Pitt Puts a 55-0 Smackdown on Austin Peay
(Pittsburgh,PA) The college football season began for the Pitt Panthers as welcomed the Austin Peay Governors to Heinz Field for a 4pm matchup. With the stands being empty due to Covid-19 safety guidelines, the Panthers manhandled the Governors in a 55-0 beatdown. In fact, since Pitt scored most of their points in the first half, both teams mutually agreed to play 10-minute 3rd and 4th quarters.
Just what we needed in 2020…
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 12, 2020
To slightly quote Gil Scott-Heron: “The Revolution was not televised (if you didn’t have the ACC Network), but this revolution was truly live.”
It was also the first time Pitt wore white jerseys Pitt is wearing white at home for the first time since the 1976 Penn State game at Three Rivers Stadium when Penn State was technically the home team for that game. The Panthers wore their white because Austin Peay only has dark jerseys.
“I was really happy, obviously, we’re 1-0. And we talked all week just about coming out and making a statement.” Said Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, now in his 6th season. “I told the guys probably about a week and a half ago, maybe two and a half weeks ago, I guess when camp broke we started working on Austin Peay, that we were going to come out and make a statement. And since I have been here, I felt like we have not come out and exploded against anybody. I don’t want to say played down, but the big emphasis today was to come out and play up and we were going to show that we were a different football team and really make a statement to the country about who we are and what kind of weapons we have on really all three phases of the game.
That was so much fun!
Thank you to @theACC for giving us the opportunity to play today. And thank you to everyone who had a role in making that game a reality.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 13, 2020
Obviously, we had some guys that did not play today or were and absent. I am not going to talk about those guys. I am going to talk about the guys that are here. And again, you guys know what is going on. You guys know what the climate is. There might be somebody missing in the box out of you guys as well.”
The Panthers played almost-perfect football in all 3 phases of the game (Offense, Defense, special team) as they ‘pitched’ the shutout. On offense, quarterback Kenny Pickett led the way going 14-20 for 277 yards passing and a TD pass and run before taking a seat at halftime. Pickett showed poise and confidence and played error-free.
Pickett’s TD pass was to receiver (and Maryland transfer) DJ Turner who showed some social distancing as he was all alone on his 57-yard run into the end zone. He led Pitt with 76 receiving yards. Pickett also found receivers Jaylon Barden and Shocky Jacques-Louis for 68-yard passes apiece, but neither ended up being touchdowns.
But the running backs were truly the stars on offense as they rushed for a combined 147 yards and 5 TDs. It is the first time the Panthers had 5 rushes TDs since 2016 when they beat Syracuse in that 76-61 shootout victory. Vincent Davis led all Pitt RBs with 2 TDs, Pickett, Todd Sibley Jr, and Freshmen Daniel Carter and Israel Abanikanda, who both scored their first collegiate TDs.
Today, we missed you.
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 13, 2020
On defense, the Panthers were perfect. The didn’t give up a single score and when the Governors got to the Pitt 15 yard line thanks to a 57-yard pass from quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall to receiver Baniko Harley, the Panthers still held them to 0 points when K Cole Deeds missed a 35- yard FG attempt.
Pitt sacked Oatsvall 3 times with DE Davon Hayes getting 2, and Safety Paris Ford intercepted him once. (The Panthers had 2 as a team as Erick Hallett intercepted one in the 4th quarter. As a result, the Panthers are 1-0 and will begin Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play September 19th, when they host the Syracuse Orange, who suffered a rout of their own as they were beaten 31-6 by North Carolina.
And they will see if they can continue the revolution.
“So, we’ll look at the tape. It was not obviously as clean at least offensively as I would like it to be. I thought defensively we did some good things and we saw Dayon Hayes, our little hometown hero, come in there and get two sacks.” Said Narduzzi “One was a strip sack. So, there was a lot of good things. I mean, we’ve got to look at that tape and maybe we got to find a place for Dayon to come in there and get a pass rush because he had a heck of a speed rush early against their 2s, of course. But overall, hey, we’re 1-0 and I’m excited about where we are.”