- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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A triple-overtime loss in the house of the then-No. 3 team in the country has complicated bowl-eligibility matters a bit for Pitt, but the formula remains fairly simple:
Win two of three, starting tonight at Connecticut.
Paul Chryst thinks the macro- and micro-managing of long- and short-term goals is possible given his Panthers' current situation.
“I think you can do both, and I don’t think you cheapen the game at hand," the first-year Pitt coach said. "I think there are moments to do it; there are times in a season to talk about big-picture things. We’re in a situation and what a great thing to fight for, one more opportunity to play together. I think all that’s real, and we’ll talk about that stuff, and yet you can still keep your focus on the task at hand, because I think it really pertains to the task at hand.”
The Huskies have lost lost four straight and have failed to score a second-half touchdown since September. They have been ineffective on the ground and through the air. They are winless in Big East play and, well, a team that had undefeated Notre Dame down two touchdowns at home in the fourth quarter should, in theory, have little problem with them.
But it is never that simple with Pitt.
Be it against FCS Youngstown State (bad) or the national-title contending Irish (good), the Panthers have often played to the level of their weekly competition, something they cannot afford to do with just four wins to their name.
“I think that’s how you can grow as a team and grow as a player. You always want to play your best," Chryst said. "No one else should define your best; you’re always striving to get to that level. I understand that it was a good atmosphere against a highly ranked team. Those are special moments, too, and you don’t want to take that away from them and turn them in to robots.
"The biggest thing is as you grow as a player and grow as a team you have to take advantage of every opportunity, just playing to be your best and working to be your best. Only the individual knows if they truly laid it all on the line, if they truly did everything they can in preparation and as they play. I think you can grow and each guy can work to get to that point. I think we can get better in that area, players and coaches.”
3hMax Olson and Jake Trotter