Pitt Scores 35 In The Second Quarter, Defeats Louisville For 8th Win


Pitt was due for an offensive explosion in front its fans in Heinz Field this year.  Having gone 5-1 on the road, Pitt had lost its past two home games to North Carolina and Notre Dame.

Louisville is definitely not the caliber of those two teams, and it showed Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of about 42k.

Junior quarterback Nathan Peterman threw four touchdowns in the second quarter, and Pitt pulled away from the Cardinals when cornerback Avonte Maddox returned an interception to make it 42-17.

Louisville made a comeback, cutting the lead to 8 in the fourth quarter, but the Pitt defense stood tall, lead by defensive end Ejuan Price‘s five sacks, as the Panthers (8-3, 6-1 ACC) won 45-34.

When Louisville was coming back, you did not see the usual sense of panic in years past.  The Pat Narduzzi effect is evident, and he has his team believing they can beat anyone.

Thus far, Pitt has beaten everyone that they theoretically should have “on paper.”  In previous seasons, Pitt found a way to blow these games.  You can tell there is change in the air.

Pitt’s chances of the ACC Coastal title were lost when No. 12 North Carolina defeated Virginia Tech 30-27 in overtime, in Hokies’ head coach Frank Beamer’s final home game.  It felt as though Virginia Tech would somehow pull off the upset, but it did not happen.

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Regardless, Pitt is not the usual 6-6 anymore, as they are now 8-3, and looking for their 9th and possibly 10th wins of the season in a very good bowl game.

Peterman finished the game 22 of 34 passing for 232 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Redshirt freshman running back Qadree Ollison racked up 152 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.

Ollison passed the 1,000 yards rushing mark, in a season where we figured ACC Player of the Year James Conner would be a potential Heisman candidate.  The “Next Man Up” mentality has certainly worked for Pitt.

Tyler Boyd put on a show at Heinz Field, having 11 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, as well as 4 carries for 50 yards.  Pitt had 9 different players with at least one reception, showing that Peterman continues to gain confidence and target other receivers.

Redshirt freshman fullback George Aston became another weapon for the Panthers, as he hauled in 3 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns.

For Louisville (6-5, 5-3 ACC), quarterback Kyle Bolin was 10 of 20 for 175 yards for two touchdowns and one interception.   He was replaced for Lamar Jackson, who was 9 of 17 for 141 yards and one touchdown.

The Cardinals could not run the ball at all, finishing with a total of -1 yards.

Their success came through the air, as wide receiver Jamari Staples hauled in 9 catches for 194 yards and a touchdown.  The Panthers gave up some long pass plays of 57, 39, and 29, which kept them in the game.

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  • After Louisville kicked a field goal to open up the scoring, Pitt responded with a 9-play, 87 yard drive capped off by an Ollison 1-yard touchdown.

    A 29-yard Bolin to Keith Towbridge touchdown gave Louisville an early 10-7 lead in the first quarter.

    In the beginning of the second quarter, Louisville managed a punt of only 19 yards, and it took Pitt 1 play to score a touchdown, as Peterman hit Tyler Boyd for a 35-yard strike.

    The second quarter was an onslaught for the Panthers, as Peterman connected with Dontez Ford for a 32-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 21-10.

    Peterman then connected with Aston for a 4-yard TD to make it 28-10, and the Cardinals responded with a Bolin to Traveon Samuel 18-yard TD to cut the lead to 11.

    On the next drive, Peterman hit Aston again for a 4-yard TD to make it 35-17, then Bolin was sacked by Ejuan Price, and intercepted by Maddox for a 30-yard touchdown return to blow the game open at 42-17.

    With only 32 seconds left until halftime, Louisville made a QB change, and Jackson was intercepted by Jordan Whitehead, but a pass interference call on Reggie Mitchell gave them life.  The Cardinals responded with a quick 2-pass touchdown drive, as Jackson connected with Staples on a 49-yard score with 3 seconds left in the half.

    Louisville kicked and field goal and scored the lone touchdown with a Jackson 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 42-34. Opposite of previous games, the Pitt offense was held in check for most of the second half, only mustering up a field goal in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 45-34.

    Pitt continues to control the ball, as they had possession for nearly 38 minutes, had more first downs (25-17), won the turnover battle 1-0, and racked up more yards (476-354).

    First year head coach Pat Narduzzi has Pitt above mediocrity, and his Panthers have the opportunity for 10 wins for only the second time since the 1980s.

    Tyler Boyd on the successful season thus far at Pitt: “We’re all preaching to each other, this bunch can do it, this bunch can lead Pitt and bring Pitt back to the top and put Pitt back on the map. We’re pulling it out and it’s amazing to us.”

    One could only imagine if Conner did not get hurt, but Ollison has been a reliable runner, and the redshirt freshman  is continuing to improve.

    Pitt’s defense continued to play aggressive, shutting down the running game and sacking the quarterbacks several times.  Ejuan Price was everywhere, providing much pressure and five sacks in one game.  True freshman safety Jordan Whitehead appears to be the next Pitt great, as he was all over the field on defense, as well as some offense.  He is a weapon that Iowa and North Carolina did not face on Pitt’s offense at the time.


    Pitt will host Miami next Friday at noon for its final regular season game.

    In looking at Pitt’s three losses, Iowa is now 11-0, Notre Dame is 10-1, and North Carolina is 10-1.  With a combined 31-2 record, it is hard to complain about any of these losses.

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    There is a possibility that all 3 of those teams could make the college football playoff.

    I currently think that the playoffs are 1. Clemson, 2. Alabama, 3. Notre Dame, and 4. Iowa, as No. 3 Ohio State fell to No. 9 Michigan State on a last-second field goal.  Those four control their own destiny in my opinion.

    The ACC Championship game will be played between Clemson and North Carolina.  In my season preview article, I predicted it to be Clemson vs Pitt, and that Pitt would finish 10-3.  So close, but I’d consider Pitt’s season a success.