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Sun sets on Pitt’s playoff push: A story of sports cliches

By Chris Puzia and Stephen Caruso / The Pitt News staff

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Editor’s note: This story is satirical.


Pitt looks to bounce back after a tough road loss in unfamiliar waters. The Panthers quickly found themselves up the creek without a paddle after the defense stood tall against an anemic Pitt offense.

After a hard-fought battle, Pitt lost to Notre Dame on the road by a final tally of 6-4 and will now look to right the ship in its next game against West Virginia.

Pitt’s head coach Bob Graham, in his second year at the helm, faced an uphill battle in trying to motivate his team to victory.

“They were a real piece of work on the battlefield,” Graham said, amidst a stormy patch in his tenure. “Clearly this wasn’t their first rodeo.”

A game that looked to be a nailbiter quickly turned into a David vs. Goliath bout.

Pitt (17-29-2, undefeated ACC) returns to the friendly confines of the Petersen Fitzgerald Cost Center tomorrow, but it will not be a pleasant bus ride home.

“That’s just the way the cookie crumbles,” Dixon Fuego, a seventh-year senior and emotional leader in the clubhouse, said. “We were looking for a spark from our hot hand, and they just couldn’t deliver in crunch time with the game on the line.”

The opponent delivered several early body blows that Pitt’s defense couldn’t absorb.

“We just have to take it one day at a time,” junior walk-on Ellis Presador said. “The sun was setting on our tournament hopes, but it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

It became transparent midway through the game that Pitt just had too many cooks, effectively spoiling its victory broth.

Presador also mentioned a number of “factors” that play into road games, making them harder to win.

“The crowd factor, it’s tough to overcome sometimes,” he said. “The wind factor. The experience factor, that’s a big one. Can’t forget the fatigue factor, also the motivation factor.”

On the horizon is West Virginia, which is bound to be a real heavyweight matchup. Graham repeated the word of one legendary alum that rings true about the upcoming tilt: “Finesse.”

Graham also shed some light upon other key cogs about the opposing team’s scouting report.

“If you’re the Mountaineers, you’re afraid of us,” he said. “We’re going to come out and give 110 percent, no question about it. Have to dig deep for the stretch run.”

Another Pitt player, freshman Hannibal Plaxico, gave his two cents.

“Defense wins championships,” he stated. “There’s no ‘I’ in team. We’re taking it one game at a time. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. You take what the defense gives you. It’s going to be a war out there. This one is for all of the marbles.”

If Pitt holds strong, it could find itself in a position to make a deep postseason run. The team’s magic number is eight and is in the driver’s seat as it controls its own destiny. The players seem to sense that it is a do-or-die scenario.

Pitt’s head coach did express concern about one particular opposing player, calling him the “heart and soul of the team.”

“He can take over a game. Kid is a flat-out winner,” Graham said. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed player and is their floor general. He’s got ice water in his veins.”

Still, despite a recent string of success, Pitt’s players are not satisfied. They want to be firmly in the playoff picture, but that does not yet seem to be the case.

“With some of the good, quality wins that we’ve had, it’s a damn shame that we’re still on the bubble,” Fuego said. “A damn. Shame.”

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Sun sets on Pitt’s playoff push: A story of sports cliches