Well, obviously the Pitt game was excellent for the Mountaineers. For one half, the Panthers were able to compete with WVU. For one half, the Panthers actually beat WVU. But then the second half started and Pittsburgh was done thanks to the running for Pat White and Steve Slaton. More on the game shortly...but for now, a quick reliving of the trip from departure to arrival:
Left Fairmont at approximately 3:00 p.m. so there would be time to check-in to the hotel before going to the game. It was all smooth sailing until we exited I-79 for 279 and then it was bumper to bumper traffic all the way to the tunnels. The hotel was in Green Tree and, according to the hotel's website, you take exit 4-B to get to the hotel. As I passed exit 4-A, I started to get a bad feeling. There is no exit 4-B on the north bound side of 279. So, we had to get off 279 onto Route 19 and turn around and get in bumper to bumper traffic on 279 South to get off exit 4-B. Bad directions, bad driving...not sure which was to blame. I think it was the directions. So, anyway, slight delay but we got checked into the hotel quickly, changed and headed through the tunnels into downtown Pittsburgh.
Obviously, we needed dinner. Found a parking spot right on Liberty Avenue and headed over to Primanti Brothers for a quick sandwich. Everyone ordered the Black Angus steak sandwich sans slaw. Nuzum asked for Primanti fries. The waitress asked if he wanted extra fries. Confusion ensued as we tried to figure if he wanted fries in addition to those that come on the sandwich. Finally, after 30 seconds of awkwardness, we decided he would receive no extra fries and those that came on the sandwich would suffice. We were the only Mountaineer fans in Primanti Brothers on this evening. However, we received no harassment from the other Pitt patrons.
After eating, we headed across Robert Clemente Bridge to the stadium to get the tickets from the Mountaineer tickets folks and get into the game. After some confusion as to where to go, we found our way into the stadium and to our seats. We were sitting right next to the Mountaineer band and in the middle of Mountaineer fans. Except for 2 Pitt fans sitting directly behind us. They were the source of much frustration and entertainment over the next 3+ hours. More on them shortly. The weather was pretty nice...it sprinkled on a couple occasions but not the downpours which I had feared.
The Pitt band took the field and put on a rather unimpressive show. The Pitt student section was filled up but there were a lot of empty seats until the end of the 1st quarter. People from West Virginia were stuck in traffic trying to get into Pittsburgh which contributed to some of the empty seats. I'm sure the threat of rain and the cold also kept people away from Heinz Field. But, the stadium was far from packed which I found a little disappointing.
The first half was a back and forth battle between two teams that couldn't really stop each other. The fine Pitt fan behind us (I will call him Jonas) continually yelled annoying things like "Trailer City, West Virginia" and "Carson Palmer." The Carson Palmer remark was expressing Jonas' wish for someone to roll up on White's leg and blow out his ACL like Kimo did to Palmer in the playoffs last year. He had some other repeated remarks I would not say now. At one point he said something about Pat White's mother which I reacted to...I believe I asked him "What are you talking about?" or something similar and his response was "I'm in his head...I'm in his head." That became fodder for me the rest of the game. After many big White plays, I would thank Jonas for being in White's head. His friend would not join him in his asinine chants and seemed genuinely embarrassed.
So, halftime rolls around. The Pride performed pieces from their pregame at halftime. During halftime, Jonas invited a couple of his friends over to sit with him. A Mountaineer fan behind Jonas took exception to that and told them all to leave and stop causing problem. A woman sitting beside Rod also said something to them and Jonas mouthed her off a bit and her HUGE husband took umbrage and wanted out to confront Jonas. The husband began barreling through me and Nuzum and I had to exit. I sent Bo to get security because I didn't want the husband to be tossed for getting into a fight. The two additional Pitt invaders that didn't have tickets needed to leave and that is what eventually occurred once security arrived. It was the closest thing we would see to a fight.
Jonas pouted for a while...pulled out the "Trailer City, West Virginia" chant and said a few vulgar things. Most everyone ignored him at this point. He called his friends to try to get them to come back but I think the HUGE husband had scared them off. I invited him to leave and go find them but I think he was having a good time...Pitt was still leading at that point. Obviously things went downhill for Pitt and Jonas at this point. When WVU pulled ahead of Pitt by a score of 45-27, this is what Jonas looked like:
Shortly thereafter, Jonas and his friend left, as did most Pitt fans. We were sure to give them a proper sendoff. He made some more trailer park comments but it was too late by that point. A member of the band came over and thanked us for riding Jonas and his friend for the whole game. She thought it was pretty funny. At that point, we turned into cheerleaders the rest of the game. I credit us for stopping Pitt on the huge 4th and 8 late in the game. Our section had been dead up to that point but I turned around and yelled "everybody up" and they finally got up and cheered for the defense. Of course, I guess some of the credit should go to the defense too.
WVU goes on to win...we could have put another touchdown on them but we didn't. I wanted 52 but 45 was still nice. Following the game, the crowd broke out into a spontaneous singing of "Country Roads" and the football team came over to celebrate. I think we had all pretty much lost our voices by that point. But all was right with the world. We left the game and headed over to Eat 'n Park for some post-game food. No one really gave us any crap which was surprising. Then headed back to the hotel.
But, that was about it. WVU dominated in the second half once the defense turned it up. Pitt had no answer for the speed of White and Slaton. Not to say I wasn't happy before but I was finally impressed by White's arm. I'm not saying he was making the most difficult passes in the world, but he put the ball where it needed to be and found open receivers and didn't make any mistakes really. So, now we await a couple home games...if we take care of business against USF, it sets up a huge matchup against Rutgers. Who would have thought we'd be looking forward to a huge matchup with Rutgers? Should be interesting...