ACC

Pitt Panthers vs Delaware Blue Hens Game Day Preview

Pitt Panthers

Welcome to the most comprehensive Pitt Panthers Game Day Preview on the internet! This is your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about Pitt and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Story, Pitt’s Keys to Victory, Score Prediction, Game Information, a detailed breakdown of each team, Individual Stats, and Team Stats. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

 

PANTHERS LOOK TO AVOID ANY LETDOWNS AGAINST DELAWARE AFTER HUGE WIN VS UCF

When the Pitt Panthers take the field this Saturday against the Delaware Blue Hens, don’t expect Panther head coach Pat Narduzzi to allow his team to look past the FCS school one bit.

“I tell our kids all the time, ‘These games have got to be personal,’ ” Narduzzi said Monday during his news conference. “It’s personal for me.”

Delaware brings back tough memories for Narduzzi, who once was a 13 year old ball boy for his father, Bill Narduzzi, then the coach at Youngstown State.

The year was 1979, and YSU lost two games that season– both to Delaware, but the 2nd game hurt the worst, as it was for the National Championship.

“I’ll never forget 1979,” Narduzzi said. “I’ll never forget getting beat in Austintown Fitch Stadium or I’ll never forget getting beat in the national championship game down in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Youngstown (was) expected to win a championship. We didn’t get it done because of Delaware. I can see that field. I can see the locker room after the game. It’s personal.”

Now Narduzzi has a chance to sic his Panthers upon the Blue Hens, a week after upsetting #15 UCF 35-34 at Heinz Field.

In that game, Pitt held a 21-0 lead, and had the ball, before A.J. Davis fumbled and gave the Knights a much needed break. UCF took that momentum and rattled off 31 straight points.

In any other season during a Pitt game, one could probably head for the exits early and start screaming about the Panthers “Pitting again”, but, not this time…

This time Pitt stared adversity right in the eye, then proceeded to knock it right on it’s respective ass.

Down six after a UCF field goal, Pitt had one final chance to stun the world, and stun it they did.

On 4th and goal from the UCF three yard line, Kenny Pickett lined up under center before walking to his right, pretending to call an audible. The ball was then direct snapped to A.J. Davis, who pitched the ball the Aaron Mathews, who rolled to the right, Pickett meanwhile, had slipped into the end-zone. Mathews cocked his arm back and fired a pass right to the waiting hands of Pickett, who corralled the ball before rolling over, and then popping up to the frenzied crowd who just watched the Panthers do the impossible, and send UCF to their first regular season loss since 2016.

“We were thinking about changing it,” quarterback Kenny Pickett said of the play call.

‘Pitt Special’, the same play used as ‘Eagles Special’ by the Philadelphia Eagles to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl a few years ago, was never in doubt by Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.

“Nah,” Whipple said, according to Pickett. “It’s going to be a walk-in. It’s going to be six.”

This week, Pitt’s defense is ready to continue it’s dominant ways against a Blue Hens team that can light up a scoreboard. The Hens are putting up 31 points a game.

Last week vs UCF, the defense only gave up just three touchdowns, one courtesy of a short field from A.J. Davis’ unfortunate fumble. The Knights were team that had scored 31 or more points in 29 straight games.

After going the first three games without a turnover, Pitt collected two interceptions against UCF.

Pitt’s players have placed a basketball hoop on their sideline, with the player who collects the turnover dunking the ball through the hoop as his teammates celebrate around him.

Defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman, who has 5.5 sacks on the season, would like to get his turn soon.

“We’re looking forward to doing more of those things and doing some trick dunks,” said Twyman.

It’s definitely a unique celebration, as compared to some other team’s displays.

“We decided as a defense to bring some juice,” said defensive end Patrick Jones II. “Everybody has chains and stuff, so we decided to think of something out of the box.”

One thing coach Narduzzi has pounded into the defensive player’s heads is only the upcoming game counts. All of the sacks and turnovers don’t mean anything.

“I see it, but then again I don’t,” Twyman said about his sack totals. “I try to just keep moving on. Coach Narduzzi always says, ‘Forget about what happened last week. What are you going to do this week?’

“So I have zero sacks this week as far as I see it.”

Delaware’s quarterback, Nolan Henderson, had better be prepared for Pitt’s pass rush. The Blue Hens have seen their QB’s brought down 13 times this season.

 

Pitt Keys to Victory

  1. No Letdowns: Huge win last week with ACC schedule resuming next week. No time for games. Rock this team.
  2. Attack: Come out flying both offensively and defensively. Set the mood early.
  3. Beware the Hen Tight Ends: Delaware utilizes the tight end position very well. Keep them contained.

 

Prediction

This is a game where the Panthers need to come out fired up and ready to crash through walls. Every opponent should always be treated with extreme prejudice.

Delaware does not protect their QB’s well. They have given up 13 sacks so far this season, and Pitt has racked up 18 sacks so far in 2019.

Did Pat Narduzzi expect such a ferocious pass rush after losing both Rashad Weaver and Keyshon Camp for the year?

“Did I expect it? Yes, that’s what we expect. We’ve expected it before and didn’t get it,” Narduzzi said. “It’s a pleasant surprise when guys are making plays, and they tell me they’re getting a sack. (Redshirt freshman end) John Morgan said, ‘Coach, I’m getting a sack Saturday (against Delaware).’

“We’ll find out. I want to see John Morgan get a sack. He’s had the three best days of practice he’s had (this week).”

Narduzzi said his Panthers play like they practice.

“If it’s all scheme, you’re going to lose the scheme battle sometimes,” he said. “Schematically, if you can get it perfect, as a coach, that’s great. If you can’t, someone has to make a play. We’ve had guys get off blocks and go.”

The Panther offense has gotten better and more proficient with each game played. Last week Pitt racked up 439 total yards, 196 via the ground game, a huge part of the offense that had been missing the first three games of the year.

Look for Pitt to bring the dogs on defense and keep Delaware’s offense under wraps, and for the offense to ramp up their game and cruise to an easy victory before the ACC schedule resumes next week, when the Panthers travel to Duke.

Pitt 45 Delaware 14

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Game Information

Pitt Panthers vs Delaware Blue hens

  • Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA. | Field: Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Game-time: Saturday, September 28th, at 12:30 p.m. ET
  • Game Tickets Link
  • TV: AT&T SportsNet | Announcers: Tom Werme (play-by-play) James Bates (analyst) | Lyndsay Rowley (reporter)
  • Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 93.7 The Fan | Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Pat Bostick (analyst) | Larry Richert (reporter)
  • Online Radio: 937thefan.radio.com
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 99, XM Channel 194, Internet Channel 956
  • Weather at Kickoff: 85 and sunny. 15% of rain. Winds SW 10 mph.
  • Vegas Line: Pitt -27.5

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Pitt Panthers vs Delaware Blue Hens History

Series History: Began in 2014

  • Pitt is 1-0 overall vs Delaware
  • At Home: 1-0
  • On Road: 0-0
  • Neutral Site: 0-0
  • ACC Series: N/A
  • Streak: Pitt won last meeting.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Aug. 30, 2014 (Pitt 62, Delaware 0)

 

Did You Know?* 

  • Delaware is one of the most accomplished programs on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. The Blue Hens have been to the NCAA playoffs 21 times in their history, and have won six national championships.
  • The Panthers have played 17 prior games against FCS opponents and are 16-1 in those contests. This will be the sixth consecutive season that Pitt has played an FCS team dating back to 2014.
  • Pitt boasts one of the country’s most productive pass catching tandems in senior Maurice Ffrench (fourth nationally with 7.8 receptions per game) and junior Taysir Mack (15th with 6.8).
  • Junior quarterback Kenny Pickett has an active streak of 139 passing attempts without an interception (second longest in FBS). Pickett’s 1,102 total passing yards rank 16th nationally.
  • Pitt has displayed a potent pass rush, collecting 18 sacks through four games. The Panthers rank fourth nationally with an average of 4.5 sacks per game. Sophomore defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman ranks fourth with 1.38 sacks per contest (5.5 total).

    *Courtesy of pittsburghpanthers.com

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Pitt

A look at the Pitt Panthers!

Overall Record: 2-2 | ACC Record: 0-1 | Rank: N/A

Head Coach: Pat Narduzzi (5th Season with Pitt)

  • Lifetime Record: 30-26 (.535)

2019 Pitt Panthers Roster

Pitt Team Statistics / Defensive Stats

Previous Game: Pitt 35 UCF 34

 

Scouting the Panthers

OFFENSE (Pro Style)

 

Quarterback

Kenny Pickett*

Tough kid, good arm, and getting better each week under Mark Whipple’s offense. Utilizes his legs well and scrambles for extra yards.

  • Passing Yards: 1,102
  • TD Passes: 3
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Sacks: 9
  • Yards Rushing: 83
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 1
  • Receiving Yards: 3
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

 

Running Backs

A.J. Davis*

Talented ball carrier who is dangerous on the ground and through the air, especially on screens.

  • Yards Rushing: 184
  • Rushing TD’s: 2
  • Receptions: 12
  • Yards Receiving: 179
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Vincent Davis

The ultra quick Vincent Davis looks to utilize his speed  and agility to be a game-breaker for the Panthers.

  • Yards Rushing: 96
  • Rushing TD’s: 2
  • Receptions: 1
  • Yards Receiving: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Todd Sibley, Jr.

Like his fellow back Davis, yearning for a breakout season toting the rock for the Panthers.

  • Yards Rushing: 26
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 1
  • Yards Receiving: 2
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Maurice Ffrench*

One of the best returners in the game. Looking to take his receiving game to the next level in 2019.

  • Receptions: 31
  • Receiving Yards: 285
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Taysir Mack*

Runs great routes and makes the big catches in traffic.

  • Receptions: 27
  • Receiving Yards: 302
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Aaron Mathews*

Great blocker who would like to incorporate a few more catches intro his arsenal. Part time QB…

  • Receptions: 5
  • Receiving Yards: 71
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tre Tipton

Injured

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 81
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Dontavius Butler-Jenkins

Butler-Jenkins has stepped up his game in the absence of the injured Tre Tipton.

  • Receptions: 5
  • Receiving Yards: 52
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

V’lique Carter

Versatile player who also moonlights as a RB and at cornerback. Special athlete.

  • Receptions: 4
  • Receiving Yards: 11
  • Receiving TD’s: 0
  • Yards Rushing: 33
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Shocky Jaques-Louis

Has all the talent in the world. Will this be the year he displays all of it. Starts season not listed on the Two-Deep roster…

  • Receptions: 0
  • Receiving Yards: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0
  • Yards Rushing: 9
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

 

Tight Ends

Nakia Griffin-Stewart*

Physical player. A graduate transfer from Rutgers who will have one season of immediate eligibility at Pitt.

  • Receptions: 6
  • Receiving Yards: 75
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Will Gragg

Becoming a very reliable target across the middle for Kenny Pickett.

  • Receptions: 10
  • Receiving Yards: 61
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Grant Carrigan

  • Receptions: 0
  • Receiving Yards: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

OFFENSIVE LINE

Left Tackle: Carter Warren

Left Guard: Bryce Hargrove

Center: Jimmy Morrissey

Right Guard: Gabe Houy

Right Tackle: Nolan Ulizio

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

Defensive End: Patrick Jones II

Defensive Tackle: Jaylen Twyman

Defensive Tackle: Amir Watts/Devin Danielson

Defensive End: Deslin Alexandre

Money LB: Kylan Johnson

Mike LB: Saleem Brightwell/Elias Reynolds

Star LB: Cam Bright/Phil Campbell III

Cornerback: Dane Jackson

Strong Safety: Paris Ford

Free Safety: Damar Hamlin

Cornerback: Jason Pinnock/Damarri Mathis

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Alex Kessman

Needs to find his confidence. Can’t miss field goals under 30 yards… period. 

  • Extra Points: 10-10
  • FG: 3-8
  • 0-19:  0-1 | 20-29:  2-2 | 30-39:  0-1 | 40-49:  1-3 | 50+:  0-1
  • Long: 41

 

Punter

Kirk Christodoulou

  • Yards per Punt: 44.8

 

Kickoff Returner

Maurice Ffrench

Ffrench averaged 27.4 yards per return last year with two touchdowns.

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 23.0
  • Return TD’s: 0

 

Punt Returner

Maurice Ffrench

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 3.5
  • Return TD’s: 0

 

 

Pitt Injury Report (9/27/19)

  • Out: DL Rashad Weaver (ACL), DE Keyshon Camp (Knee), WR Tre Tipton (knee)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: None
  • Probable: None

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Delaware

A look at the Delaware Blue Hens!

Overall Record: 3-1 | CAA Record: 0-0 | Rank: N/A

Head Coach: Danny Rocco (3rd Season with Delaware)

  • Lifetime Record: 107-52 (.672) | 17-10 (.629) with Delaware

2019 Delaware Blue Hens Roster

Delaware Team Statistics, including Defensive Stats

Previous Game: Delaware 28 Penn 27

Scouting the Blue Hens

OFFENSE (Spread)

Quarterbacks

Nolan Henderson*

Henderson replaced Pat Kehoe in the Hens beating vs North Dakota State… has 58 yards on the ground but has been sacked eight times.

  • Passing Yards: 405
  • TD Passes: 5
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Sacks: 8
  • Yards Rushing: 58
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Pat Kehoe

Pocket QB that is prone to sacks and turnovers. Started first two games of the year.

  • Passing Yards: 479
  • TD Passes: 7
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Sacks: 5
  • Yards Rushing: 1
  • Rushing TD’s: 1

 

 

Running Backs

Will Knight*

Knight is Delaware’s top option at RB.

  • Yards Rushing: 236
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 7
  • Yards Receiving: 86
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Andre Robinson

Robinson is capable both running and catching the ball out of the backfield.

  • Yards Rushing: 204
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 15
  • Yards Receiving: 57
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

DeJoun Lee

  • Yards Rushing: 95
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 4
  • Yards Receiving: 29
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

 

Wide Receivers

Thyrick Pitts*

The Hens #1 receiver. 

  • Receptions: 17
  • Receiving Yards: 290
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Chichi Amachi*

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 153
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Gene Coleman II

  • Receptions: 9
  • Receiving Yards: 74
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

 

 

Tight Ends

Bryce De Maille*

DeMaille is option one of the Hens dual threat tight ends, who have nearly half of their touchdown passes.

  • Receptions: 9
  • Receiving Yards: 114
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

 

Owen Tyler

Tyler is #2 behind De Maille… watch inside the red zone.

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 57
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

*Denotes Starter

 

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

The Blue Hens are giving up 30.8 points per game, and over 449 total yards allowed. They aren’t very proficient at pressuring the opposing QB, as evident by their ONE sack on the year.

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Jake Roth

  • Extra Points: 9-12
  • FG: 4-8
  • 0-19:  0-0 | 20-29:  1-2 | 30-39:  3-4 | 40-49:  0-2 | 50+:  0-0
  • Long: 38

 

 

Delaware Injury Report (9/27/19)

  • Out: None
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: None
  • Probable: None

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OFFENSIVE & DEFENSIVE STATS

Total Yards per game 

  • Pitt: 394.8
  • Delaware: 371.8

Passing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 280.3
  • Delaware: 221

Rushing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 114.5
  • Delaware: 150.8

Points per game

  • Pitt: 19.8
  • Delaware: 31.3

 

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 333.5
  • Delaware: 449.3

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 229.5
  • Delaware: 262.3

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 104
  • Delaware: 187

Points Allowed

  • Pitt: 22.8
  • Delaware: 30.8

 

Defensive Stats

Pitt

  • Sacks: 18
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Fumbles: 0

Delaware

  • Sacks: 1
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Fumbles: 0

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ACC Standings

________________________________

Pitt Panthers 2019 Schedule

Regular Season: Overall: 1-2 |  ACC: 0-1

August 31: Virginia* (ACCN), L- 30-14
September 7: Ohio (ACCN), W- 20-10
September 14: at #13 Penn State, L- 17-10
September 21: #15 UCF, W- 35-34
September 28: Delaware, (AT&T SportsNET), 12:30 p.m. 
October 5: at Duke*, (ACC Network) 8:00 p.m.
October 18: (Friday) at Syracuse* (ESPN), 7 p.m.
October 26: Miami* (HC), TBA
November 2: at Georgia Tech*, TBA
November 14: (Thursday) North Carolina* (ESPN), 8 p.m.
November 23: at Virginia Tech*, TBA
November 30: Boston College*, TBA

*ACC game | (HC) Homecoming | Bold = Home Game

 

Author Profile

Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

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