In Week 12 Pitt football must be careful to avoid getting upset by a North Carolina team that is better than advertised.
It’s Week 12 of the college football season, and to this point in the 2019-20 season, Pitt football has been a pleasant surprise. Behind a feisty defense, Pat Narduzzi’s group sits at 6-3 on the season and has a shot at finishing the year among the top 25 teams in the nation. The offense has been a bit of a disaster, but as long as the wins keep coming, nobody can complain. The question, of course, is, will the winning continue this week? With a tough matchup against a frisky North Carolina team, that’s not guaranteed.
Though they sit at just 4-5, North Carolina is a team that should not be taken lightly. Mack Brown‘s return has energized the program and it’s shown in games against tough competition. Had it not been for an ill-fated two-point conversion against Clemson, this team would be highly regarded as one of college football’s true surprises. Many of Pitt’s wins have come in incredibly close games, but if they let UNC hang around, the Panthers may live to regret it.
For Pitt to win, they will need to do what they’ve done all season – rely on the defense. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is a dangerous thrower and is capable of carving up any defense. Fortunately, Pitt may have the answer in the form of one of the NCAA’s best pass-rushes. UNC’s offensive line has been shaky all season long. Considering Pitt’s talent in the front seven, that line may be in for a long day. If Pitt can throw Howell off his game and get anything out of their own struggling offense, they should be able to pick up win number seven.
All in all, Pitt is the more talented team in this game, and that provides quite the advantage. That said, North Carolina plays hard and we’ve already seen them pull off a couple of unexpected wins. Pitt has a habit of playing down to their competition, but if the Panthers let UNC hang around, they may regret it. This one should end in another win for Pitt football, but only if they can avoid what looks like a classic trap game scenario.