Top ten Pitt sports moments: 2000s #5-#1

Now it’s time for the top five moments of the past decade. Let’s review 10-6 briefly.

10. Pitt to the BCS

9. Pitt basketball gets it going

8. Larry, Larry, LARRY!

7. Pitt beats Duke in the Garden

6. Final win over Penn State

And now the top 5……

5. Back to Back

If one good thing came out of the 5-7 season in 2007, it was the discovery of Lesean McCoy. He was fantastic as a freshman racking up big numbers with big runs and beautiful cuts. In the 2008 season he lead Pitt to a 9-3 record and a Sun Bowl bid. He was one of the best in Pitt history and Tony Dorsett even agreed. Tony was sure he would stay for his junior season, but maybe the 3-0 loss in the Sun Bowl was enough to declare for the 2009 NFL Draft. Like Larry Fitzgerald before him, McCoy was 2 and through. After his departure a new back came into the picture. Young Dion Lewis, who was turned down to play by Rutgers, was a good looking player in the spring. Nobody knew what to expect for 2009, but Dion showed us what he was all about. He was a bolt of lightning and had a surplus of moves. He ran for 1,799 yards in his freshman season, the most of any Pitt freshman ever. The best part, he’s not done yet. These two backs were great moments in this past decade because they shaped the way for future Pitt stars. Speaking through their actions they said: “If you wanna run the ball and be a star, come to Pitt”. 

4. David Kills Goliath For Big East Championship

When Pitt stumbled into the 2008 Big East Tournament with a record of 22-9, they were not favored to win. With three straight wins they surged into they championship game to face the regular season champs and 9th ranked Georgetown. They were loaded with Roy Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr. down low. Pitt had freshman Dejuan Blair and a sneeky outside player, Ronald Ramon. They were up three at the half and never looked back cruising to a 74-65 victory and taking down the Big East Bully in the process. Ronald Ramon hit two key 3’s to put Pitt in a comfortable position to take home the title. This game was one of those games where all the stars seemed to align for the Panthers. They won the game and it was Jamie Dixon’s first Big East title. This would close the somewhat muddled season and end it on a thrilling note.

3. Comeback In The Golden Dome

Whenever you needed a kicker Conor Lee was there. He went 4-4 in OT and pulled off an unlikely comeback against Notre Dame in 2008. Conor won the kicking duel in the 4th overtime to move the Panthers past the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Pitt was down 17-3 at the half, and QB Pat Bostick, in for the injured Bill Stull was playing very poorly, throwing for 3 interceptions and only 1 touchdown. This touchdown was the one that sent the game into OT. On 4th and goal, Pitt ran the same fade route to freshman Jonathan Baldwin for the 4th time. It was a great catch and OT was in place. Lesean McCoy was amazing in the game, running for 169 yards and 1 touchdown. Pitt rallied around him and they came back from a 14 point deficite to win the game. In overtime it was a kicking duel between Pitt’s Conor Lee and Notre Dame’s Brandon Walker. In the third overtime Brandon hit a 48 yarder to send it into a fourth. This was his demise however and Conor Lee hit the walk-off kick to win the game after Walker’s miss. This game was huge as it bounced Pitt back from their loss to Rutgers. It was a great game altogether, and beating Notre Dame is always a big deal. Not to mention the absence of Bill Stull. This was a fantastic moment in this past decade.

2. Pitt Is Number 1

Number one. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? This was the case for the 2008-2009 Pittsburgh men’s basketball team. After beating #8 Georgetown in early January, Pitt was voted as the number 1 team in the country with a 14-0 record. It was short lived though and Pitt would only win 2 games as the number one team and fall to Lousiville two weeks later by six. Even with the loss Pitt’s number 1 ranking was the best moment in their teams’ history. It was a wonderful two weeks in the Burgh with Pitt being the best team in the country. The season was a success and Pitt finished with a 28-3 record and a number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They made it to the Elite 8 and then lost to Villanova by 2 in a thriller. The players that got them to number one were the real heroes of the year. Levance Fields, Sam Young, and Dejuan Blair, just to name a few, were superb all season and drove their team to a 16-0 start. Being number 1 is something seldom done and Pitt did it not so long ago.

1. Miracle In Morgantown

This game sums it all up. The number one moment of the 2000s hands down. Pitt at 4-7 had beaten the 10-1 and BCS Title bound West Virgina Mountaineers in Morgantown. The Mountaineers came into the game ranked #2 and were ready to walk all over their rival Pittsburgh. They were favored by 28 points! Pitt came into the game at 4-7 and had no hope of a bowl game, they were playing for pride. The game was a defensive struggle with the score at the half being 7-3 in favor of WVU. Pitt hung around though and went ahead with a TD run by QB Pat Bostick early in the third. After that Pitt’s D came with a fury and sacked Pat White to put him out of the game. Conor Lee added a FG in the 4th to make the score 13-7. WVU had a final drive which resulted in an incomplete pass out of the back of the endzone. As soon as the ball hit the ground I knew that history was just made. Pitt ran the clock out and didn’t even bother to punt as Dan Brytus ran the ball out of the endzone for a safety. Final 13-9, Pitt had done it, they shocked the world. WVU would not be going to the BCS Title and Pitt would start a recruiting surge that would boost them in 2009. Wannstedt still calls it their “turnaround” win. It was that and more and is the number one moment in this past decade of Pitt sports.

Pitt shocks the country in their 13-9 upset of WVU

These moments were awesome and I’m sure there were some that I missed, but these were the ones that stuck out to me. Hope you enjoyed them and most of all, Go Pitt!

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