Pitt Sacks Ohio 20-10; earn 1st win of the season
(Pittsburgh,PA) After last week’s 30-14 loss to Virginia, Pitt Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi promised that his team made some adjustments and that all will see them when they welcomed the Ohio Bobcats to Heinz Field, and those ‘adjustments’ were evident as they used a balanced attack in a 20-10 victory that evened their overall record at 1-1 (0-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference)
Quarterback Kenny Pickett showed the most improvement as he shook off early 1st quarter ‘cobwebs’ and passed for a career-high 321 yards and a TD, 138 of those yards to Wide Reciever Maurice Ffrench who also had a 75-yard TD pass that gave the Panthers their first TD and the running game was established as they ran for 160 yards (AJ Davis a career-high 89 and freshman Vincent Davis had 50 with his first-career TD) K Alex Kessman added 2 FGs to help Pitt’s cause.
“All right, where do I start?” Said Narduzzi “Obviously it’s a good win. There’s no such thing as a bad win. But there’s still a lot of things we’ve got to clean up. But I do think we made some major improvements from week 1 to week 2. I thought Kenny did a heck of a job throwing the ball. I thought his feet were good in the pocket. We showed some spurts of being able to run the football.
But still made some critical errors in the game that we’ve got to get out of our system. You know, the unforced errors with false starts, I can tell you guys, I wouldn’t even say on one hand, we may have had two the entire month of August as far as — we just don’t do that. And I could tell you last year we had 15 through the month of August. So, I don’t get that at all.”
Regarding the running game, Narduzzi said “We’re gonna play the guy that’s hot, we’re gonna try until we find the right guy.”
Pitt’s defense truly told the story as they held the Bobcats to a TD and a FG, but the most-telling stat was their 6 sacks on Ohio QB Nathan Rourke. Defensive End Jaylen Twyman made a name for himself as he sacked Rourke 3 times, becoming the first Pitt D-tackle since Aaron Donald vs. Utah in 2011. Twyman’s performance made a difference to a team that lost DT Keyshawn Camp and DE Rashad Weaver for the season.
“I want to tell you we had some magic out there, sprinkled some pixie dust but they just played football” Narduzzi speaking on the great DL play without Weaver and Camp. When asked if Twyman reminds him of Aaron Donald, Narduzzi responded “Let’s not go too far, Donald is a legend”.
I thought Devin Danielson had a heck of a sack. We should have had a pick-six where he knocked the guard right into the quarterback and that caused that ball down on about the 7-yard line, 6-yard line. Should have had a pick-six there.”
Despite their dominance over Ohio, Narduzzi had high praise for Ohio “They’re gonna win the MAC (Metro Athletic Conference) I told you Clemson would win the national championship, they’re gonna win the MAC.”
Pitt will now turn their attention to the 15th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, as they will travel to Happy Valley for a Noon match-up next Saturday. Pickett must use this performance as motivation against a team that held him to only 55 yards in a 51-6 blowout. That game was at Heinz Field. He and the Panthers must tune out the Beaver Stadium crowd to pull off a possible upset. After that? They welcome Central Florida to Heinz Field. The next 2 weeks will truly be a test of the ages for the Panthers.