I have to make a sad confession: due to a new awesome gig with SIDEARM Sports, I won't be directly in the student section anymore. But that doesn't mean I'll be outside the Dome for games. And thankfully I was able to feel the crowd of the Pitt game.
I wanted to Tweet (but unfortunately that work thing got in the way) that at the pregame video, the Dome sounded louder than it had all year, a fantastic sign. As natural for a family weekend game, the lack of student section was felt early and often as no bleacher smacking or crazy loud third down key jingling took over.
However, Cuse decided to make noise for themselves and jump ahead early, a great way to get the crowd into the action. Even as Pitt clawed their way back into things, the crowd stayed pretty consistent the entire time, with final eruptions on the late sacks by the defense and third down conversions that sealed the victory.
I'm sincerely hoping that with a strong showing against Rutgers (win preferably, but at least something close) the Dome will be packed again for the UConn Friday Night Fight. With a full student section and a fuller Dome, I really think the crowd could have an impact on the outcome of what will be another must-win game for the Orange.
Notes and observations:
The few players I've talked to say that Shamarko is "fine," but leave it at that. I think it's pretty clear at this point already that he has a concussion and will be missing some time. The players were also stoked after the win. The ones I talked to Friday night were on cloud nine and really have some confidence now.
I'm waiting for Sean to write the comparison article, but the Orange front four played like the New York Giants front four. There were very few plays where the Orange didn't win at the point of attack and the running game stats and sacks back this up.
Really worried about the secondary now and I'm sure this will be the topic of more than a couple of posts this week. Without Shamarko, the Orange are going to need a heck of a performance by the back four against Rutgers because Sunseri, arguably one of the weakest QB's in the conference, torched us for 300+.
I don't want to end on a bad note so I'll say that it was really cool to see that some kids in front made posters for players. I'm a big fan of stadium signs and player fan clubs so I'm hoping it'll stay.