 p.m. Monday in El Paso. Of course, a 24-3 loss at Miami the previous week wasn't much to surpass, either, but one could argue Pitt did no such thing against Clemson.

"For our guys, for all of us - coaches, too - it's a matter of pride," Watson said. "We were rolling and doing really well, and we want to get back to being us. And that's just us getting back to the fundamentals of the game and going back to work, and we've been able to do that during our prep time. It's been good to get that behind us, and now we've got to go prove it."

Asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his offensive scheme throughout 13 games this season, Watson highlighted Pitt's success in the running game. …

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