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Pitt Panthers vs Miami Hurricanes 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 (@SportsNationPGH) brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a game story, Pitt’s Path to Success, score prediction, game information, a detailed breakdown of each team, including individual stats, team stats, and an injury report. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

 

KENNY PICKETT AND THE PANTHERS SEARCHING FOR KILLER INSTINCT

Pitt Panthers at Syracuse Orange Game Day Preview

The Pitt Panthers welcome the Miami Hurricanes to Heinz Field this Saturday afternoon, and the Panthers are still looking for play a complete game in 2019.

This would be a good week to put it all together.

In the last two games, Pitt has watched comfortable leads of 26-3 and 24-6 evaporate from lack of a killer instinct. This bug has infected both the offensive and defensive units. If Pitt aspires to reach the heights they want to climb to, they had better find a way to play hard for 60… or more, minutes.

Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple thinks his side is getting close.

“We’re all right,” Whipple said. “At times, we played pretty good.

“We dropped some balls. I’m probably putting too much on their plate, but I’m trying to challenge them and I think they’re handling it better.

“We just haven’t come close to playing a complete game.”

Some of the blame also lays at the feet of the coaching staff.

“We’ve been a little more conservative probably,” he said. “If you don’t make mistakes, which we did at Duke, it’s hard to drive it on our (defense).

“You’re up 26-3. You’re up 24-6 as a play-caller, you’re not saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to slow it down,’ but we kinda do and I probably have to do a better job of that.”

As usual, Miami’s defense is pretty tough, but, they can be had through the air. VaTech’s Hendon Hooker threw for 184 yards and three TD’s in the Hokie’s 42-35 win over the ‘Canes a few weeks ago.

Kenny Pickett would certainly like to atone for last year’s miserable showing in Pitt’s 24-3 loss a year ago. His teammates love what they see of him in 2019.

“He looks at all his reads, he throws on point, pretty much,” receiver Shockey Jacques-Louis said.

Pickett found five different receivers during the game-winning touchdown drive at Duke.

Jacques-Louis, who is starting to be more involved in the offense after starting the year injured, is excited about the promise this offense holds.

“When he (coach Whipple) pulled (the offense) out and was showing me,” Jacques-Louis said, “I knew it was going to be something special. If I was a recruit looking right now, this would be the perfect spot for me, (with) all the passes going around.”

Now, after seven games, it’s time for the offense to take the next step in it’s evolution.

“We got a young group up front, getting better,” Whipple said. “We ran the ball when we wanted to at times (at Syracuse).

“They’re understanding spacing. They’re understanding timing better,” he said of the pass catchers, “but we’re a long ways away. If we keep moving at this rate, we have a chance to have a memorable season.

“We’d like to get better in the passing game, like to get better in the running game. We want to score more touchdowns. But the bottom line is this group, they find a way to win.”

 

Extras

Pitt WR Taysir Mack posted a picture on Instagram Thursday with someone (his?) in a walking boot on their right foot… is he hurt? No one knows as no word has come from the Pitt camp as of late Thursday night.

 

Pitt’s Path to Success

  1. Rock them like a Hurricane: Miami’s QB’s have been sacked 31 times. Like last week at Syracuse, bring the dogs against N’Kosi Perry/Jarren Williams and feed.
  2. Smack the bullies: Miami likes to talk and intimidate… put the bullies in their place with physical play. Come to play today… and be in a bad mood.
  3. John Wick time: One thing is for sure if you come after John Wick… he puts the kill shot in every time. This team has to find it’s killer instinct and finally start putting team’s away.
  4. Do NOT turn the ball over: Miami feeds off of turnovers. Let sleeping dogs lie.
  5. Catch the damn ball: Drops have plagued this team all season. Do your job.
  6. Take George McFly’s advice: “Hey you, take your damn hands off (them)! That’s directed at Pitt’s secondary. Stop taking mindless pass interference calls! Be aware!

 

Prediction

Play time is over for the Panthers. We are heading into the stretch drive, and there is zero room for error if the Panthers intend to win the ACC Coastal division for the second consecutive year. Pitt will have to win out and Virginia will have to trip up somewhere, hopefully this week vs Louisville.

The Hurricanes have always been a thorn in Pitt’s side, but the Panthers have managed to go 2-3 the past five, and 11-26-1 vs Miami overall.

Like Syracuse, Miami has problems protecting their quarterback, and have allowed 31 sacks. Pitt leads the Nation with 36 take-downs of the opposing signal caller.

Pitt will be bringing the hounds after N’Kosi Perry…or will it be Jarren Williams?

Miami head coach Manny Diaz isn’t sure, as of Thursday night, on who will start vs the Panthers. Perry separated his left, non-throwing shoulder last week in the loss to Georgia Tech, he took over starting duties from Williams, who suffered a shoulder injury earlier this season.

Hurricane’s leading rusher DeeJay Dallas will make the trip, but will not start, if he even plays. Cam’Ron Harris will carry the load as Miami’s lead back.

Regardless of who is under center for Miami, Pitt will be hungry to add to their lofty sack numbers.

“We’re not done yet. We have not arrived,” defensive tackle Amir Watt said. “Can’t be satisfied, can’t be fat and lazy. We’re doing great things because we’re preparing every week the same way as we would for the ACC championship and national championship. We prepare for Delaware the same way we prepare for Penn State.

“The key to that success is us being consistent. Everybody measures toughness in different ways. We measure it in consistency.”

Another defensive weapon Pitt will be deploying is safety Paris Ford, who leads Pitt with 51 tackles and two interceptions.

“Paris has got one of the most unbelievable instincts I’ve seen. It’s tough to match that,” said Pitt secondary coach Archie Collins when asked if Ford reminds him of anyone. “He’s a different guy as far as stuff that he feels during the game, stuff that he sees.”

Miami’s Perry has thrown for 871 yards with eight touchdowns and just one INT. He’ll surely be wary of where Ford is at all times.

The Hurricanes love to play the part of the bully. Miami will certainly be running their mouths before the game, and the best way to shut up bullies is to take the fight to them.

Pitt, like the past few weeks, needs to come out amped and agitated. Unlike the past few weeks, they need to keep the pedal to the metal, and continue to beat their opponent while they’re down and finish the fight. You simply cannot allow teams to hang around. Eventually, this trend is going to end badly.

This is a big game for Pitt. A win here should vault them into the rankings next week and perhaps the national media will start to notice how good this team actually is. They are on the verge of becoming something special. The stupid holding calls on the secondary needs to cease. Giving the opposing team an extra 60-80 free yards per game is not wise. Ball security must become a priority and the drops by receivers, good God, c’mon man, make the catch.

As long as Pitt avoids any careless turnovers, something Miami feeds off of, they should be able to win this game without sweating it out.

Pitt’s downfield attack should continue to open lanes for the rushing attack, which should favor Pitt in time of possession. You can’t help but favor Pitt’s defensive line vs Miami’s offensive line. The Panthers should be inked for a minimum of five sacks, and perhaps even hit double digits if Pitt builds a big lead.

Miami arrives banged up and leaves even more battered. No hurricane warnings this Saturday… the winds will be light. Pitt takes their fifth in a row.

Pitt 31 Miami 17

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Game Information

Pitt Panthers vs Miami Hurricanes

  • Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA. | Field: Natural Grass
  • Game-time: Saturday, October 26th, at Noon ET
  • Game Tickets Link
  • TV: ESPN | Announcers: Mark Jones (play-by-play) Dusty Dvoracek (analyst) | Olivia Dekker (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 135, XM Channel 194, Internet Channel 956
  • Weather at Kickoff: 55 with a 45% chance of rain. Winds E, 5-10 mph
  • Vegas Line: Pitt -5.5

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Pitt Panthers vs Miami Hurricanes History

Series History: Began in 1950

Pitt is 11-26-1 overall vs Miami

  • At Home: 6-14
  • On Road: 5-12-1
  • Neutral Site: 0-0
  • ACC Series: 2-4
  • Streak: Miami won last meeting.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Nov. 24, 2018 (Miami 24, Pitt 3)

 

Did You Know?* 

  • Pitt has displayed the ability to win tight games. The Panthers’ last four wins have been by a combined 14 points—an average margin of 3.5 points per game.
  • Since taking over as Pitt’s head coach in 2015, Pat Narduzzi has directed the Panthers to 22 victories in ACC play, trailing only Clemson (35) and tied with Miami during this span.
  • Seventeen players on Pitt’s roster are Florida natives, second only to the Panthers’ 40 players who hail from Pennsylvania.
  • The Panthers last hosted Miami in 2017. Making his first career start, quarterback Kenny Pickett engineered a 24-14 upset of the Hurricanes, who entered the contest with a 10-0 record and ranked No. 2 in the country.
  • Pitt boasts the country’s top pass rush. The Panthers lead the nation with 36 sacks—seven sacks more than the three teams tied for second (Ohio State, Florida and SMU).
  • Sophomore defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman leads Pitt’s pass rush with seven sacks. Twyman averages 1.00 sacks per game, which ranks first in the ACC (tied) and 12th nationally.
  • The Panthers have the most productive pass-catching duo in the country. Senior Maurice Ffrench (56) and junior Taysir Mack (45) have combined for 101 receptions this season, the most of any Football Bowl Subdivision receiving duo.

    *Courtesy of pittsburghpanthers.com

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Pitt

Scouting the Pitt Panthers!

Overall Record: 5-2 | ACC Record: 2-1 | Rank: N/A

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

  • Lifetime Record: 33-26 (.559)

2019 Pitt Panthers Roster

Pitt Team Statistics

Previous Game: Pitt 27 Syracuse 20

 

OFFENSE (Pro Style)

Quarterbacks

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: 1,602
  • TD Passes: 8
  • Interceptions: 4
  • Sacks: 14
  • Yards Rushing: 60
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 1
  • Receiving Yards: 3
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Nick Patti

Filled in well for Pickett when he was out for the Delaware game.

  • Passing Yards: 287
  • TD Passes: 3
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 0
  • Yards Rushing: 24
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

A.J. Davis*

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

  • Yards Rushing: 287
  • Rushing TD’s: 3
  • Receptions: 13
  • Yards Receiving: 185
  • 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: 123
  • Rushing TD’s: 2
  • Receptions: 1
  • Yards Receiving: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Todd Sibley, Jr.

Has done well when his number has been called.

  • Yards Rushing: 195
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 2
  • Yards Receiving: 18
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Maurice Ffrench*

Once one of the best returners in the game. Has taken his receiving game to the next level in 2019.

  • Receptions: 56
  • Receiving Yards: 488
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Taysir Mack*

Runs great routes and makes the big catches in traffic.

  • Receptions: 45
  • Receiving Yards: 545
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Aaron Mathews*

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

  • Receptions: 10
  • Receiving Yards: 170
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

V’lique Carter

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

  • Receptions: 9
  • Receiving Yards: 84
  • Receiving TD’s: 2
  • Yards Rushing: 123
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Dontavius Butler-Jenkins

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

  • Receptions: 6
  • Receiving Yards: 65
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Shocky Jaques-Louis

Has all the talent in the world. Being implemented into the passing attack more each week.

  • Receptions: 5
  • Receiving Yards: 50
  • Receiving TD’s: 0
  • Yards Rushing: 36
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Tre Tipton

Injured and out for the season.

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

 

Tight Ends

Nakia Griffin-Stewart*

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

  • Receptions: 11
  • Receiving Yards: 105
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Will Gragg

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

  • Receptions: 12
  • Receiving Yards: 77
  • 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

Had some early misses, but has picked it up since the UCF game. 

  • Extra Points: 18-19
  • FG: 8-14
  • 0-19:  0-1 | 20-29:  3-3 | 30-39:  2-3 | 40-49:  3-5 | 50+:  0-2
  • Long: 47

 

Punter

Kirk Christodoulou

  • Yards per Punt: 43.4

 

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: 5.4
  • Return TD’s: 0

 

 

Pitt Injury Report (10/24/19)

  • Out: DL Rashad Weaver (ACL), DE Keyshon Camp (Knee), WR Tre Tipton (knee)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: LB Elias Reynolds
  • Probable: N/A

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Scouting the Miami Hurricanes!

Overall Record: 3-4 | ACC Record: 1-3 | Rank: N/A

Head Coach: Manny Diaz (1st Season with Miami)

  • Lifetime Record: 3-4 (.428) | 3-4 (.428) with Miami

2019 Miami Hurricanes Roster

Miami Team Statistics

Previous Game: Georgia Tech 28 Miami 21

OFFENSE (Spread)

Quarterbacks

N’Kosi Perry

Perry has done well since taking over for Jarren Williams. He has been sacked 11 times.

  • Passing Yards: 871
  • TD Passes: 8
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 11
  • Yards Rushing: 17
  • Rushing TD’s: 2

Jarren Williams

  • Passing Yards: 1,086
  • TD Passes: 7
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Sacks: 20
  • Yards Rushing: -62
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

DeeJay Dallas

Dallas is the ‘Canes leading rusher and is capable catching passes out of the backfield. Is questionable for the game and will not start.

  • Yards Rushing: 486
  • Rushing TD’s: 6
  • Receptions: 11
  • Yards Receiving: 82
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Cam’Ron Harris*

Harris has done well as Miami’s #2 option at RB, but now gets the chance as the starter with DeeJay Dallas banged up.

  • Yards Rushing: 282
  • Rushing TD’s: 2
  • Receptions: 10
  • Yards Receiving: 64
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Wide Receivers

Brevin Jordan*

Jordan leads Miami in receptions and receiving yards.

  • Receptions: 28
  • Receiving Yards: 438
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

K.J. Osborn*

Osborn is one of many weapons available in the Miami vertical game.

  • Receptions: 27
  • Receiving Yards: 324
  • Receiving TD’s: 4

Jeff Thomas

Suspended.

  • Receptions: 24
  • Receiving Yards: 270
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Michael Harley

  • Receptions: 23
  • Receiving Yards: 266
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Mark Pope

  • Receptions: 10
  • Receiving Yards: 176
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Dee Wiggins

  • Receptions: 8
  • Receiving Yards: 143
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Will Mallory*

  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving Yards: 70
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

*Denotes Starter

 

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

Miami has a talented defense, as they always do. They live off of turnovers, so secure the ball. Only giving up 20.4 points per game and just 296.9 yards per game defensively. Will likely be without linebacker Michael Pinckney.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Bubba Baxa

  • Extra Points: 15-17
  • FG: 5-10
  • 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 2-5 | 30-39: 1-2 | 40-49: 1-2 | 50+: 1-1
  • Long: 50

 

 

Miami Injury Report (10/24/19)

  • Out: WR Jeff Thomas (Suspended)
  • Doubtful: LB Michael Pinckney (Knee)
  • Questionable: QB N’Kosi Perry (Shoulder), QB Jarren Williams (Arm), RB DeeJay Dallas (Leg)
  • Probable: None

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OFFENSIVE STATS

Total Yards per game 

  • Pitt: 390.9
  • Miami: 409.3

Passing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 270.3
  • Miami: 289.6

Rushing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 120.6
  • Miami: 129.7

Points per game

  • Pitt: 22.3
  • Miami: 28.3

 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 302.9
  • Miami: 296.9

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 212.4
  • Miami: 200.7

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 90.4
  • Miami: 96.2

Points Allowed

  • Pitt: 22.1
  • Miami: 20.4

Pitt

  • Sacks: 36
  • Interceptions: 5
  • Fumbles Recovered: 3

Miami

  • Sacks: 22
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Fumbles Recovered: 7

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ACC Standings

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Pitt Panthers 2019 Schedule

Regular Season: Overall: 5-2 |  ACC: 2-1

August 31: Virginia*, L- 30-14
September 7: Ohio, W- 20-10
September 14: at #13 Penn State, L- 17-10
September 21: #15 UCF, W- 35-34
September 28: Delaware, W- 17-14
October 5: at Duke*, W- 33-30
October 18: (Friday) at Syracuse*, W- 27-20
October 26: Miami* (ESPN) (HC), Noon
November 2: at Georgia Tech* (AT&T SportsNet), 4:00 p.m.
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.

There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!

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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