ACC

Pitt Panthers vs Boston College Eagles 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 (@PghSportsNation) brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a game story, Pitt’s key’s to success, score prediction, game information, a detailed breakdown of each team, including individual stats, team stats, and team injury reports. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

 

PANTHERS LOOK  TO FINISH REGULAR SEASON ON HIGH NOTE

When the Pitt Panthers (7-4, 4-3) take the field Saturday at Heinz Field, it will be the final time for 18 seniors, and possibly a few underclassmen, who may enter the NFL Draft early if they get good evaluations from scouts.

Damar Hamlin, a senior out of Central Catholic, is proud to continue the success of local players like Tyler Boyd and Jordan Whitehead, who came to Pitt and then found their calling in the NFL.

“Just being put in that conversation is the reason why I came to Pitt in the first place,” Hamlin said, “was to be able to do something like play for my city and give my city a reason to cheer, give them something to brag about.

“Of course, if you can be the hometown hero, why not?”

Everyone wants to leave this game on a high note, and enter their Bowl game feeling confident, but the Panther’s will have to shake off the bitter memories of being shutout last week at Virginia Tech, 28-0. That loss knocked Pitt out of the running for a 2nd ACC Coastal Division championship.

“We haven’t played another game yet so we’re still kind of feeling it,” senior cornerback Dane Jackson (who played at Cornell & Quaker Valley) said. “But we’re trying to put that behind us and focus on Boston College.”

Amir Watts headed to Pitt from the mean streets of Chicago, and his coaches are proud of the man he has become while at Pitt.

“Most of us get into coaching for developing men,” said defensive line coach Charlie Partridge. “Amir, since the day I walked in the door to where he’s come now, just in how he handles his life, I’m really, really proud of him.”

Senior Saleem Brightwell will be remembered for intercepting Deshaun Watson at the goal line, which was instrumental in Pitt’s upset over Clemson in 2016.

“You could argue he’s one of the (most influential) emotional leaders on our entire football team,” Partridge said. “When he speaks in the locker room or the team meeting room, he’s coming directly from his heart. There’s no filter. What is on his heart is coming out of his mouth. The team knows that. They know where he’s coming from. They know he loves this place and wants to see everybody do well.

“Because it’s so sincere, both sides of the room, offense, defense, feel Saleem. That’s what you want out of your seniors.”

Another senior who is hopeful to return after suffering a broken jaw vs Georgia Tech is Maurice Ffrench, who leads the team with 75 receptions.

“The general public doesn’t see all the things that happen behind the scenes,” said Chris Beatty, who is Ffrench’s position coach. “When they told him about the injury and weren’t sure what his diagnosis was, we’re sitting in here and he’s bawling.

“That’s hard, as a coach, to take, not knowing if he’s going to be able to come back for Senior Day or a bowl game.”

Ffrench’s return couldn’t come at a better time, as Boston College is dead last in the ACC in pass defense, giving up 297.5 yards a game through the air.

“We’re happy to have him back,” Beatty said. “And it’s Senior Day, too. I’m just excited for him to be able to be back.”

Inaccurate passing and dropped passing were a killer ingredient in their shutout vs the Hokies. The Panthers had been playing with fire all season, and this time it caught up to them in the worst way.

“It was not the Pitt football team that I’m used to seeing,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Offensively, didn’t play up to where we need to. Why? We just never got in rhythm. It’s happened a couple times this year.

“We dropped the first four passes, and nobody can catch fire. It’s hard as a play-caller when it’s three-and-out. You never get into a rhythm.”

Narduzzi was truly expecting more out of his sophomore quarterback in Kenny Pickett.

“Sometimes, it’s accuracy. Sometimes, it’s trust. It’s a lot of things,” the coach said when asked to detail Pickett’s problems. “He got a little bit flustered, which I think anybody in this room would. When you turn the ball over (the Hokies returned a fumble for a touchdown), it’s hard. I don’t think he had a great series, the next series.”

“He missed Taysir (Mack) on a skinny post that could go. We had another route in the red zone that’s a touchdown. He had V’Lique (Carter) wide open over the middle, and he just didn’t see it.

“But it happens in every game. I’m watching a lot of tape now, and there’s a lot people who miss guys. We’re not the only quarterback in the country who’s not perfect, as well as the coaches.”

Entering the final game of the regular season, Pitt is averaging just 20.2 points, which is way worse than the 25.6 of last year that saw former OC Shawn Watson get canned. Lack of a running game has hampered Pitt all year, to boot.

“We’ve thrown it all year,” Narduzzi said. “That’s kind of been our bread and butter. We’ve had success doing it.

“But we certainly wanted to run it more (at Virginia Tech), especially with the weather conditions. You try to get the passing game to open up your run game, and that didn’t happen.”

 

Pitt’s Key’s to Success

  1. Stop the run: BC runs the ball. It is their bread and butter. Shutdown A.J. Dillon and the game will be there for the taking.
  2. Can we stop dropping passes? It’s been a thorn in the side of Pitt’s offense all season.
  3. Confident Kenny Pickett: The 2nd year QB needs to get his confidence back and start making the throws he is capable of.

 

Prediction

This is a game where Pitt’s defense must own the trenches. Paris Ford will have to sit out the 1st half thanks to the dreadful Targeting call against him last week while making a tackle in the Hokies game. I could go on and on about ACC officiating, but what’s the use?

Ford, a redshirt sophomore, leads the Panthers in tackles with 82. He’s also forced three fumbles (7th in the nation), defended 14 passes (10th) and has three interceptions, one for a touchdown. His presence will be missed during the first 30 minutes, especially with Pitt focusing on stopping BC’s running game behind the the very talented A.J. Dillon.

Expect Pitt’s defense to do just that, and for the Panther offense to wake up against one of the ACC’s worst defenses. The last time out at Heinz Field saw the Panthers put up 34 points and Kenny Pickett threw for 359 yards against UNC.

The seniors play their final home game and leave with happy memories. Panthers roll…

Pitt 31 Boston College 17

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Game Information

Pitt Panthers at Boston College Eagles

  • Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA. | Field: Natural Grass
  • Game-time: Saturday, November 30th at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Game Tickets Link
  • TV: ACC Network | Announcers: Chris Cotter (play-by-play) Mark Herzlich (analysts) | Kelsey Riggs (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: 42 with a 5% of rain. Winds ESE at 5 MPH
  • Vegas Line: Pitt -8.5

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Pitt vs Boston College History

Series History: Began in 1959

Pitt is 17-13 overall vs Boston College

  • At Home: 9-6
  • On Road: 8-7
  • Neutral Site: 0-0
  • ACC Series: 1-0
  • Streak: Pitt has won the last four games.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Sept. 5, 2014 (Pitt won, 30-20)

 

Did You Know?* 

  • Saturday’s game with Boston College has sentimental importance as well. The Panthers will honor 14 senior players who are making their final appearance at Heinz Field.
  • The Panthers and Eagles have met just once as ACC members, a 30-20 Pitt victory at Chestnut Hill in 2014. The schools played annually from 1993 to 2004 as members of the old Big  East Football Conference.
  • In each of Boston College’s prior two visits to Heinz Field, the game was decided in overtime by Pitt field goals. The Panthers claimed home victories in OT over the Eagles in both 2004 (20-17) and 2002 (19-16).
  • Pitt and Boston College will be a classic confrontation of “strength vs. strength.” The Panthers own the ACC’s top defense against the run, yielding just 92.6 yards per game (sixth best in FBS). The Eagles pace the ACC in rushing offense, producing 268.2 yards per contest (sixth in FBS).
  • Boston College tailback AJ Dillon has rushed for an ACCbest 1,507 yards this season, the third-highest total in the country.
  • Pitt leads the nation with 48 sacks, an average of 4.36 per contest. Tackle Jaylen Twyman has a team-high 10 sacks and ranks ninth nationally (second in the ACC) with an average of 0.91 per game.

    *Courtesy of pittsburghpanthers.com

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Pitt

Scouting the Pitt Panthers!

Overall Record: 7-4 | ACC Record: 4-3 | Rank: N/A

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

  • Lifetime Record: 35-28 (.557)

2019 Pitt Panthers Roster

Pitt Team Statistics

Previous Game: Virginia Tech 28 Pitt 0

 

OFFENSE (Pro Style)

Quarterbacks

Kenny Pickett*

Tough kid, has a good arm, but may not be Pitt’s answer at QB. Needs to improve accuracy, especially downfield.

Passing Yards: 2,414

  • TD Passes: 10
  • Interceptions: 8
  • Sacks: 23

Yards Rushing: 130

  • Rushing TD’s: 2

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: 301

  • TD Passes: 3
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 0

Yards Rushing: 27

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

A.J. Davis*

Talented ball carrier, but has room for improvement.

Yards Rushing: 489

  • Rushing TD’s: 4

Receptions: 20

  • Yards Receiving: 249
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

V’lique Carter

Versatile player who also moonlights at WR and at cornerback. 

Yards Rushing: 231

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 16

  • Receiving Yards: 173
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Vincent Davis

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

Yards Rushing: 200

  • Rushing TD’s: 3

Receptions: 2

  • Yards Receiving: 1
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Todd Sibley, Jr.

Has done well when his number has been called. Injuries have slowed him down.

Yards Rushing: 249

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

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: 75

  • Receiving Yards: 606
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Taysir Mack*

Runs great routes and makes the big catches in traffic.

Receptions: 62

  • Receiving Yards: 711
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Shocky Jacques-Louis*

Has all the talent in the world. Being implemented into the passing attack more each week as he is fully healthy.

Receptions: 13

  • Receiving Yards: 200
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Yards Rushing: 36

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Aaron Mathews

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

Receptions: 12

  • Receiving Yards: 214
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Dontavius Butler-Jenkins

Receptions: 6

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

Tre Tipton

Injured and out for the season.

Receptions: 7

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

Jared Wayne

Nice size with good speed.

Receptions: 9

  • Receiving Yards: 115
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

John Vardzel

Receptions: 3

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

 

Tight Ends

Nakia Griffin-Stewart*

Physical player, but drops way too many passes.

Receptions: 14

  • Receiving Yards: 154
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Will Gragg

Receptions: 17

  • Receiving Yards: 122
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

OFFENSIVE LINE

Left Tackle: Carter Warren/Carson Van Lynn

Left Guard: Bryce Hargrove

Center: Jimmy Morrissey

Right Guard: Gabe Houy/Jake Kradel

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/Chase Pine

Star LB: Phil Campbell III/Cam Bright

Cornerback: Dane Jackson

Strong Safety: Paris Ford

Free Safety: Damar Hamlin

Cornerback: Damarri Mathis/Jason Pinnock

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Alex Kessman

Had some early misses, but has been back on track since the UCF game. 

Extra Points: 24-25

FG: 16-24

  • 0-19:  0-1 | 20-29:  7-8 | 30-39:  3-4 | 40-49:  5-8 | 50+:  1-3
  • Long: 54

 

Punter

Kirk Christodoulou

Yards per Punt: 42.4

 

Kickoff Returner

Maurice Ffrench

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

Yards per Kickoff Return: 17.3

  • Return TD’s: 0

A.J. Wood

Yards per Kickoff Return: 15.6

  • Return TD’s: 0

 

Punt Returner

Maurice Ffrench

Yards per Kickoff Return: 6

  • Return TD’s: 0

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Scouting the Boston College Eagles!

Overall Record: 5-7 | ACC Record: 3-4 | Rank: N/A

Head Coach: Steve Addazio (7th Season with Boston College)

  • Lifetime Record: 56-55 (.504) | 43-44 (.494 with Boston College)

2019 Boston College Eagles Roster

Boston College Team Statistics

Previous Game: Notre Dame 40 Boston College 7

OFFENSE (Pro)

Quarterbacks

Dennis Grosel*

Has done the best he can while playing for the injured Anthony Brown.

Passing Yards: 773

  • TD Passes: 8
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Sacks: 7

Yards Rushing: 152

  • Rushing TD’s: 2

Anthony Brown

Passing Yards: 1,250

  • TD Passes: 9
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Sacks: 2

Yards Rushing: 128

  • Rushing TD’s: 2

 

Running Backs

A.J. Dillon*

A man’s man when running the ball. Is definitely suiting up on Sundays.

Yards Rushing: 1,507

  • Rushing TD’s: 13

Receptions: 11

  • Yards Receiving: 177
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

David Bailey

Yards Rushing: 791

  • Rushing TD’s: 7

Receptions: 9

  • Yards Receiving: 95
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

 

Wide Receivers

Hunter Long*

Leads the Eagles with 428 yards receiving.

Receptions: 24

  • Receiving Yards: 428
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Kobay White*

Receptions: 25

  • Receiving Yards: 392
  • Receiving TD’s: 5

Zay Flowers

Receptions: 20

  • Receiving Yards: 314
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Yards Rushing: 195

  • Rushing TD’s: 1

Ben Glines

Receptions: 10

  • Receiving Yards: 97
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Jake Burt*

Receptions: 15

  • Receiving Yards: 212
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Korab Idrizi

Receptions: 13

  • Receiving Yards: 154
  • Receiving TD’s: 4

*Denotes Starter

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

One of the worst… giving up 457.1 in total yards, and an astounding 297.5 yards through the air. Have only gotten to the opposing QB 12 times this year.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Aaron Boumerhi

Extra Points: 43-43

FG: 8-13

  • 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 3-3 | 30-39: 3-7 | 40-49: 2-3 | 50+: 0-0
  • Long: 45

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Injury Report (11/29/19)

Pitt

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

Boston College

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

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Offensive Stats

Total Yards per game 

  • Pitt: 372.3
  • Boston College: 457.1

Passing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 247.1
  • Boston College: 188.9

Rushing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 125.2
  • Boston College: 268.2

Points per game

  • Pitt: 20.2
  • Boston College: 31.4

 

Defensive Stats

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 294.8
  • Boston College: 488.2

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 202.2
  • Boston College: 297.5

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 92.6
  • Boston College: 190.7

Points Allowed

  • Pitt: 21.5
  • Boston College: 32.8

Sacks

  • Pitt: 48
  • Boston College: 12

Interceptions

  • Pitt: 9
  • Boston College: 9

Fumbles Recovered

  • Pitt: 4
  • Boston College: 3

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ACC Standings

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Pitt Panthers 2019 Schedule

Regular Season: Overall: 7-3 |  ACC: 4-2

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*, L- 16-12
November 2: at Georgia Tech*, W- 20-10
November 14: (Thursday) North Carolina*, W- 34-27 (OT)
November 23: at #25 Virginia Tech* L- 28-0
November 30: Boston College*, (ACC Network) 3:30 p.m.

*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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