Pitt gains motivation from slight by ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer
Some Pitt players were motivated Saturday by ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer calling a Central Florida victory a virtual lock.
“A virtual lock. (Friday) night, I watched that,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Are you kidding me? But I appreciate Jesse Palmer juicing us up.”
“What’s his name? Jesse Palmer? That’s his name, right? On ESPN?” quarterback Kenny Pickett said after Pitt’s 35-34 victory.
“It’s an easy win against Pitt, I guess every week. He said it last week. He said it this week. We watch. We see.”
Junior center Jimmy Morrissey was pleased with the victory, but he wants to see the Pitt program gain consistent respect around the country.
“Upsets happen all the time,” he said. “We need to get to that point where it’s not an upset anymore.
“We’re finally hitting our stride. We’re building on some positives and not putting the same negatives on tape.
“We’re improving every week and, hopefully, we can hit our full stride heading into conference play. We need to start consistently putting wins together.”
Safety Damar Hamlin also is thinking big.
“We can play with anybody,” he said. “If we don’t make little mistakes throughout each game, throughout the year. We can be where those teams are at, top 10, top 15.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be.”
Where are you going?
Pickett celebrated with and thanked the fans who remained to watch the wild finish at Heinz Field.
But he also saw some of the 42,056 leaving early.
“Which (ticked) us off,” he said.
Bigger games ahead
Interesting take on the victory from wide receiver Aaron Mathews:
“It’s a pretty big win,” he said of upsetting the 15th-ranked Central Florida, a 12-point favorite.
“It’s not an ACC win, so it really doesn’t mean that much. They’re one of the ranked teams. We worry about this for 24 hours and onto to the next, Delaware (next Saturday).”
Mathews had probably his best game at Pitt, blocking a punt that was returned by Wendell Davis for a touchdown.
He also hurdled two defenders after his 24-yard catch to set up Pitt’s first touchdownr.
Wide receiver Tre Tipton (Apollo-Ridge) didn’t dress for the game after suffering a lower-leg injury, coach Pat Narduzzi said.
“We’ll see, but he may be out for the year,” Narduzzi said. “I don’t know. We’re still evaluating that. He’s got to make some decisions.”
Tipton, a senior, missed most of his first three seasons at Pitt with injuries before playing in 14 games last season.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .