LISTEN—Pitt reacts to emotional win, tragic day

Narduzzi “more important things than a football game”

Jeff Hathhorn
October 27, 2018 - 8:22 pm

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – In one of the more exciting games in Heinz Field history, Pitt came back to beat Duke 54-45 on a touchdown pass with five seconds left.  But it was a respectful celebration given the loss of 11 lives in the Squirrel Hill neighbor earlier on Saturday.

“There are a lot more important things than a football game, I can tell you that,” said head coach Pat Narduzzi.

The Panthers head coach saw his team pregame on their phones, like all of us, trying to figure out what had happened just over a mile away from the Pitt campus.

“You see it happen in Florida, you see it happen where ever,” Narduzzi said. “When it hits you in your backyard, you wonder.  My kids were about a half-mile from there at the time and my first thing I’m doing is texting my kids and making sure they don’t leave.  My hearts and prayers go out to everybody.”

“Have a lot of sympathy for what happened today,” said quarterback Kenny Pickett.  “Heard about it early this morning when we were getting ready to play, it was really sad.  Really a sick world we live in now, something we have to keep pushing through, our thoughts and prayers with all of the families.”

“We were with them,” said kicker Alex Kessman, who made a pair of field goals in the win.  “Dennis Briggs in his pregame speech said let’s play this game for those victims and their families.  You never think it would happen in your city.  It’s so tragic.  We wanted to give Pittsburgh something to cheer for.”

“It was an opportunity for us to reflect on what a blessing it was to wake up with our lives,” said Briggs, a Shady Side Academy grad.  “Families are hurting, the whole city is hurting and we had to take that time to reflect on the magnitude of that moment.  There are things that are way bigger than the game & football in general.”

“Alex Bookser before the game said we have the opportunity to make someone’s day a little better,” the senior captain Briggs added.  “It was a blessing we got the win & hopefully that inspired some people and make their day a little better.”

Maurice Ffrench caught the game-winning pass, but started his post-game thoughts with a prayer for the victims and their families.

“It was a sad day in Pittsburgh, we just wanted to give the city something to be at least proud of for the day,” Ffrench said.  “Get their minds off the person they lost so they could have at least a fulfilled spirit and be happy for a little bit.”

“I care for everybody in this world and no one deserved that, it was kind of hard, but at the same time it was motivation to do better for those who lost their loved ones.  We had to make a statement today and give them some love back.”