Pitt Puts the ‘Boom’ on New Hampshire, 77-7
[Pittsburgh,PA] After Pitt’s stunning 44-41 loss to Western Michigan a week ago, they knew that a statement would need to be made to show that they are not prone to taking what certain opponent for granted because of their conference or status. It has been proven over the years that a lot of teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) are capable of upsetting Division 1 teams and the Panthers were reminded of that.
Enter the New Hampshire Wildcats, who are also from the FCS Subdivision (Colonial Athletic Association) who came into Heinz Field Saturday to face the Panthers. But this time, Pitt showed that they learned their lesson as they easily dispatched the Wildcats in a 77-7 rout.
“Obviously, that’s what it’s supposed to look like. I was just proud of our kids.” Said Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi “We were a little banged up even coming into the game, had some guys who didn’t play, but kids came out and played with some energy, and it’s just the way you want to bounce back from a week ago. We’ve still got a ways to go in a lot of different phases, and we’re going to get better. The preseason is over, and we get to go into ACC play, and I think they’re excited about that. New Hampshire is a good football team. I was scared of that quarterback coming in. I almost feel bad it went down like that. Sean McDonnell is a great guy, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”
It was truly a record performance by the Panthers who set a school record in total offense (707) yards in total offense (455 pass/252 rush). The prior record was 654 yards (492 rush/162 pass) in a 52-22 win over Virginia Tech on Nov. 10, 2018. And their seventy-seven points marked its highest since an 88-0 victory over Westminster on Oct. 30, 1926.
Pitt has scored 40+ points in four consecutive games to start a season for the first time ever.
We’re 3-1. It’s where we are. I think our offense is playing at a high level. Said Narduzzi “I think we’re throwing the ball well. I think we ran a little bit better. It’s good to see Rodney and Izzy get going. We know Vince has got some things and it was — you could see Rodney just needed to get in a groove, and with our second offensive line he was out there getting some yards.”
Pitt Senior QB Kenny Pickett continued his hot start as he finished the game passing 24-28 for 403 yards and 5 TDs and one rush for a TD (11 passing TDs in 2 weeks) It marked the third 400-yard passing game of his career. Pickett is the only player in Pitt history with multiple 400-yard passing games.“Yeah, more confident. Receivers are catching the ball, too.” Said Narduzzi when asked about his QB “Really helps when they’re catching it at a high rate. Knock on some wood there; they’redoing a good job catching the football.
Again, I give to credit to Coach Whip and Coach Marion, just the things he does, the drills that he does to make sure that they’re making those contested catches and then getting yards after the catch. It takes 11. It’s not Kenny all by himself, but he’s got an offensive line to protect him and give him time to make those throws and he’s got guys making catches.”
Three of Pickett’s TDs went to WR Jordan Addison, who caught six passes for a career-high 179 yards. “He’s a football player. He’s fast, he’s explosive. You see the YAC he’s getting. People are at his ankles, and he’s making plays.”-Said Narduzzi.
Pitt’s running game got a boost as it rushed for 252 yards, led by first-year RB Rodney
Hammond III’s 100 yards and 3 TDs. It was the Panthers’ first 100-yard rushing performance of the season. He is the first freshman to rush for 100 yards since V’Lique Carter (137 vs. Duke, Oct. 27, 2018). Hammond is the first Pitt freshman to rush for three TDs in a game since Dion Lewis (3 vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 5, 2009)
“Yeah, he’s strong, he’s physical, gets north and south, and he just wiggles through. He’s just going to continue to get better, I think.”-Said Narduzzi. On defense, the Panthers held the Wildcats to a TD, but also scored points as CB Damarri Mathis returned a pass for thirty-five yards for a TD and the unit also scored the first points of the game on a Safety when linebacker Phil Campbell III forced an intentional grounding penalty on UNH quarterback Bret Edwards in the end zone. It marked the Panthers’ first safety since Oct. 27, 2018, in a 54-45 victory over Duke. (The Blue Devils lateraled through the back of the end zone on a kickoff.)
So now the Panthers will prepare for Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play when they travel to Atlanta to face the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (2-2, 1-1 ACC) Next Saturday.
“There’s nothing to gain; 24 hours, we’ll put that one to bed and get ready for real football.”-Said Narduzzi.
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