Turnovers Hurt Pitt as they Fall 26-19 to BC
[Pittsburgh,Pa] Whenever the Pitt Panthers football team is prepared to play their opponent, they usually execute well and end up beating their opponent. However, whenever they aren’t prepared to play their opponent, they usually make the kind of mistakes that end up costing them the game. Such was the case when they welcomed Boston College to Heinz Field and fell to them in defeat 26-19 in their final regular season game in which they honored their Senior Class.
“Turnovers, cost four field goals.” Said Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi “We gave them 12 points off four turnovers. Very well could have been 28. But you’re not going to win any football games turning the football over four times. False starts. Got the ball down to the one. Ended up getting a field goal because we had a false start. Those details aren’t taken care of. We’ve got to get better.”
The Bowl-eligible Eagles (6-6, 4-4 ACC) were led by the powerful running of RB AJ Dillion who finished the game with 178 yards on 38 carries and a 61-yard TD that snatched Pitt’s brief 16-13 lead in the 3rd quarter. As a team, the Eagles rushed for 264 yards.
As Narduzzi stated, what really doomed the Panthers (7-5, 4-4 ACC) were the 4 turnovers. 2 first-half ones were fumbled out of the hands of Wide Receiver Jared Wayne and Running Back Vincent Davis Jr. and the 2 second-half ones were a result of Quarterback Kenny Pickett’s Red Zone interception and a fumble by RB AJ Davis. Such turnovers can be a bit too much to overcome, and the Panthers proved that in this game.
“We give Boston College credit; AJ Dillion is a good back.” Said Narduzzi. “We had 4 turnovers, and only lost by 7. I feel bad for the Seniors after playing like that. There’s no excuse for it. We’ve gotta be better as coaches and they gotta be better as players.
The Panthers had plenty of chances to take control of this game. But in addition to the turnovers, the offense failed to get the ball into the end-zone as those opportunities resulted in Alex Kessman field goals. On the day, Kessman had 4 FGs to match Boston College’s Aaron Boumerhi who also had 4.
In addition to the Dillion TD, Eagles QB Dennis Grosel also found Tight End Hunter Long for a 25- yard TD. He only passed for 123 yards (9-19 passing), but he didn’t turn the ball over. He also rushed for 51 yards on 10 carries.
Pickett passed for 323 yards (30-40 passing) but he failed to lead his team into the endzone along with the costly interception. Pitt’s only TD was the result of Vincent Davis’s 39-run in the Wildcat Formation which gave the Panthers a brief 16-13 lead. Davis would finish the game with 45 yards rushing. Wayne had a career-high game, catching 6 passes for 100 yards, and Shocky Jacques-Louis also finished with 80 yards on 6 catches, but they were unable to convert those yards into points. WR Maurice Ffrench returned and led Pitt with 9 catches to go with 79 yards.
The defense did what they could to keep Pitt in the game as they held Boston College to only 2 TDs, but the offense wasn’t able to consistently capitalize on those opportunities.
So now the Panthers will prepare for their Bowl game, which they will find out on Sunday December 8th. The best thing they can do and be grateful for one more game in which they can properly prepare to play their opponent with the goal of finishing the season with 8 wins and send their Seniors out on a high note.
“No question we’re frustrated.” Said Narduzzi “I don’t think we’re playing our best. We should be better than what we are right now. Again, we got a good football team. It’s not easy. I mean, BC came in, they’re hungry, trying to get a bowl game themselves. They played better than we did. We didn’t execute.”
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