1.) Although Pitt's team performance was anything but spectacular this afternoon, one player shined above the rest. Junior running back Ray Graham finished with 122 yards on 28 carries and contributed three scores for the Panthers. Graham contributed a number of dazzling plays that displayed how elusive he can be when he gets the ball in the open field.
In addition to his 122 yards rushing, Graham also reeled in five receptions for 30 yards. It was evident today that Graham must continue to produce big numbers if Pitt wants to have a chance to win the Big East championship this season.
2.) Another bright spot from today's game was the emergence of transfer tight end Hubie Graham. The Graham tandem-running back Ray Graham being the other Graham-provided the majority of the offensive highlights for Pitt today. The Illinois transfer from Scranton, Pennsylvania hauled in four passes for 59 yards including a reception which gave Pitt great field possession inside the Maine red zone. The emergence of Graham could serve to be a major addition to the Panther's "high octane" offense.
It seems as if Graham and quarterback Tino Sunseri have a good relationship which could give Pitt a major weapon inside the red zone.
3.) As Pitt heads into arguably the toughest stretch of its schedule, the opportunity to let backup quarterback Trey Anderson play a good portion of the 4th quarter could be very valuable if he needs to step in. Anderson entered the game, as Todd Graham said was planned, early in the 4th quarter and played very well considering it was the first time he played since his high school state championship game. Anderson stepped in and led Pitt down the field for a score.
Although we are hearing it was a "planned" entrance into the game it will be interesting to see how quickly the coaches will bring Anderson in if the offense continues to struggle.
4.) Although Tino Sunseri threw two interceptions, he did provide a crucial 34 yard punt which left Maine to begin the drive inside their own 10 yard line. It will be interesting to see if Graham continues to employ the strategy of leaving his offense on the field before letting Tino Sunseri punt it. So far the strategy has worked out well for the Panthers, hopefully we don't see much of Sunseri as a punter rather him meeting his offensive teammates in the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.
5.) The last positive and arguably the most important positive to come out of today's game is the fact that Pitt leaves week two of the season 2-0. Although the team beat two inferior teams, as the saying goes "a win is a win." This time last year Pitt was 1-1 so being 2-0 is definitely a bright spot. Heading into a brutal non-conference stretch against Iowa and Notre Dame these last two wins have hopefully provided the confidence needed to head into Kinnick Stadium and come away victorious.
1.) One of the glaring weaknesses for the Pitt team right now is the amount of pressure the offensive line is letting the opposition put on Tino Sunseri. Today Maine was able to register 7 sacks. As coach Graham said in his post-game news conference the offense is based on timing and in order to have the appropriate timing the offensive line needs to supply the quarterback with some additional time.
2.) Anytime the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year is injured is never good. After registering a sack in the first quarter defensive end Brandon Lindsey missed a majority of the second quarter after sustaining an undisclosed leg injury. It is unknown exactly what the injury is or the severity of the injury, however it was visible that Lindsey was playing with a noticeable limp and didn't supply the same explosiveness he usually provides.
3.) Another area of the Pitt defense that needs rectified is the defensive backfield. There were numerous occasions this afternoon where Maine receivers were wide open with no Pitt coverage in sight. In order for Pitt to shut down the high scoring offenses that it will face this year, the defensive backfield is definitely an area that needs shored up.
4.) For the second week in a row Pitt's field goal kicking and extra points are anything but a given. Kicker Kevin Harper missed the extra point after Ray Graham's first rushing score of the day. Although Harper went on to make a 44 yard field goal, Pitt must correct the problems that are occurring frequently on the extra points.
5.) Although I previously wrote that being 2-0 is a major positive for Pitt, the lack of momentum that the team has heading into Iowa week, followed by the rivalry matchup with Notre Dame isn't good. Pitt is a good enough team to go into Iowa and win, they just haven't shown the improvement we expected--and hoped for--from week one to week. As coach Graham alluded to in the post game press conference, "Were very close to clicking, to connecting." Hopefully after the Iowa game he changes his tune and is able to say that Pitt did connect.