A Look Back

After the loss last week to Wake Forest, many of the Pirate faithful were ready to jump ship or start a mutiny and hang the Captain of the ship (in this case Steve Logan) from the yardarm.

What a difference a week makes. The Pirates swamped the Green Wave of Tulane and seem to be back on track. So what that we lost to Wake. The win over Tulane puts us at 1 and 0 in the conference and tied with Cincinnati for the early conference lead.

Another thought came to mind last night.

In 1991, I was working for the Athletic Video Department and as such I was responsible for videotaping all of the practices and games for the football staff.

After the loss to Illinois, the team came home with a renewed vigor about them. They had victory within their grasp and had it taken away. On Thursday, prior to leaving for Champagne-Urbana, Coach Jeff Connors told the team that he had them in better shape than the Strength coach at Illinois. He even said that if they (the Pirates) were not in better shape at the end of the game, he (Connors) would go across the field and kiss Illinois' Strength Coach on the arse.

Towards the end of that game, I looked down and the Illinois players were bent over and were having a hard time of it. Our players were up and alert and were ready for more. If not for the penalty, I believe we would have scored and would have gone for 2 to win the game. Victory was ours.

Four weeks later, that same Pirate team came into Ficklen Stadium and beat a South Carolina team that was 8-0 against the Pirates. The Pirates won and the West Goalpost came down. The Pirates were 3-1.

On Monday after that game, I told several players that I felt they would not lose another game that year. They scoffed and said I was crazy. I told them that they can do anything they set their mind to.

Two weeks later the Pirates went to the Carrier dome to take on the Syracuse Orangemen. The Pirates pulled that one out for their first win against the Orange.

Prior to that game, WNCT Sports Director Brian Bailey had predicted in the East Carolinian that Syracuse would win. After the game, OL Tom Scott asked Brian how he was getting back home, because Tom said that he was not flying with them.

Brian laid down the gauntlet and said that if that team played in a New Years Day bowl game, Tom could shave off his mustache. Have you noticed that Brian does not have hair on his upper lip.

Two weeks later Pitt came to town for the first game played in Ficklen Stadium between two ranked teams. With the crowd chanting "We Believe", Jeff Blake ran an option left for a TD to get the Pirates within one. A few minutes later, Blake ran an option to the right side and scored the 2 point conversion to give the Pirates the win and this time both goalposts came down. And they came down within 30 seconds after the end of the game.

That team took adversity and fed off of it and went on to be ranked 9th in the country. They came from behind so many times that they almost gave many of us heart attacks.

Can this team do the same thing??

That chapter of Pirate athletics has yet to be written. Just remember that this is the 10th anniversary of that magical year. In '91, we were not ranked in the USA TODAY Top 25 until we had gone 5 and 1. As of today, we are 39th. Which is much higher than we were 10 years ago.

The Pirate faithful need to keep supporting the team. Who knows what will happen next week, but maybe, just maybe. We will have a repeat of that magical '91 season.


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