Weekend Sports Update
Here is a recap of the Weekend in the world of sports:
Pittsburgh 31, Green Bay 28
Nov. 26, 2017
RB Le’Veon Bell
What did you think of Antonio [Brown’s] catch at the end that almost put you into field goal range?
That’s not a surprise to me. You should see some of the catches he does in practice. It’s A.B. [Brown] doing what A.B. does. He never seems to surprise me. It something he always does. It was an amazing catch. I knew when I saw it live. I knew that it was a catch. I knew instantly. Guys can be confused by it, but I know what he does. Everyday in practice, he works hard and it shows in the game.
The best stat is winning and you guys did that again. Does it matter how you do it?
No it doesn’t. As long as it goes in that “W” column, it does not have to be pretty to get it done. I don’t care how it looks, as long as we get the job done. As long as we get one more point than the other team, that’s all that matters.
You don’t fumble the ball too often. What happened? Were you trying to move the ball there?
Yeah, I kind of lifted my foot [and] the guy kind of grabbed my arm when I tried to put my single arm on the ball. I ended up getting hit and losing it. It happens. I just have to do a better job of protecting the ball and being conscious of it.
OG Ramon Foster
Did you get a good look at Antonio Brown’s toe-tap?
I did. A.B. [Brown] is amazing. I was telling the ref, ‘You ought to see what he makes in practice.’ I’ve said it before, he’s the hardest worker out [there], at any position almost. HOF – it’s that simple for him.
You guys see it every day in practice, but is it something else to see it in games with all the pressure and everything else on the line?
That’s just what he does. I think he lives off it. I honestly do. I asked him a couple of times, ‘Does it bother you that people want to be around you? He loves it. This is him. This is what he does. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
CB Artie Burns
Your defense has allowed five touchdowns of 50-plus yards the last three games. Is there anything you can point to?
We know how teams are attacking us. We just have to do a better job of preventing them. We come in on Mondays and Tuesdays knowing what a team is going to do to us in certain situations. In the past few games, we haven’t been making plays on those balls. We will get it right, though. We still have a long road to the playoffs, and we just have to keep knocking them down. MORE
College Football: Apparently there’s a new Top 5 in the rankings because of several upsets with the huge one being #1 Alabama losing to #6 Auburn 26-14, then Pitt capped off their season by pulling off the huge upset over #2 Miami 24-14. However, #3 Clemson refused to fall as they beat South Carolina 34-10, #4 Oklahoma destroyed West Virginia 59-31 and #5 Wisconsin blanked Minnesota 31-0 to finish the season 12-0.
So, here’s how the Associated Press Top 5 looks now: #1 Clemson, #2 Oklahoma, #3 Wisconsin, #4 Auburn, #5 Alabama. Miami falls to #7.
In other news: Arizona State fired head coach Todd Graham after a 7-5 season. He had an overall record of 46-31 with the Sun Devils.
NBA-Cleveland Cavaliers G Derrick Rose left the team to mull his future. The veteran guard is either considering coming back this season or retiring because of consistent injuries this season. He is only 29 years old.
In the Eastern Conference, Boston (18-3) saw their winning streak end and Cleveland seems to have gotten their groove back as they’re now only trailing the Celtics by 5 games in the conference with a 12-7 record. In the Western Conference, Houston (15-4) leads the way with defending champ Golden State (15-5) looming right over their shoulder.
NFL-Here are the scores of this weekend’s NFL games: Atlanta beat Tampa Bay 34-20, Cincinnati beat Cleveland 30-16, with the Browns falling to an NFL-worst 0-11; Tennessee beat Indianapolis 20-16 as the Titans take over 1st place in the AFC South Division after Jacksonville fell to Arizona 27-24 on a game-winning FG by 42-year old K Phil Dawson, Buffalo beat Kansas City 16-10 as the Chiefs fall to 6-4 after a 5-0 start, New England improved to 9-2 after beating Miami 35-17, Carolina improved to 8-3 after beating the NY Jets 35-27, Philadelphia improved to an NFL-best 10-1 after destroying Chicago 31-3, Seattle improves to 7-4 after beating 1-10 San Francisco 24-13, the LA Rams ended New Orleans winning streak after beating them 26-20, Oakland beat Denver 21-14, and in the Sunday Night Game, Pittsburgh improved to 9-2 after outlasting Green Bay 31-28 on K Chris Boswell’s game winning 53-yard FG. The Steelers continue to edge the Patriots with the best AFC record.
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Pitt 80, Lehigh 68
Saturday, Nov. 25
Pittsburgh, Pa. l Petersen Events Center
Steelers dispose of Titans 40-17; improve to 8-2
The Pittsburgh Steelers are having fun again and regardless of whether it took them putting on those color-rush uniforms, playing in front of a national audience at Heinz Field, or even in front of Dick LeBeau, their former defensive coordinator. The Steelers played the kind of football that many fans or media were hoping for as they defeated LeBeau and the Tennessee Titans 40-17.
QB Ben Roethlisberger passed for 299 yards and 4 TDs and he got it started with a 41-yard TD bomb to WR Antonio Brown. The Steelers All-Pro also caught 2 more TDs from Big Ben, to go with 10 catches for 144 yards. He has also eclipsed 1,000 yards this season. RB Le’veon Bell combined for 103 total yards and caught 9 receptions, but the defense truly stood out as they sacked Titans QB Marcus Mariota 5 times and intercepted him 4 times. This happened despite the absence of CB Joe Haden and S Mike Mitchell who were injured Sunday.
The Steelers never trailed the Titans (6-4), but there were moments when the Red Zone failures looked like they were going to continue as they only led 13-7 at halftime and 16-14 to start the 3rd quarter. But then the offense woke up and put the Titans away.
The Steelers have now improved to 8-2 on the season, and are now getting closer to another AFC North Division title as they now lead 2nd place Baltimore (4-5) buy 3.5 games. MORE
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Pitt beats UC-Santa Barbara 70-62 for 1st win of season
After starting the season 0-2 for the first time since the 1996-97 season, it was starting to become a mystery of when the Pitt Panthers would win their first game. Well mystery solved because on November 15th, the 2017-18 Panthers secured their first win as they beat UC-Santa Barbara 70-62 at the Petersen Events Center. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but they cheered Pitt on like there were 12,500 in here.
“Work in progress, that fits us right now.” Said Pitt head coach Pat Stallings. But I thought there were some real bright spots in this game.”
I stated in my previous recap that the Panthers not only needed to fight for wins this season, but they needed a knockout punch and it surely came in this game when G Jared Wilson-Frame hit a 3-pointer late in the second half to finally put some distance from the Gauchos. The JUCO transfer’s shot gave the Panthers a 63-57 lead which totally shook their opponent. I was a bit surprised that Wilson-Frame didn’t start, but he made things happen when he was on the court and finished with 14 points which tied him for the team lead with senior G Jonathan Milligan, who made quite the impression with a career-high 13 points.
In fact, 5 Panthers scored in double-figures in this game. In addition to Wilson-Frame and Milligan, C/F Ryan Luther had 13, freshman Parker Stewart had 12 and fellow freshman Shamiel Stevenson had 11. Such a collective effort proved very successful for these young Panthers as they may have found a winning formula.
I was also impressed with the way head coach Kevin Stallings mixed up his lineup. Every Pitt Panther played in this game and it created opportunities and prevented certain players from wearing out down the stretch. I was glad that Luther didn’t play center as much in this game as he is a forward in my opinion. We had a chance to see freshman Terrell Brown at center and although he could still learn to be more aggressive in the paint, he finished with 4 points in 17 minutes. But he was also in foul trouble as he and Luther finished the game with 4 personal fouls apiece.
We also saw freshman Peace Illegomah who is still considered a project, but he won’t learn much just sitting on the bench. In 4 minutes, the 6-10 center had 3 turnovers, but I’m sure the experience didn’t hurt him. Brown reminds me of when Talib Zanna first came to Pitt. He had his hot flashes, but he also had times when he didn’t show as much aggressiveness in the paint. Brown needs to get a mean streak and force some dunks and snatch some rebounds.
I was also impressed with Pitt’s defense as they put muscle to their hustle in this game. After allowing the Gauchos to knock them all over the court with seven 3-pointers in the first half (they finished with 10 on the night) the Panthers found their mojo and made some adjustments by getting in the face of the Gauchos. They double-teamed their 3-point shooters and (by some miracle) began snatching rebounds. As a team, they were out-rebounded 43-35 (Luther had 10, Wilson-Frame & Stevenson had 6 apiece) but they showed their opponent that they were tired of the baskets and were going to put a stop to it.
In the first few minutes, the Gauchos dominated this game, leading by as much as 22-14 and 37-27, but the Panthers wouldn’t fold and made the score 38-32 on a 3-pointer by Luther before the half. And then the second half, the Panthers took their fight to another lever and grabbed their first lead when Milligan’s layup made the score 52-51 with 9:01 left to play. Then the score went back and forth until they took the lead for good when Luther’s tip-in made it 58-57 with 2:37. The Panthers are now 1-2, and it’s a shame that their win vs. Slippery Rock was an exhibition game.
For the Gauchos G Leland King II led all scorers with 22 points and he also had 3 of his team’s 10 three-pointers.
As we know, this Pitt team is still young and are getting used to playing together so there will be more growing pains and lessons to be learned. But this team wanted this win tonight and if they continue to put up this type of fight, we may expect to see more wins from them this season, but they know to be ready, because the competition will get tougher as the season continues.
“When we win” Said Stallings “we’re probably gonna win a lot of close ones — when we win. We would like for it to be easier, but we’re just not that team yet. We just have to keep fighting and get better.”
Notes: Attendance at tonight’s Pitt-UCSB game: 2,685. The all-time low mark of 3,102 set in Monday’s loss to Montana lasted all of 48 hours. Former Pitt and current UNC F Cameron Johnson tore his meniscus Wednesday and reportedly had surgery.
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Pitt Falls 82-78 to Montana in OT
It’s been a long time since the Pitt Panthers basketball team started 0-2 and to be honest, they did everything they did to prevent it from happening tonight, but their efforts weren’t enough to overcome a tough 82-78 overtime loss to the Montana grizzlies at their home opening game at the Petersen Events Center. It was also the first time they lost a home opener since they fell to Illinois 69-50 and guess who Illinois coach was that day? Kevin Stallings. (you can’t make this stuff up)
As disappointing as it was to see them lose this game, I will give it to the Panthers for continuing to fight. After their 71-62 loss to Navy at Friday’s Veterans Classic, they looked like they turned over a new leaf and were more aggressive, especially at the basket. And we also had a Ryan Luther sighting, the good version of Luther to be more specific as he clawed his way to 18 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Stallings expectation of Luther are pretty high (and a little unrealistic, in my opinion) and the fact that he’s the starting center is pretty insane, but Luther played his heart out in this game and he provided a much-needed spark for his team. I hope this will be the start of games like this for the senior.
The other 2 Panthers weren’t too shabby either. JUCO transfer Jared Wilson-Frame, who has had double-figure games for Pitt since the season started, and he added 15 more points in this game. He’s truly a baller who can make things happen on the court (ex: His 24-point game vs. Slippery Rock 2 weeks ago) and freshman Shamiel Stevenson, the freshman forward who led Pitt with 19 points, which was also his 3rd consecutive double-figure game.
The Panthers new point guard was decent as well. Freshman Marcus Carr is really showing how he can handle the rock as he paced the Panthers offense and finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. But he also experienced some growing pains as he turned over the ball 5 times, with two of them leading to 4 points.
Apparently, the Panthers may have a 3-point specialist as freshman G Parker Stewart was 2 for 2 from behind the arc and finished with 5 points off the bench.
But the true story will always come down to what’s on the scoreboard and Pitt didn’t have enough to get their first win of this young season. But as I stated before, they didn’t lose without putting up a fight, which is why this game went into overtime.
After scoring the opening points, the Panthers looked like the team that fell to Navy as they allowed Montana to take a 13-9 lead on them. But they never let it get out of hand as they stormed back to eventually take a 24-17 lead off a 10-0 run. While Montana was struggling, the Panthers were making much-needed baskets. But the Grizzlies wouldn’t go away as they made a run of their own and eventually tied the game at 30 with over 3 minutes left in the first half. Both teams fought for the lead until time expired with Montana going to the locker room with a 37-35 lead over Pitt.
In the second half, the Grizzlies took command with a 51-47 lead before the Panthers stormed back and took a 52-51 lead. The Panthers then led 60-57 before Montana came back to lead 61-60, but then the Panthers eventually took a 64-61 lead and then back came Montana to take a 71-69 lead. Pitt would then tie it 71-71 and 73-73 before the game went into overtime. But their magic ran out as they couldn’t keep up with the Grizzlies energy as they prevailed 82-78.
“We run out there tonight with three freshmen in the starting lineup and a junior-college player who is playing his second Division I game.” Said Stallings “We’re going to have some growing pains. We just are.”
For the Grizzlies, G Michael Oguine was Mr. Everything as he played at an extremely high-level and led all scorers with 29 points. He cut through the Panthers in the paint like they were butter. For a minute, he looked like OKC’s Michael Westbrook with the rock. He also had 6 rebounds and 5 assists. As a team, they out-rebounded Pitt 39-38 and were 7 for 24 from 3-point range with G Bobby Moorehead hitting 3 and finishing with 14 points.
“It doesn’t make it hurt any less no matter how many returning guys we have.” Said Luther “It doesn’t make it OK just because we’re young.”
So now the Panthers need to shake this loss off and get ready to face UC-Santa Barbara Wednesday night with the goal of continuing to fight and hoping that one of their punches delivers a knock-out punch for their first win.
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Pat Narduzzi Press Conference
Virginia Tech Week
PAT NARDUZZI: You know, obviously another rough weekend at the office. A lot of good things. When you go back and watch tape, the same things you saw on [Thursday] were the same things you saw when you were watching tape. A lot of good things. Our offense ran the ball for 250 plus. Defensively stopped the run for the most part, kept them in check all the way until the last drive when we needed to stop the run and get the ball back to our offense, which I felt like was a smart move. If it was 4th and 10 we probably would have went for it, but at 4th and 19, you know, you just had to put the weight on the — you’re kind of torn which way to go there. But 4th and 19 there was no doubt we had to get the ball back with our defense, and we didn’t do so.
But a lot of good things. Defensively gave up four explosives. Obviously one was fatal. But we win as a team and we lose as a team, and everybody in this room had responsibility for it, starting with me, and getting it done. We let it slip away. There was those three major plays that you point out, and as I told the guys last night, it’s offense, defense, special teams. It’s all of us, it’s coaches. But the kickoff return is started right there. We’ve got two guys ready to make a tackle. It’s not like they’re not in position to make that play. A couple young guys, and you’ve just got to finish it. Nice run, give them credit.
Obviously putting the ball on the ground on the fumble was obviously a critical play, and then kind of a reverse pass where we’ve got a guy standing right on top of the guy and we just let him go. Those are three critical ones. But there’s a ton of other plays I can show you that we could be a lot better, and that’s what irks you. There’s three that stand out, three that really stand out, and then a bunch of other little ones that it’s fundamentals and details, and we’ve got to do a better job as coaches and as players. MORE
Pitt-Miami to Kick Off at Noon
PITTSBURGH—Pitt’s November 24 game against Miami will kick off at noon and be televised by ABC-TV, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced today.
The game will be shown locally on WTAE-TV, Channel 4.
The Panthers’ remaining 2017 schedule with announced television coverage and kickoff times:
Nov. 18: at Virginia Tech* (ACC Network/WTAE-TV), 12:20 p.m.
Nov. 24 (Fri.): Miami* (ABC/WTAE-TV), Noon