Pitt 31 Syracuse 14

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Head Coach Pat Narduzzi (Photo Credit: Vince Butts-UMT Sports)

                    #17 Pitt Beats Syracuse 31-14 for their 10th Victory

By Ray Porter Jr. Urban Media Today

The Pitt Panthers 2021 season has been a special one as they continue to make history. Last week, they beat the Virginia Cavaliers for their 2nd Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Division title, and this week, they beat the Syracuse Orange 31-14 for their 10th regular season win for the first time since 1981. They have also earned their 7th ACC win for the first time since they’ve joined the conference in 2014. They are also 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1981 and are undefeated for the first time since 1987.

“Another victory, we started a bit slow, maybe thinking about next week.” Said Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi “In my opinion, we played okay. We must do a lot better next week to win a championship, but my hat is off to that team in that room. We made a lot of plays. It has been 40 years since we have won 10 games. It is hard to win 10 games.”

The 1981 Pitt team had a special QB named Dan Marino who set every Pitt passing record and the 2021 Pitt team also has a special QB named Kenny Pickett who has been breaking several of Marino’s records. In the win against Syracuse, Pickett went 28/38 for 209 yards, 4 TDs and an interception. His 4 TDs gives him 40 on the season, the first Pitt QB to ever reach that plateau. He also tied Marino’s career mark for TDs with 79.

“Offensively, we knew we had a good test coming in,” Pickett said. “Our defense did a great job slowing them down and we kind of just got into our rhythm on offense.”

 

 

 

 

The Panthers QB is also a Maxwell and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards, as well as candidate for ACC Player of the Year award and discussions for the Heisman Trophy.

“This was a legacy game to go down in history as one of the teams to win 10 games, so it’s really special,” Pickett said.

After falling behind 7-0, Pickett led the Panthers to 28 unanswered point to take control of the game. Pickett would find WR (and Biletnikoff Award finalist) Jordan Addison (11 rec, 81 yards) for 2 TDs, to RB Rodney Hammond Jr and TE Gavin Bartholomew for the other 2. Pitt K Sam Scarton would add the final points when he connected for a 26-yard FG in the 4th quarter.

Addison also has 17 receiving TDs which is the most in the nation.

Pitt’s defense was also impressive as not only did they hold Syracuse to only 2 TDs, but they also held RB Sean Trucker (the nation’s 3rd leading rusher) to a season-low 29 yards on 13 carries. They also made it miserable for Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader (17/24, 217 yards, 2 TDs) as they sacked him 5 times. The Panthers also forced a fumble that was recovered by LB SirVocea Dennis.

The Panthers will now prepare to face ACC Atlantic Division Champion Wake Forest (10-2, 7- 1) in the ACC Championship. Their goal is to show that they are a much-improved team in their second-ever appearance in this game (They lost 42-10 to Clemson in 2018) and get the victory.

“We played a lot of guys today; our goal was to keep them fresh”. Said Narduzzi “It’s gonna be a fun week.”

Ray Porter Jr July 2021

Please e-mail Ray at Rayporterjr72@gmail.com

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www.PittsburghPanthers.com