There has been a ton of Tino Sunseri bashing over the last two years, some of it justified, and it has reached a fever pitch with his play in the Blue/Gold scrimmage to close the 2012 spring practices last Saturday. We’ve been reading PITT fans on the blogs and boards pointing to Sunseri’s poor play and decision making to be the reason for between two and four losses last year.
It is hard to argue that those opinions aren’t true but in the red fog of anger towards Sunseri the exaggeration of his negative worth is way over the top. It seems like most PITT fans can’t see very clearly when it comes to our lightening rod of a starting QB.
If we are going to bitterly complain about Sunseri then the least we can do is give credit where it is due also. I think you have to recognize that Sunseri has delivered the goods in more than one game. Others may disagree with me on that view but here are some games where Sunseri played QB very well and got us wins because of that good play. Lots of numbers and facts follow but they make a point.
One note when you read this. Passing for double digit yards per attempt is excellent. Last season only two teams had that over the course of the whole season; Baylor with Robert Griffin and Wisconsin with Russell Wilson (with Chryst as OC).
Last season against UCONN Sunseri completed 69% of his attempts for 419 yards, 10.0 ypa and two TDs. He was our leading rusher that game with 40 yards and another TD in that 35-20 win. That’s being directly responsible for 21 points in a game where we lost our star RB Ray Graham early on and where UCONN scored 20.
Against SYR in 2010 he completed 71% of his passes for 266 yards, 11.1 ypa and four TDs, 28 points in a 45- 14 win. That is excellent production.
Against RU that same year he completed 78% for 307 yards with 11.2 ypa and three TDs. You can’t ask for better QB play than that and he was responsible for 21 points in a 41-21 win.
You can point to those games and say ‘Yeah, but they were blow out wins‘ but the truth is that Sunseri made them that way. Had he played poorly in those games, as some fans believe he has done in every game he’s played in, the scores would have been 21-20, 17-14 and 20-21.
Hell, throw in the 33-20 SYR win last season where he went 25/34 (76%) for 259 yards and a TD when the rest of the offense had a total of 74 yards running the ball. He was getting sacked like crazy and didn’t lose composure in the 4th quarter of that game. He sure did contribute directly to winning there.
You know what? Let’s add the Louisville game last year onto that list also. He had a 73% completion rate for 196 yards and a TD, rushed for a second TD and executed 50%, 7 of14, third down conversion attempts in a 21-14 win.
Right there are five games where he played very well and was a main contributor to the wins. So let’s not buy into the idea that what Sunseri has done for PITT is 100% negative because that just isn’t true. He has shown in the past that he has talent to draw on and the ability to get the job done enough to put the “He’s not a D1 QB” idea to rest.
He may not be the QB we all want him to be and he certainly has had enough terrible play to merit major criticism, but he’s also done some very good things for the Panthers and that has to be fairly recognized when we are talking about PITT’s QB situation going into the 2012 season.