Column: Pitt, Chryst drop ball again … again … 29

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James Conner is consoled by Chad Voytik after his 74-yard run ends in a fumble. — PETE MADIA / PITT ATHLETICS

DEJAN KOVACEVIC, DK ON PITTSBURGH SPORTS

They’re college kids. Student-athletes, as the label goes.

Anyone searching for an isolated answer as to how Pitt could possibly lose fumbles on each of its first five possessions and give up 465 yards on the ground Saturday at Heinz Field would do well to remember that simple fact a lot more than the 56-28 final in Georgia Tech’s favor.

They don’t do this for a living. But for a tiny handful, they never will. It’s intramural ball, only with fancy uniforms, NFL-scale stadiums and national TV. They’re classmates, best buds, and they live and die with each other’s successes and failures.

When one hurts, they all do.

When one messes up … wow, on this day, they all do.

But again, that’s the isolated view. Looking from the fuller context of a Pitt football program that’s been perennially unable to poke through a self-constructed ceiling, if we’re being completely candid, this felt anything but fluky.

“I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what happened,” senior safety Ray Vinopal was summing up about as well as anyone could. “I just know that it’s really disappointing. It is.”

Yeah, sure is.

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