The Pitt football team closed out their 2018 season with a 14-13 loss to Stanford on New Year’s Eve. It was a frustrating result given the at times dominating defensive effort that the Panthers gave in containing the Cardinal offense. 2nd team All-Pac 12 Quarterback KJ Costello was held to season lows of 105 pass yards and a 35.3% completion rate (6/17). Their 208 total yards and 14 points also both marked this year’s nadir in terms of offensive production for Stanford. However, the Panthers weren’t much better at moving the ball. Despite this, they were able to put together several drives that led to a prime scoring chance. Unfortunately they were unable to capitalize on these scarce opportunities, only managing to score one touchdown out of three trips inside the Stanford 10 yard line. Settling for Field Goals on the other two opportunities proved to be the difference in the one-point loss. Looking at all of this, it’s hard not to see the Sun Bowl as a blown opportunity for Pitt to end their season on a high note. Unfortunately for the Panthers, end of season disappointment has been very much the norm in the program’s recent history and this year’s edition continued the trend.
After failing to qualify for the postseason for three straight seasons in the mid-2000’s, Pitt has made a bowl game in 10 of the past 11 seasons (dating back to the 2008 Sun Bowl). While the Pitt football team has consistently been good enough to be selected for an end of the season contest, their performances in these games has also been pretty consistently disappointing. While the results of these games doesn’t actually matter, perception-wise winning your bowl game can serve as a springboard into the final recruiting push before the February signing date and build excitement around the program going into spring ball and the off-season. Pitt hasn’t gotten this very much...
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