The Recorder – Keeping Score: Pitt of Despair


Good morning!
The UMass football team plays Pitt this afternoon at Heinz Field near the confluence of the Ohio and Allegheny rivers. This will be the 101st game the Minutemen have played since joining FBS.

Looks like yesterday, athletic director John McCutcheon was ecstatic about the alumni heading to Gillette Stadium singing Fight Massachusetts. It didn’t quite work, and neither did coach Charlie Molnar who ran his Minutemen at UConn on August 30, 2012 and lost 37-0. It was the start of a 1-11 season en route to an FBS overall record of 19-81.

McCutcheon and Molnar are long gone, but the struggles continue.

Third-year coach Walt Bell’s 1-15 record at Amherst is due in part to the lack of a strong quarterback. Former coach Mark Whipple had a knack for bringing them in – Blake Frohnapfel and Jeff Krohn come to mind – and in January, Bell landed the transfer from Colorado to Tyler Lytle, a 6-foot-2, 220-inch slinger. books with two years of eligibility remaining.

Lytle’s services have been requested by more than two dozen colleges at Servite High School, a private Catholic prep school for boys in Anaheim, including BC, Pitt and Baylor according to 247sports.

The Buffs are notorious coach killers, and they burned three of them during Lytle’s four years in Boulder. He only played five games and took a total of 20 shots, his last on a 23-degree day in Boulder vs. Utah. Led by six in the fourth quarter, starter Sam Noyer was injured. Lytle walked in and made a first try and ran 15 yards for another. Walnut came back, practice stalled and Colorado lost 38-21.

Before sunset, Lytle announced that he was entering the transfer portal. Walnut was also sick of the Rocky Mountain Depression and followed offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren to Oregon State.

During Colorado training camp, as the two competed for the starting position, Lytle told a reporter from Colorado that he “was trying to be a leader by example … trying to be more. vocal… trying to get guys to move on ”.

It’s a typical Millennial with Instagram and Twitter and a Spotify playlist called “Hippie S ***”.

His Pitt counterpart, Kenny Pickett, is a New Jersey child born in Oakhurst between New York and Philadelphia. He is the only Panther to have passed over 400 yards twice in the same season. He did so last year against Virginia Tech and NC State, in a 2,408-yard campaign that included 13 touchdowns, nine interceptions and eight rushing touchdowns, a high for the team.

This will be the 23-year-old Pickett’s 40th game under center (37th start), and he’s been on several preseason watchlists, including the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the best senior quarterback in the game. country.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi earns $ 3.2 million a year (compared to $ 625,000 reported by Bell) and is 76-42 in seven seasons. Last year’s 6-5 team started 3-0 and made it into the AP’s Top 25 before back-to-back losses to NC State, BC, Miami and Notre Dame.

The Panthers play in the ACC’s softer coastal division, but have a crossover on Oct. 23 against Clemson. Their other non-conference games will be against Western Michigan in two weeks and UNH on September 25.

They return 21 seniors including eight starters in attack and five in defense.

Whipple, who was appointed Pitt’s offensive coordinator after leaving UMass, has more weapons than the Taliban. Sophomore Jordan Addison caught 60 passes averaging over 11 yards and Shocky Jacques-Louis, Taysir Mack and Jared Wayne combined 70 catches, 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

When Pickett does not carry the ball, he will give it to either junior Vincent Davis (632 yards, 6 TDs) or Israel Abanikanda who should have an exceptional season in his second year.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Pickett has sponsorship deals with Pittsburgh-area clothing, trucking and auto companies and, during training camp, handed out t-shirts with his own logo.

To protect the brand, Jerry DiPaola from triblive.com said he plans to invite his offensive linemen to dinner every week.

The concern in Amherst is that Pickett could hand over their lunch to the Minutemen as well. UMass has lost 11 straight games averaging 39 points and is 38 points down this afternoon.

The gap will likely be determined by when Narduzzi decides to shut down the pipe, but UMass fans take a long-term view hoping the second hundred games aren’t as bad as the first hundred.

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On Friday, a statue of Jack Leaman will be unveiled outside the Mullins Center, along with Julius Erving, Marcus Camby and John Calipari. Earlier this summer, we mentioned that Leaman was one of the softball umpires and had visited Hinsdale Greyhound Park. The article prompted a response from retired Montague Police Chief Ray Zukowski.

“I met Jack Leaman at the annual Shelburne Falls softball tournament,” Zukowski said. “I was catching and Jack was the plate umpire. We spoke between locations and he told me he liked going to Hinsdale.

“About a month later, I was on Route 63 and stopped a car for speeding. It was Jacques. He apologized and said he was a UMass coach on his way to a meeting. I said, “Who are you kidding, you’re on your way to Hinsdale!” He looked up and recognized me, and we both burst out laughing.

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Leave it to UMass to turn something as simple as a football parking lot into a messy mess. Fans have seven options, ranging from purchasing a membership and free parking next to the stadium, parking on the north side of the Mullins Center, and the free three-mile round-trip walk.

Fans whose loyalty once allowed them to park for free on the stadium loop will now have to pay $ 40 for UConn, Toledo and URI games, and $ 30 for Maine and Eastern Michigan games. Parking can be obtained for $ 10 in advance if reserved online.

It’s a scam, and it’s their way of doing business.

****

MLB NOTES: Asked why the national media did not embrace Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, Red Sox manager Alex Cora replied, “It’s not like they’re marketing themselves, they’re just going to play. Bogie doesn’t publish anything other than the Dutch football team, and Raffie takes care of his daughters, it’s not about throwing the bat at him. … Covid has kept many team radio announcers from going on the road, something Spanish Yankees broadcaster Rickie Ricardo has long been used to. “I’ve never been on the road,” he told Richard Neer of WFAN. “I am the king of offscreen games. … Nick Pivetta is becoming Boston’s biggest puzzle since Clay Buchholz. … This is shaping up to be a Chris Sale vs. Gerritt Cole Wild Card game on October 5th, and how much fun would that be? … Chris Sale on his pristine sleeve against the Twins, fanning three hitters on nine shots: “I had my f— you fastball, mixed with a little hate.” … The player Texas secured from New York for Joey Gallo made his MLB debut against Houston on August 27. Glenn Otto pitched five scoreless innings, allowed two hits, poked seven and scored zero. … Michael Kay said on a YES show that Gallo hit 50 times in his first 101 batting appearances in the stripes. “It’s not a slump, it’s his game,” the Yankees TV voice said. “He’s got a ton of home runs, but in half of his shots, nothing happens. “… As of this writing, Miggy Cabrera needed 37 hits in 28 games to hit 3,000 … August recap: Tampa 21-6; Yankees 21-8; Toronto 16-14; Boston 12-16; Baltimore 4-24. … NESN’s Dennis Eckersley recalled giving up a grand slam to Dwight Evans. “Ole Dewey-boy got me. I’ll never forget that one. I came with the drunk basics. I followed him 2-0 and he just got me.

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has written his observations on the sport for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be contacted at chipjet95@yahoo.com


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