By Sonja Sykes
The raw, cold and blustery tailgate weather we experienced several hours prior to the Pitt game was an eerie and foreshadowing indication of how the actual game went, we just didn’t know it at the time. Tailgating with the Panthers wasn’t that bad of an ordeal…they were much more interested, for the most part, in talking about how the Steelers were going to fare Sunday against the Colts in Heinz Field than discussing the Louisville-Pittsburgh game.
Inside the stadium, the mood quickly went from anticipation and hope from the Card fans to a series of groans, quizzical looks, and, finally, a mass departure of the red and black midway through the fourth quarter. At least the hot chocolate was fairly inexpensive. Ten dollars for eight chicken wings, though, is an outrage.
We were fortunate to be sitting near two UofL gridiron stars from the late fifties, and some of their comments and observations were informative, if not a bit poignant and melancholy. Fundamentals of the game never grow old or out of style, and it was insightful to these two former Cardinals point out the blown assignments and errors in judgment. Despite the formations and wrinkles in use nowadays, you still need to block, tackle and catch. Some of our players still are having trouble grasping that.
How a special teams unit can get so bad so quickly since Memphis and over the last three games is an utter mystery. The Cardinal crowd in Heinz Field gave Doug Beaumont a very loud mock cheer when he managed to corral his first punt in four attempts.
The Panthers have a very interesting and quite popular tradition of singing the Neil Diamond hit Sweet Caroline at the end of the 3rd quarter. They even put the lyrics on the scoreboard and scan the crowd with the cameras showing fans singing along in the stadium. Gotta admit, it was a catchy tune back then, and still quite enjoyable even today. It helped take a little of sting out of being down by 13 with 15 minutes to go. We had no idea that the dam was about to burst, of course. We probably should have broke out into Swing Low Sweet Chariot at the end of the game in the almost vacant Cardinal sections.
Where do we go from here? After watching the end of the WVU vs. Cincy game Saturday night on TV back at the hotel, it’s not a rosy looking picture. Both teams are very capable of coming into PJCS and sticking significant losses on the Cards. If you have any Aces or Jokers up your sleeve, Krags, you might want to pull them out now.