Peak At The Panthers: Pitt vs UNC Game Preview

Cale Berger
November 14, 2019 - 5:45 pm

Cale Berger and Chris Peak of Panther-Lair.com recap Pitt's win against Georgia Tech, preview their matchup with North Carolina and check on the recruiting trail.

Pitt topped Georgia Tech two weeks ago 20-10 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. Pitt committed three turnovers in the game (Two interceptions, one fumble), but was ultimately able to outlast the Yellow Jackets behind a combined 142 yards on the ground from A.J. and Vincent Davis. The Panthers defense held the Yellow Jackets to just 194 total yards of offense.

​Chris' takeaway from Saturday was that has seemed to find an offensive plan that it likes by building a lead in the first half, and sitting on it in the second behind their defense. That has been the case for the Panthers recently especially as of late, as they have had explosive first halfs offensively, but have opted to go more conservative to close games.

​While Pitt's defense has been fantastic, Cale feels that their aggressiveness has made them vulnerable to giving up big plays. The Panthers allowed a 51-yard TD pass to Georgia Tech, just one of multiple long scores they have given up this year. Pitt ability to limit explosive plays will be a key the final quarter of the season.

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Chris sees Thursday's game against North Carolina as a chance for Pitt to exercise some demons. Pitt has not beaten the Tar Heels since they joined the ACC, overall since 2009. His key to the game is Pitt eliminating self-inflicted mistakes. Pitt has had a tendency to commit turnovers over the last few games, which has hurt them in the past against UNC.

Cale thinks the key matchup on Thursday will be between Pitt's secondary and UNC quarterback Sam Howell. A true freshman, Howell has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country this season, tossing 26 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Howell will be the best quarterback Pitt has played in quite some time, but the Panther secondary has been stout all season.

In recruiting news, Chris discusses Pitt's big commitment they received the morning of the Georgia Tech game. The Panthers secured a commitment from the 2021 class in four-star running back Rodney Hammond. Hammond hails from Norfolk, Virginia, an area that has become increasingly fruitful for Pitt with the addition of receivers coach Chris Beatty.