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5 Takeaways From Today’s Pat Narduzzi Press Conference

PITTSBURGH — Pat Narduzzi was obviously in a good mood at his weekly press conference, two days removed from his team’s shocking 43-42 upset of No. 2 Clemson Saturday. Narduzzi was quick to point out that the win was the kind of win that can be program-changing.

“Its a statement win for the program and for the university,” he said. “We have a lot of team meetings where you guys are sitting here today. I don’t think there was anybody outside the walls and doors of this room that believed we could go down to Death Valley and get it done. But the kids in here believed. That’s what we tell our guys all the time. As long as we have belief in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it … good things happen. We’ve been so close so many times.”

But Narduzzi didn’t seem interested in discussing the further implications of the win for his program. Instead, he’s already focused on Duke, who beat North Carolina a week ago.

“It’s two teams coming off a big win,” he said. “We have to go play ball again. Nobody cares what you did last week. … Get over it, move on and get ready for the next one.”

BIGGER THAN PENN STATE?

Narduzzi thought that on many levels, the win over the second-ranked team in the country was even bigger than his previous big win against Penn State earlier this season.

“Based on my phone blowing up, it was bigger than the Penn State win,” he said.

He also referenced the fact that it was a conference win, on the road and secured bowl eligibility for his team.

BUILDING UP BLEWITT

Narduzzi was seen on the sideline giving kicker Chris Blewitt some encouragement — and a peck on the cheek — after Blewitt had an extra point blocked early in the game.

“I’d say that’s definitely a first in my memory,” Blewitt said. “I do appreciate the message, but the gesture caught me off guard. I really wasn’t expecting it. He saw I was visibly upset.”
Blewitt has had several game-winning field goals, but the situation and the environment made this one special for him.

“That was the first time it was the all-or-nothing situation,” Blewitt said. “If I miss it, we lose. There’s no overtime. It had to be a make for the win. That was different and that was definitely special. … It was a little bit more special in a hostile environment.”

ROAD SUPPORT

Blewitt said he spent at least a half an hour on the field with fans and family after the game, just taking it all in. He was surprised by the number of Pitt fans that made the trek to Clemson and was glad to be able to share in the victory with some of them on the field afterwards.

“It was fun enjoying with the fans,” he said. “Just being able to share that moment with so many fans that came down to support us was definitely special.”

Blewitt also got a visit from his Aunt Pattie, who lives in Georgia and has now seen three of his game-winning kicks.

“She’s only come to three games and all three were game-winners,” he said. “I told her [after Georgia Tech and Syracuse last year], she had to come back for the Clemson game.”

STILL NOT SATISFIED

Quarterback Nate Peterman was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and ACC Offensive Back of the Week for his five-touchdown, 308-yard performance. But he says he still can play better.

“I don’t think that was my best game this season,” he said. “People are really wrapped up in the numbers. There were a lot of things I could have done better. I’m hoping to continue to get better this week. … [I had] two incompletions the last two passes of the game. Luckily, Chris is a good enough kicker to make a 48-yarder, but we could have made it easier on him.”

CHANGES, SCHEDULE AND KUDOS

Strong safety Jordan Whitehead will miss each of the next two games with a forearm injury. It’s possible he could return for a bowl game. Senior Reggie Mitchell will start at strong safety in his place.
The only other change to the depth chart is at cornerback, where Avonte Maddox is listed as the starter at the field spot and Dane Jackson, Ryan Lewis and Damar Hamlin are all listed as co-starters at the boundary spot.

• Pitt’s game on Nov. 26 against Syracuse will kick off at 12:30 p.m. and be broadcast on the ACC Network, WTAE locally.

• The Panthers were nameHead coach Pat Narduzzi was named the Dodd Award Coach of the Week. … Offensive coordinator Matt Canada was named the CoachingSearch.com Offensive Coordinator of the Week. … Blewitt was named the ACC Specialist of the Week. … Matt Galambos was named the ACC Co-Linebacker of the Week.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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