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Thread: Pitt taking losing streak against Rutgers personally

      
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    Default Pitt taking losing streak against Rutgers personally

    Pitt taking losing streak against Rutgers personally
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009
    By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    "This is personal."

    Those three words from Pitt senior starting quarterback Bill Stull yesterday sums up the Panthers feelings about their matchup against Rutgers (4-1, 0-1 Big East) Friday night.

    Forget the fact that it is a Big East Conference game, forget that the Panthers (5-1, 2-0) have been trying to build a presence in recruiting in New Jersey, and a win there would help on that end; forget that a win would make the Panthers bowl-eligible for the second year in a row; and forget all the typical clich??s about this being an important game because it is the "next game."

    This game is far more important than any of that to Stull and the Panthers because the Scarlet Knights have owned them for the past four seasons.

    Rutgers has won four games in a row against the Panthers. The Scarlet Knights are the only Big East team Dave Wannstedt has yet to beat and they are the only Big East team the senior class has yet to beat.

    "We can't stress watching film more or working harder for this one," Stull said. "We just have to do things better. I don't want to say we need extra focus or say we weren't putting focus in the last games because that's not true, but we just have to find a way to get down and dirty this week.

    "This is personal, I've yet to be on the winning side of the ball and I am really taking it personal this week as are all of our seniors this week. It is obviously personal, but we are going to remain cool, calm and collected and make sure we give ourselves the best chance to win."

    Stull -- who was knocked out of the game a year ago, giving him even more reason to make this one personal -- and several of his teammates were made available yesterday after Wannstedt's weekly news conference. They all recounted the disappointing ways they've lost to the Scarlet Knights over the past four seasons.

    Wannstedt tried to downplay the significance of the game but it is clear his record against Rutgers is weighing on his mind as Stull, Gunn and Oderick Turner all talked about a team meeting Sunday night when he had all the seniors stand up and...

    "He said to us -- 'Sit down if you've beaten Rutgers' -- and nobody got to sit down," Turner said. "That said it all, so this year we'd like to do everything we can to beat this team. Just once I need to be able to go home [Turner is from New Jersey ] and have some bragging rights."

    The past four Rutgers games also have been playing non-stop since Sunday on all of the television monitors around the football complex, and especially in the locker room so the bad memories are fresh on the players minds.

    And yesterday at practice, one of the team managers showed up wearing a full "knights armor" costume as a little extra reminder of what is at stake this week against Rutgers.

    Wannstedt, however, wanted no parts of dissecting each individual game between the past two teams over the past four seasons, nor did he buy into the idea that the losses have become psychological or have any common theme other than Rutgers has outplayed Pitt.

    "This is a game over the past several years that we haven't played as capable as, or played better than, them," Wannstedt said. "They've gotten the better of us and as we look at them on tape now, they are playing at a high level. They've got a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball. Our guys know them from playing them.

    "I just think that they've made fewer mistakes than we have. I think every game has taken on a little different twist. I think they've just played better than we have. That's been the bottom line."

    Actually, when Wannstedt asked the seniors who have beaten Rutgers to sit down, one player -- Adam Gunn, who is a sixth-year player due to a medical hardship -- sat briefly because he was a member of the 2004 team which beat the Scarlet Knights, 41-17, the Panthers' most recent victory in the series.

    "I had to stand back up, though, because I was redshirting that season, realized I didn't take part in that win whatsoever," said Gunn, who was then asked if it surprised him that the Scarlet Knights were the only Big East team he hasn't beat.

    "I don't want to give them any bulletin-board material," Gunn said, then smiled. "Rutgers is a great team and we're looking forward to the challenge."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09286/1005120-142.stm
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  2. #2
    sjdrewk
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    This is an even match up. Pitt has to win. I do like Rutgers, it is one of the teams l like because my girl is from Jersey.

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