Pitt 54 Duke 29

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                                  Pitt Defeats Duke 54-29

In the 2004 film Coach Carter, Samuel L. Jackson’s character Ken Carter (Richmon High School’s basketball coach) told his team that ‘Just because you deserve it, doesn’t mean they’re going to give it to you. Sometimes, you gotta take what’s yours.” After a tough loss to the Miami Hurricanes a week ago, the Pitt Panthers were reminded of Coach Carter’s quote and made sure that it they would apply it to their Saturday game vs. the Duke Blue Devils.

 


And although they were favored by 21 points, Pitt knew they had to be ready for a Blue Devils team that was ready to play the Spoiler role and not just roll over against Pitt. If the Panthers wanted this win, they had to take it, which they did in a 54-29 win vs. Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

“Road victories are big and we got a lot of guys in there that played,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said.

But in the first quarter, it appeared that the Panthers were doing everything they could to give the game to the Blue Devils, as they fumbled away two opportunities, which allowed the Blue Devils to take an early 12-7 lead. Some of those points were a result of a Safety when Pitt RB Vincent Davis was tacked in his own end zone.

Like they have all season, the Panthers didn’t panic or let frustration set in as they used the second quarter to snatch the momentum and the lead away from the Blue Devils and never relinquish it the rest of the game. QB Kenny Pickett was articulate as he led Pitt to 23 unanswered points en route to a 30-19 Halftime lead as he passed for a 47-yard TD to WR Jordan Addison (7 Rec, 171 yards) and a 22-yard TD run. K Sam Scarton also added 2 FGs. In the 3rd quarter, the Panthers continued the scoring as Pickett found TE Gavin Bartholomew for a 29-yard TD and a 2nd TD to Addison. Pickett would finish the day passing for 415 yards, 3 TDs and a rush TD.

 

 


Pickett posted his 14th game with 300+ passing yards, tying a Pitt record held by Alex Van Pelt (1989-92). It was the fifth 400-yard passing game of his career, extending his own school record. Pickett also eclipsed 3,000 yards passing on the season. He becomes first Pitt QB with two 3,000-yard passing seasons (2019). Only four other Pitt quarterbacks have thrown for 3,000 yards in a season. He is also the first Pitt quarterback to pass for multiple TDs in each of the first nine games of a season.

“Just got back into a rhythm, playing our game,” Said Pickett, “Getting into the rhythm of the game.

Freshman RB Rodney Hammond led Pitt with 81 yards and added a late TD.

Addison’s 47-yard catch in the second quarter gave him 11 touchdown receptions, ranking among the nation’s leaders. That’s the most for a Pittsburgh player since Larry Fitzgerald’s 22 in 2003. Addison scored in the third quarter on a 2-yard play that was ruled a rushing play.

 


“He’s having an incredible year,” Pickett said. “Something I think we all saw coming.”

On defense, Pitt forced two turnovers on the day. John Morgan recovered a fumble on the opening drive of the game, which he then fumbled but Brandon Hill was there to scoop the ball up for the Panthers. John Petrishen also secured an interception in the fourth quarter. He leads Pitt with three INTs this year. He also finished with a career-high 13 tackles, leading all players in the game. Pitt’s defense finished with six sacks. The Panthers are now 18-1 under Narduzzi when recording 5+ sacks. Cam Bright led the Pitt pass rush and finished with a career-best 2.5 sacks in the contest.

The Panthers (7-2, 4-1 ACC) must now prepare for what may be their biggest game of the season as they travel back to Heinz Field to host the North Carolina Tar Heels (5-4, 3-3 ACC). Who pulled off a huge upset over then-undefeated Wake Forest from the Atlantic Division (8-1, 5-0 ACC) A Pitt win would put them closer to their 2nd Costal Division title in 4 seasons, but they know they must continue to fight for what they feel they deserve.

Ray Porter Jr July 2021

Please e-mail Ray at rayporterjr72@gmail.com

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