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Nov. 24, 2012


Pitt Head Coach Paul Chryst:

Opening comments:
“It was a good one to get. I’m happy for our seniors and particularly the team. I appreciate the way they went about their practices. It certainly wasn’t perfect but there were a lot of good things and it was fun to be around the players. The guys were dialed in. They enjoyed playing today. They played together well.”

On the importance of being successful early in the game:
“You make a couple of plays and that kind of gets the ball rolling. When you make plays it can become contagious.”

On the condition of wide receiver Devin Street:
“Devin Street couldn’t return to the game. He had to go get checked at the hospital. I hope everything is all right there. He hurt his ribs but I think he will be all right.”

On the play of the defense:
“I thought we did a good job of stopping the run. Going in we thought that was going to be big. We got some pressure on the quarterback and did a lot of good things.”

On Ray Graham’s performance:
“You knew Ray was going to play well. It was Senior Day and his brother was playing against him. I had a feeling he would play well and he ran hard and it was good. We struggled early running the ball, but the guys did a good job of making some adjustments. Ray should be playing good football. He’s a good player and you appreciate it and he’s fun to be around.”

On the effectiveness of the offensive line:
“This offensive line group will give you everything they’ve got. I thought they did some good things.”

On the play of Ed Tinker at wide receiver:
“We’ve been holding him back the whole time. Devin was hurt and he performed, with a big play for a touchdown and a couple of other opportunities. It was good to see. You always like to see a guy come in and contribute for the first time.”

On the seniors’ performance on Senior Day:
“We have some seniors that are trying to do everything they can do to finish this thing right.”

Pitt Quarterback Tino Sunseri:

On the game in general:
“We knew that Rutgers was a good defense. You could see that on film and when they played on national TV, so we knew that. We had to find our niche and find what they were going to take away. I think our staff did a great job with being able to relay down to the field, and with us being able to communicate up top and we were able to make adjustments.

“Our defense played phenomenal. Whenever the offense and the defense are playing great, and you are able to keep the other team deep in their end, and you are playing from your side of the 50; that’s teamwork. That is the best thing we did today; we played as a unit. Offense, defense and special teams all worked off each other and played great.”

About playing well against good teams:
“Sometime you have to credit other teams, but I think this was our best win so far this season. We were facing adversity, but we kept playing and kept producing. A lot of our wins, we have started out really fast and had the momentum. But today it was a cat and mouse game. We weren’t able to score fast, but we stayed together and knew what we needed to do, and then we got a drive together and we were able to work off of that. Scoring right before the half was huge.”

On Senior Day:
“I am a realist. To be able to play so many games here, I feel fortunate and blessed. You never know when your play is your last, so it is surreal. But we are so focused on next week and making sure we win, that is how we have been looking at it. But today was awesome. You always want to play well to send everyone out the right way.”

Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald:

On his consistent play:
“I contribute that to getting in the weight room, watching film and keep trying to do what I can each week to help my team win. I try to be a leader on the field.”

On the improvement of the line as a whole:
“We are comfortable out there together. We have gotten better each week. With Shayne Hale out there, he has dominated. Tyrone [Ezell] has dominated. Each week we have made plays.”

On the play of Shayne Hale:
“He is strong. A tight end can’t block him. He cuts off the end and lets it all come to us. And when we get a chance to push it out to the end, he makes a play too. We are just out there working together.”

Running back Ray Graham:

On his play today:
“I want to give credit to Rutgers credit. They did a great job. I also want to give credit to our coaches for adjusting to what they were doing. At first, Rutgers had 10 in the box. They were saying, ‘If you want to win this game, you are going to have to throw on us.’ Tino did a good job with that. Up front, we were holding our blocks and then we started converting some first downs and that opened up our run game, and we never looked back from there.”

On the senior class:
“They are a group of great guys. They are going to be successful with what they do in the future. Today was big for us. Every game is big, but today was special for the seniors because this was our last time playing on this field.“

On becoming the third leading rusher in Pitt history:
“It is a blessing. I never take anything for granted. Just to be mentioned with all the greats is awesome. I am proud of my accomplishment, and we have come a long way as a group, but all those individual stats don’t mean anything without my team. I am just very blessed to be acknowledged.”

Rutgers Head Coach Kyle Flood:

Opening Statement:
“This was certainly a very disappointing performance. I felt offensively we had some opportunities early in terms of field positions and we just weren’t able to put any drives together. We didn’t have negative runs early but we didn’t have any five, six or seven yard runs to create the second and shorts that you would have liked to have. We just didn’t click in the passing game early as well. When you go three and out, six plays and a punt, three and out, three and out, we potentially squandered the good field position we had early in the game. We did a good job pinning them in early in the game but as the field position swung, I thought we put our defense in some uphill situations late in the first half, a 28 yard field, a 55 yard field. If you give offensive football teams short fields the percentage of the scoring goes way up and you dig yourself a hole like we did in the first half.

"We are certainly disappointed, but we have another game coming very quickly that we have to get ready for. We had some players that had to leave the game for injury reasons and then came back in and then we had some that didn’t come back in. We will have to take a look at that tomorrow and see who will be available for us this Thursday night. I felt good that the team came out in the second half and fought really hard. Today we have to give credit to Pitt. They were a better football team than we were today. They have very talented players. I thought their quarterback played an exceptional game. He played the type of game that you would expect out of a senior quarterback. We knew they had talented running backs, we knew Aaron Donald was an excellent defensive tackle. I thought all of their players that we knew could really impact the game did a good job. They have good football players here and Coach (Paul) Chryst did a good job today. My hat is certainly off to them.”

On Rutgers’ offensive struggles in the first half:
“We will have to look at the tape to see exactly what it was. You see the drops and that hurts you and you see the three and four yard runs which again, the three and four yard runs are less of an issue if you throw and catch better. It didn’t seem like either phase offensively was going very well in the first half and you end up three and out too many times. In the beginning of the game we were able to survive it because we were winning the field position battle. Then the field position swung on us and you’re down at the half.”

On his disappointment in the game:
“I feel if we can control the field position early in the game that should produce points for us. I thought we did that early in the game today but it didn’t produce points for us. That’s probably my biggest disappointment.”

On why the offense couldn’t execute in the first half:
“I think it is the lack of execution. I don’t think it was tightness or the weather. I don’t know why those balls were dropped. I wish I did. Every receiver that plays a lot of football is going to drop a ball here and there. To have three different guys do it in one game is almost an unfortunate coincidence.”

On Pitt’s effective offense:
“I think they ran the ball and I think they ran it effectively. Most of their passing game is play actions. They did some quick game stuff. They don’t do a lot of drop back. They have a fifth-year senior quarterback who’s an excellent decision maker and an accurate passer. He played a really good game today.”

Rutgers Quarterback Gary Nova:

On what happened when he went down in the first quarter:
“I just got the wind knocked out of me. Just hit the ground pretty hard. It was a pretty hard hit and I had to come out of the game and just recuperate, kind of get myself back together, and go back in there.”

On how difficult things were, because of the constant pressure from Pitt’s defense:
“They did a good job. You know, their defensive linemen are good. They did a good job getting pressure on me. We didn’t execute well enough with protection or in our pass routes and stuff like that. They did well today.”

On having good field position in the first half and not capitalizing:
“You regret the whole game. They played way better than us. They deserved to win the game. We didn’t execute and if you do that, you’re going to lose.”

On why the offense wasn’t able to get it going:
“Like I said, their defensive line played really well today. They’re really good anyway. It’s not like they just played really well this week, they’ve been good all year. Today, they just beat us up. They beat us up and that’s what happens when you don’t execute.”

On still having an opportunity to win the Big East:
“It (stinks) to lose, but like you said, we can still make history and win the first Big East Championship. We have to come in here on Thursday and try to get a win against a good Louisville team.”

On if this is the same Pitt team that he saw on film:
“I knew they were going to be good. I know a lot of guys on that defense and their record might not show it, but they are a very talented defense. They have a lot of good players and you saw today, when they execute and do their job, they are a really good defense.”

Rutgers Defensive Tackle Scott Vallone:

On the focus for this game:
“I think you can get a good sense of it during the week, how good practice is. People were competing, things like that. But, I think we had a good week of practice. I thought we had good effort. I thought guys took this team seriously, you know guys wanted to be able to clinch a Big East share, at least, this week. Things happen I guess.”

On how when one unit has struggled this season, another has picked up the slack and that didn’t happen today:
“That’s how a team wins football games, relying off of each other. There’s been a lot of times both ways where the defense bails the offense out or the offense has done it a couple of times, as well. Special teams has played a huge role also in a lot of our games this year. We tried, you know. They just executed a lot better than us today and that’s why they won by three scores.”

On whether this game feels like Connecticut last year:
“No, because we still have an opportunity. So, I think that’s the thing that I’m going to be preaching and I know Coach is already preaching is we have another opportunity to go out and now all the marbles are out there, this is for everything. We just have to get into the film room, really get prepared for this Louisville team, have a good week of practice on a short week. They’re on a short week, as well. This is for everything. This is why you play football. So we’re disappointed, but we’re going to be excited to play in the next game.”

Pitt vs. Rutgers Postgame Quotes

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